Muddling the Middle

It appears for the time being that the president’s uptick in approval is continuing, as this morning’s Rasmussen Reports number have him at the highest level in well over a year (52% approval). This is unfortunate, as he appeared to be on the ropes after the November mid-terms, a circumstance combated since then, by, as our media talking heads love to say, “tacking to the middle.” As is always the case in politics, words really do mean something, and “the middle” might have a different meaning had Republicans stood more firm on what constituted the limited government side of the aisle.

But having not yet mustered the courage to battle entitlements in any meaningful way (and who can blame them, as an uproar would ensure from most of the population if benefits started being curtailed) “the political middle” is almost devoid of meaning. Apparently, cutting taxes without offsetting spending cuts is somehow the “middle” in our modern day political dialect; Republicans did those sort of things in the early to mid 2000’s while in power, so most of the public just assumes Obama doing the same must mean he is now adopting some of the other side’s ideas.

Never mind the long-term damage and economic dislocation which will be caused by a loose monetary policy coupled with massive fiscal stimulus (government redistribution paid for on credit if taxes are not high enough to raise revenue for them). Since Republicans long ago lost the moral high ground on spending issues, the president can paint himself as a “moderate” or “centrist” by simply undertaking the same policies as his predecessors.

Since many of these policies were passed of as “conservative” when Republicans did them (though they are actually Keynesian and have nothing to do with curtailing government power), Obama has lately been attempting to beat them at their own game.  Elected officials who espouse small government principles need to get their act together and draw a line in the sand as to what exactly fiscal conservatism is: muddling the meaning will only ensure the president a second term if no clear alternative is presented to the voting public.

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