One of the admirable things about President Barack Obama is that he seems to be a man of principle. He does not appear to waver under public pressure. He sticks to his guns, as the old cliche goes. But those proverbial guns may now be pointed directly at him.
A few months ago, in the face of declining poll numbers for the liberal president, the debate was whether he would move toward the center like Bill Clinton did in order to mollify public opinion. Well, that question is now being answered: Obama is moving even further left.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, deputy White House spokesman Bill Burton said that Obama believes those media people who support ‘‘progressive values’’ provide an ‘‘invaluable service.’’ OK. But what exactly are the ‘‘progressive values’’ the president believes are so important? Depends on who you talk with, but there is some consensus.
Above all, progressives believe that the federal government should have a mandate to impose ‘‘social justice.’’ That means the country’s resources should be shared to elevate conditions for the have-nots. Thus, high taxation to fund government-run entitlement programs are a must. And not only that. Progressives also believe that things like welfare should be granted with no strings attached. The poor must be provided with decent housing, food, health care and even spending money upon demand.
Progressives also embrace unfettered immigration and abortion. Few if any restrictions should be put on those controversial situations. Also, working Americans should be guaranteed a ‘‘fair’’ wage and generous benefits by the government.
As far as foreign policy is concerned, progressive values put peace above all. The far left generally believes that America is an aggressive bully that has exploited people all over the world for its own benefit.
It is hard to ascertain just how deeply Obama embraces the progressive vision, but he certainly has not refuted much of it. He is, however, running into big problems with the massive spending his administration has imposed on the nation. In fiscal year 2009, the Obama administration spent a record-breaking $3.52 trillion, racking up a breathtaking $1.4 trillion deficit. That kind of balance sheet cannot be sustained.
The truth is that most Americans couldn’t care less about progressive values, as they are locked in on their financial futures. If the United States can’t meet its fiscal obligations, every single one of us will suffer grievously. The folks are beginning to understand the danger of massive debt.
So Obama has a dilemma. While he is moving to the left on his social justice agenda, the voters are clearly not following. All the polls show that. We are a generous nation; most of us want people to have good lives. But there comes a time when theory bangs up against reality. And in order to secure a second term, Obama will have to get real.
Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show ‘‘The O’Reilly Factor.’’ Visit his website at www.billoreilly.com.