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Obama is less liberal than Nixon was

November 20, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

To the editor:

Right-wingers need to quit hyperventilating about the re-election of President Barack Obama. The truth is that he's more conservative than boogeyman-President Richard Nixon on many issues.

As Kurt Andersen wrote for the New York Times, during the Nixon administration, "spending on social services doubled, and military budgets actually decreased. (Nixon) oversaw the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. His administration was the first to encourage and enable American Indian tribal autonomy. He quadrupled the staff of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, almost tripled federal outlays for civil rights and began affirmative action in federal hiring. He supported the Equal Rights Amendment and signed Title IX, the law granting equality to female student athletes. One of his Supreme Court appointees wrote the Roe v. Wade decision."

Wow, Tricky Dick is starting to make Obama look like Grover Norquist. But wait a minute! That's not all. Andersen continues, "Nixon made Social Security cost-of-living increases automatic, expanded food stamps and started Supplemental Security Income for the disabled and elderly poor. It helped, of course, that Democrats controlled the House and Senate. But it was the president, not Congress, who proposed a universal health insurance plan and a transformation of welfare that would have set a guaranteed minimum income and allowed men to remain with their welfare-recipient families. It was Nixon who radically intervened in the free market by imposing wage and price controls, launched detente with the Soviets, normalized relations with Mao's China and let the communists win in Vietnam. And, for good measure, the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts grew sixfold, by far the biggest increase by any president."

Obama is no socialist. I wish he were. Working people would have it a lot better. But he's not really even a liberal. His signature policy achievement, the Affordable Care Act, was a conservative idea. It was proposed by the Heritage Foundation, supported by then Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and put into practice in Massachusetts by Gov. Mitt Romney. So chill out, right-wingers. You'll have a moderate Republican for president for the next four years. For a genuine leftist perspective, please visit

Jon Hochschartner

Waltham, Mass.



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