With the first primary still eight long months away, making any sort of prediction about the Democratic candidates is pointless. Nevertheless, some have noticed an interesting parallel shaping up, one that involves an old Democrat with plenty of establishment backing and a formidable lead in the polls, and a young, biracial newcomer with a winning smile and an exotic first name.
Except that where Barack Obama tried to portray himself as a sensible centrist in 2008, Sen. Kamala Harris is among the most radical in the large crop of far-left Democratic candidates hoping to run against President Trump.
Consider the striking contrast between positions Obama espoused and those Harris has embraced.
In 2008, Obama complained about “the orgy of spending” under President George W. Bush. He pledged that all his spending plans would be more than offset with expenditure reductions.
“What I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut,” he said.
Harris, in contrast, has a legislative agenda that would more than double the size of the federal government. She’s endorsed Medicare for All ($32 trillion over 10 years), the Green New Deal (another $50 trillion to $90 trillion or so), $6,000 in “tax credits” for each working family ($2.8 trillion), and a $78 billion renter-subsidy program. That’s just for starters.
Obama advocated, half-heartedly to be sure, cutting what before Trump was a sky high corporate income tax rate, recognizing that it put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage. Harris wants to crank it back up.
On immigration, Obama promised in his campaign to improve border security. “We need stronger enforcement on the border and at the workplace,” he said.
Harris plans to use executive orders to grant amnesty to millions of illegals.
When Obama was pitching Obamacare in 2009, he made it clear that under no circumstances would it provide benefits to illegals.
“There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally,” Obama told a joint session of Congress. That prompted Rep. Joe Wilson’s famous “You lie!” response.
Harris, like every other Democrat running, has promised that, if elected, she will provide free health care to those who must now be referred to as “undocumented immigrants.”
Obama also repeatedly promised that his health reform wouldn’t disrupt anyone who had insurance coverage. During the campaign, in fact, he thrashed Sen. John McCain for a plan to tax workplace benefits, saying it would irreparably harm the employer-provided insurance that 150 million Americans rely on.
His mantra about “if you like your plan you can keep your plan” was, in fact, a lie, but he at least kept his reform plans mostly focused on those who couldn’t afford coverage or were locked out of the insurance market because of pre-existing conditions.
Harris wants to force everyone who likes their plan into a government-run program. That means every worker would have to give up his or her insurance. Every individual would, too. So would every senior now on a Medicare Advantage plan. Private insurance as we know it would, for all intents and purposes, be outlawed.
And while Harris keeps saying that Medicare for All would still allow private insurance, that’s the latest health care lie Democrats have to offer. The only insurance that would be legal under Medicare for All would be plans that cover things that Medicare for All doesn’t cover. But since Medicare for All covers everything, there’d be nothing left for private insurers.
In fact, the bill she has co-sponsored makes provisions to compensate the legions of insurance industry workers who would be thrown out of work as a result of that legislation.
Obama never took a position on mandatory busing that we know of, but Harris has, saying over the weekend that “I support busing … Where states fail to do their duty to ensure equality of all people and in particular where states create or pass legislation that created inequality, there’s no question that the federal government has a role and a responsibility to step up.”
Leave aside the fact that forced busing backfired horribly, resulting in schools that were often more segregated than before. Harris’ desire to return to that misbegotten attempt at social engineering was too much even for socialist Bernie Sanders, who responded: “Does anybody think it’s a good idea to put a kid on a bus, travel an hour to another school and to another neighborhood that he or she doesn’t know?”
Remember how people used to always say that Ronald Reagan couldn’t get nominated in today’s Republican party? It was meant to show how far the GOP had moved to the right.
That was never the case — given that Republicans repeatedly nominated moderates (Bob Dole, McCain, Mitt Romney). But it is true that the Barack Obama of 2008 would seem like a right-winger if he were on stage with Harris and the rest of the 24-odd Democrats vying for the presidency.
— Written by John Merline
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