[Marxism] Obama: 'I am a New Democrat'
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Mar 12 07:42:13 MDT 2009
Obama: 'I am a New Democrat'
By: Jonathan Martin and Carol E. Lee
March 10, 2009 07:04 PM EST
President Barack Obama firmly resists ideological labels, but at the end
of a private meeting with a group of moderate Democrats on Tuesday
afternoon, he offered a statement of solidarity.
“I am a New Democrat,” he told the New Democrat Coalition, according to
two sources at the White House session.
The group is comprised of centrist Democratic members of the House, who
support free trade and a muscular foreign policy but are more moderate
than the conservative Blue Dog Coalition.
Obama made his comment in discussing his budget priorities and broader
goals, also calling himself a “pro-growth Democrat” during the course of
The self-descriptions are striking given Obama’s usual caution in being
identified with any wing of his often-fractious party. He largely
avoided the Democratic Leadership Council — the centrist group that Bill
Clinton once led — and, with an eye on his national political standing,
has always shied away from the liberal label, too.
As recently as last week, he steadfastly refused to define his governing
Asked in an interview with The New York Times to describe if he was a
liberal, socialist or progressive, Obama demurred.
“No, I’m not going to engage in that,” he said, before calling back the
reporters later in the day to question why they would even ask if he is
Surrounded by 65 moderate Democrats on Tuesday in the State Dining Room,
Obama was happy to portray himself as simpatico with a group of members
who are largely socially liberal but fiscally more moderate to conservative.
He said he “supports free and fair trade,” according to one attendee,
and noted that he was “very concerned about a return to protectionism.”
Obama made similar comments last month during his trip to Canada —
America’s largest trading partner — and has shied away from the
NAFTA-bashing he engaged in during last year’s Democratic primary.
Obama also said he would turn to the group — many members of which come
from high-technology districts — for help on innovation and smart-growth
There is no New Democrat coalition in the Senate, so Obama had no
previous affiliation to the group. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was
a member of the centrist group during his time in the House, though.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said the president insisted on listening to
questions posed by 10 pre-selected members — but that Emanuel tried to
hurry his boss along when the meeting went over its allotted time.
"Rahm was sitting there, like he does, looking at his watch and tapping
his foot," Israel said with a laugh.
The meeting was part of Obama’s steady courtship of congressional
Democrats — left, right and center — in advance of the debate over his
proposed $3.6 trillion budget.
Last week Obama met with the left-leaning Congressional Black Caucus,
before that he met with the conservative-leaning Blue Dogs.
A group of the New Democrats talked to reporters after the meeting.
“The president made a point to say that not everything in this budget
everyone’s going to like — after all we are Democrats, we don’t agree
half the time with each other anyway — but that, don’t be nitpicky,”
said Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.). “Don’t pick out the one or two items
that you don’t like and use that for the cause celebre for voting down
or voting against that budget. He called upon us personally as New
Democrats to support him in this effort.”
“We’re going to begin our conversation about the budget tomorrow,” said
Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), who leads the New Democrats. “The
president made it very, very clear that his priority for us to be
working on is passing this budget.”
“We’re all together with the president,” she said.
Victoria McGrane contributed to this story.
More information about the Marxism