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Issues & Insights

Kamala 2020 Makes Obama 2008 Look Positively Right Wing

I&I Editorial

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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16 comments

  • I do not remember Obama pushing for slavery reparations like Harris has. The funny thing is that we recently learned from Harris’ father that she is a descendant of Jamaican slave owners. When is Harris going to personally provide reparations to the descendants of the slaves her family owned?

    • Your spellcheck changed “tell the truth about” to “be terrified.”
      You should update your software.

    • I’m terrified of this woman. I’d rather not have the hammer and sickle on the American flag. Your mileage may differ.

    • Give me a break. Republicans would oppose these bad policies should they be presented by white men, green aliens, the blue man group. That’s a nonsensical take.

      • I am. I live cleanly, all my power for the household and two electric cars coming from our PV system on the roof. You can suck up coal fumes for the Koch Brothers and Don Blankenship, but not me.

  • this article is making the mistake that Harris’s position on issues is relevant. doesn’t matter, the left is banking on simple calculations: Hard core leftists always vote D. Hispanics vote D 85%. Blacks vote D 95% (and they will turn out to vote for another black). + whatever women (i voted for the 1st female prez) is worth.
    If the black turnout is high enough to carry FL/NC/GA/OH/MI/PA like it was for Obama…we win. that’s all it is. screw political analysis, the Dems are a bunch of voting blocks that don’t care about issues.

  • Of course another republican spewing garage lies. Kamila Harris radical leftist. Give me a break. She’s as center as they come. Because republicans have pulled so far right she looks like a Communist. Aren’t all Democrats communists according to republicans? That’s the kind of idiotic talk that divided the country in the first place. Hating anything Democrat, racism, and tax cuts for the ultra rich while lying to the uneducated is what being a republican is about now.Fiscal conservatism ,caring about the environment, that’s what republicans used to be about. Now it’s obstruction ,money grabbing,and stocking the courts that republicans now. That and racism. Anything you hear Trump saying about Democrats is exactly what he is. He projects all his faults on to Democrats. This is a BS article written by a shill who is undermining democracy. Anyone reading this thinking I’m wrong should turn off Fox news and open your eyes to what is happening. You the one who thinks that they are Patriots, you are helping to destroy the basic fabric of America. Traitors against the Constitution. Its ashame people can’t love their country more than their party. We all love America, we all want the same things. Why do republican relentlessly attack the left? Because they know we want the best for all Americans, and they want the best for the corporations pulling their strings.
    Do your own research. The republican party does not care about you. Trump does not care about you. You know who does care about you? Democrats. Even if you’re not one…….if you don’t make 1million dollars a year ,you should be a Democrat

  • the big difference is nobody really believed that obama was in favor of anything he was so eloquently espousing on the campaign trail
    kamala is a true believer

  • Obama was a right winger though? And Harris is clearly signaling, every time she takes a seemingly radical stance she walks it back within a day or two, just in a way that won’t get as much media coverage. On the stuff that really matters she’s as conservative as the rest of the democratic establishment.

  • I dont get this. I have medicaid right now. Why cant other people have it if thet want. How would it hurt anybody? If anything nedicare nakes the health insurance industry profit. I just saw a drug testing panel that cost medicare $3000. A pee test. That doctors office billed medicare.

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