Paul Krugman opines that the president has managed to get himself caught in a “cult of centrism:”
We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.
So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.
The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president.
The must read tech blogger John Gruber apparently agrees. The problem with this analysis is that it implies that a basic sensible fiscal policy — that when one is spending too much, one should lower spending — is somehow “radical.”
As Gloria Borger noted on CNN last night, the president is the only notable figuring advocating further taxes right now. Obviously, spending cuts are the Right's answer to government spending problems, but when a one trillion dollar debt ceiling increase only staves off the problem for six months, can anyone really provide an explanation of how spending is not out of control?
The only reason Krugman can look at President Obama and suggest he is somewhat “conservative” is that the columnist is so far left that anything in the American mainstream of politics must be of the radical right. Even if his reputation was set aside, Krugman's incredible remarks suggesting that the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 was some sort of quasi-conservative health care bill make it clear how radical the columnist, and not the alleged conservatives in the Congress, are.
The people did not elect boatloads of Tea Party candidates last year because they thought increased taxes and spending would be the way to fix our situation. How about this: before we talk about how Uncle Sam needs more of the citizenry's money, let's see if we can quit wasting the money he already takes.