Andrew Sullivan Flip Flops on Obama

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After an epic essay outlining how brilliant Obama has been over the past four years, Andrew Sullivan shot down the President's State of the Union address for being 'too liberal':

I was hoping for a vision. I was hoping for real, strategic reform. What we got was one big blizzard of tax deductions, wrapped in a populist cloak. It was treading water. I suspect this will buoy liberal spirits, but anger the right and befuddle the independents. It definitely gives the Republican case against Obama as a big government meddler more credibility. I may be wrong – but the sheer cramped, tedious, mediocre micro-policies he listed were uninspiring to say the least.

We voted for Obama; now we find we got another Clinton. The base will like this. I'm not sure independents will. As performance, he did as well as he could with the thin material he had in his hands. As a speech, I thought it was the worst of his SOTUs, when he really needed his best.

Really Andrew? Obama's speech was too liberal?

I sometimes wonder what planet Sullivan lives on – some days, his knee jerk libertarianism is under control and he seems to understand how devastating 'small government' conservatism has been to the United States and global economy. To his credit, Sullivan has moved away from the Randian economics he advocated a couple of years ago in response to the crash in 08, but every now and then, he reverts back to type and blasts the President for wanting to tax the rich.

Sullivan's points weren't without merit though, as he did point out that tax breaks were not the solution to stimulating the economy:

He's given up on real reform, it seems to me, in favor of more tax breaks and deductions for his preferred companies and sectors.

Sullivan prefers comprehensive 'tax reform' that would simplify the tax code and stop government meddling with the economy (whatever that means) – a typical conservative over simplification that defies the reality of an incredibly complicated topic. Yes, tax reform is a good idea, but exactly how would he go about doing it? For someone wedded to ludicrous economic philosophy that has been proven wrong over and over again for most of his adult life, I don't think Sullivan has much credibility on this topic. 

There is no way Obama will be able to enact the tax reforms people like Sullivan want – he has to make do with the ridiculous system as it is and try to make it work for more people. The Republican Congress will attempt to block everything he tries to do anyway, so he has to come up with lots of incremental changes that he may actually have a chance of passing.  This unfortunately means piecemeal policies that won't necessarily have a huge impact. But overall, they will have some effect on people's lives and dent a system that is verging on self destruct.

Again, I'm not sure how this is 'too liberal'. Perhaps Sullivan has forgotten just how far to the Right America is. Obama's policies on taxing the rich are still way to the Right of anything you'd see in Europe and less 'redistributionist' than Ronald Reagan or Richard Nixon.

Reality check Andrew. Seriously.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/osborneink1 OsborneInk

    According to the instant polling, Sullivan is just about the only person who didn’t like his speech.