Cries that Obama is a wild-eyed socialist Muslim from Kenya tend, when challenged, to focus on a few Obama policies.
Chief among them, of course, is his support of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The mandate that most Americans who can afford to do so either purchase private health insurance or pay a penalty is viewed from the right as a symbol of socialist extremism.
Whether or not the Affordable Care Act ends up delivering on its promises, Romney’s success Tuesday suggests it is not an example of extremist thought. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported and signed legislation that created a nearly identical plan, complete with the mandate. Last month he described mandatory insurance as “fundamentally a conservative principle to insist that people take personal responsibility as opposed to turning to government for giving out free care.”
Newt Gingrich, who finished fourth in the caucus, also supported mandates until politics changed his mind.
Another frequently cited example of Obama extremism is his acknowledgement that human activities contribute to climate change. Until Romney realized it turned off his conservative base, he also accepted the scientific evidence on climate change. GOP candidate Jon Huntsman has paid the price of delaying his decision to reject science until after the primary race began.
Another indication of Obama’s extremism, according to many conservatives, was his support of bank bailouts during the credit crisis, at the onset of the recession. Former President George W. Bush, a Republican — faced with the same economic challenge — also supported the bailout, but conservatives increasingly have distanced themselves from the former president.
Yet Romney, too, supported the bailout. “We were on the precipice, and we could have had a complete meltdown of our entire financial system,” the candidate explained in October. “So action had to be taken.” Gingrich also supported the bailouts.
Only time will tell whether Obama’s support of health-care reform and bank bailouts was wise, or whether his assessment of climate change is accurate. Using any of these factors as evidence that he is extreme in his policies, however, is absurd when the front-running GOP candidate has agreed with him on all three.