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Posted at 3:33 PM on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 by David Horowitz
Governing From the Center
In a series of announcements filling top level posts in his new administration, President-elect Barack Obama has signalled in unmistaken terms that he intends to govern from the center, or from the left-of-center, as circumstances will inevitably dictate given that Democrats now control all three branches of government.

Although he ran as an enigma to such an unprecedented extent that one could never be sure in which direction he would turn there were clear indications that this might be the direction he would take once he had achieved the office he sought. 

To begin with, his campaign was framed in centrist terms. He ran as a tax-cutter, as a moderate on health care, and as a man determined to fight the war on terror aggressively. Someone who understands as a candidate that the center of American political gravity is in fact in the center will be unlikely to abandon that view once elected. 

Why is that? Because political animals whatever they say about their higher causes are first and always about themselves. To run for president requires a narcicissism that puts its aspirants in a class by themselves even among politicians, particularly when they aspire from as obscure a point of origin as Obama did when he began. If the agenda is oneself, then the broadest base of popularity is the goal, and seeking the center of gravity becomes a way of political life.

In opposition, the narcissicistic factor can be obscured. Thus in the primaries Obama tacked to the left and positioned himslf as a rebel -- against the war in Iraq, for the little guy and above all for "change. But now that he is in power the dynamic is utterly changed. Today the Obamas are America's first family and that means that their stock rises as America's rises and falls the same way.

Therefore, acting as rebels or leftwing detractors of America would in effect be acting against themselves. If America is hurting economically, they will want to fix the economy and make it strong again; if America is attacked, they will want to defend her.

Another factor overlooked is Obama throughout his career has been a machine politician and that is not likely to change now that he has risen to such prominence at the top of the American hierarchy. The Mayor Daileys and not Bill Ayers are calling shots in the new administration and will likely continue to do so. Obama's embrace of the Clintonites is an embrace of the closet thing to a center in Democratic politics. The machine alternative to Clinton administration figures as appointees would be Carter administration figures. Better than former than the latter. Of all the Democrats one could name as a foreign policy chief, Hillary Clinton is the most reassuring since she was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq and paid the heaviest price for defending it. The leftism of the Obama Administration is endemic to any Democratic Administration; it is a problem of the party not the individual who has emerged as its leader.

What of Obama's past associations and the shock troops of his primary campaign? These may yet prove to be problems in the months and years ahead, but for now we can say this. When it came to a choice between his loyalties and his success Obama's decisions were in one direction. He threw his closest family friend and mentor Jeremiah Wright under the bus. He threw his grandmother under the bus. And now with regard to the war on terror, as a recent column by Ron Radosh records, he is busily throwing his anti-war enthusiasts under the bus as well. Because an attack on America is now an attack on the Obamas and their legacy and no longer leverage against Bush.



David Horowitz is the founder of The David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of the new book, One Party Classroom.


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