The country may be catching on: Barack Obama is our first knee-jerk liberal president. And now that he will never face the voters again, he doesn’t mind showing it.
“There is a deep recognition that he has a short period of time to get a lot done,” says Jennifer Psaki, Obama’s 2012 campaign spokeswoman. So the moderate mask is slipping.
In his second inaugural address, he gave a full-throated defense of the entitlement state and made no mention of reforming Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security before they go bust. He is issuing a stream of executive orders, and he backed the Pentagon’s recently announced plan to lift the ban that kept female soldiers out of combat positions.
Once in a while, Obama still feints to the center. A sharp reaction to his gun-control proposals prompted him to declare that he is sympathetic to gun owners and that he goes skeet shooting “all the time.” The skepticism this boast generated was so rampant that the White House released a photo of Obama holding a shotgun, awkwardly, while skeet shooting. Few people found his claim to enthusiasm for the sport to be credible. Michael Hampton, a top official with the National Skeet Shooting Association, told AP that the photo suggests Obama is a novice shooter. “This isn’t something he’s done very often because of how he’s standing, how he has the gun mounted,” he said.
What is believable is that Obama is showing his true colors. If personnel are policy, there is no better demonstration of his priorities than his second-term appointments. In every case — John Kerry for secretary of state, Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, Jack Lew for secretary of the treasury — he has moved to the left. In the case of Hagel and Lew, his nominees’ political alignment, or propensity to serve as “yes men,” seems to have mattered far more to Obama than their capability and relevant experience, which are less than stellar. The choice of Hagel led last week to the embarrassing spectacle of a presidential nominee’s flunking a confirmation hearing he had spent many hours preparing for. Nor is Obama’s lurch to the left limited to cabinet appointments. Last month he named Denis McDonough as his new chief of staff and Jennifer Palmieri as the new White House communications director. Both aides have blogged for the left-wing website Think Progress and have ties to the George Soros–funded Center for..