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The GOP problem—they can't get to the right of Obama without looking stupid

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Glenn Greenwald has a nice observation in The Guardian that's worth noticing.

His key point — Obama is so far to the right, especially on national security, that no GOP candidate can get to his right and look credible.


In fairness to the much-maligned GOP field, they face a formidable hurdle: how to credibly attack Obama when he has adopted so many of their party's defining beliefs. ... Because Obama has governed as a centrist Republican, these GOP candidates are able to attack him ... only by moving so far to the right ... that they fall over the cliff of mainstream acceptability, or even basic sanity. ...

How do you scorn a president as a far-left socialist when he has stuffed his administration with Wall Street executives, had his last campaign funded by them, governed as a "centrist Republican", and presided over booming corporate profits even while the rest of the nation suffered economically?
Greenwald notes that there is a little room to Obama's left on a few domestic policies, and calls attention to the future makeup of the Supreme Court in particular:
The president's 2009 stimulus spending and Wall Street "reform" package – tepid and inadequate though they were – are genuinely at odds with rightwing dogma, ... And the Supreme Court, perpetually plagued by a 5-4 partisan split, would be significantly affected by the outcome of the 2012 election.
But on foreign policy, there's no sane room to Obama's right at all:
[H]ow can a GOP candidate invoke this time-tested caricature [Dems coddling America's enemies] when Obama has embraced the vast bulk of George Bush's terrorism policies; waged a war against government whistleblowers as part of a campaign of obsessive secrecy; led efforts to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs; extinguished the lives not only of accused terrorists but of huge numbers of innocent civilians with cluster bombs and drones in Muslim countries; engineered a covert war against Iran; tried to extend the Iraq war; ignored Congress and the constitution to prosecute an unauthorised war in Libya; adopted the defining Bush/Cheney policy of indefinite detention without trial for accused terrorists; and even claimed and exercised the power to assassinate US citizens far from any battlefield and without due process?
Pass through that list again. This is Obama's genius, if you will — to sell his soul to the right-wing devil and actually get a good price, the presidency.

Mephistopheles will get his revenge, but after Obama is out of office. Obama may indeed be a Top Four president — on a list that contains Nixon and Bush.

Greenwald concludes that the current GOP crop is "forced to move so far to the right that they render themselves inherently absurd."

No wonder the GOP debates seemed like episodes of some weird high-concept reality show — a verbal version of Dancing with the Under-Rehearsed Stars. Thanks to Obama's takeover of both political parties, it's all they have to offer.


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