Week 1: Obama Administration on the Political Spectrum

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Where does President Obama stand on the political spectrum during his first week in office? Is he keeping up his promise promoting bi-partisanship and governing from a purple centrist position, or is an Obama Administration veering towards a big government Democratic-Liberal leadership?

Abortion-Funds Policy: Towards the Left, Liberal policy

When Obama reversed the policy about providing funds internationally for abortions, he was siding with Liberals and Democrats. Liberals and Conservatives have strictly drawn lines over the policy since 1984 when Ronald Reagan banned funding. As soon as Democrat Bill Clinton entered office he reversed the policy allowing funding, which was promptly overturned eight years later when Republican George W. Bush entered office.

Closing Guantanamo Bay prison camp: Towards the Left

On Obama’s first full day as President, he signed an executive order that would close the controversial prison camp that both houses and tries in a military tribunal suspected terrorists. The camp would be closed within a year and would suspend trials for 120 days pending review. Democrats lauded the order, but Republicans had serious reservations about it, fearing detainees would be released into the United States. In response, House Republicans including House Minority Leader John Boehner filed a bill that would bar federal courts from releasing detainees into the country.

Economic Stimulus Bill: Towards the Left, as introduced, it emphasized big government, government spending and intervention in the economy.

President Obama hoped to have bi-partisan support for his big economic stimulus bill, however, the bill has faced fierce opposition by Republicans. Not a single Republican in Congress voted for the bill, but it was passed with unanimous Democratic support. Senate Republicans however, are more willing to pass a stimulus bill, but want it to focus less on government spending and more on mortgage relief, and tax cuts for Americans in the lowest tax brackets. With these provisions the bill would swing more towards the center as tax cuts have predominantly been more Conservative and Republican initiatives. Still the bill includes too much government intervention in the economy, and gives the government more control over healthcare, paving the way towards Obama’s hallmark health care reform, government run universal medical coverage, a clearly Liberal policy.

Equal-Pay Legislation: Towards the Left

First introduced during the Bush Administration, Congress was willing to pass the legislation, but it received opposition from the White House.

Barack Obama’s imminent nomination of Sen. Judd Gregg as commerce secretary: Towards the Left

Although it would appear that including a third Republican in the cabinet would be a bi-partisan move, it is far from it. There is a possibility that a Republican would not fill Gregg’s New Hampshire seat, this would give the Democrats a clear majority of 60 in the Senate, and would prevent filibusters in opposition to legislation from Republicans, and allow the Democratic Senate to pass measures without needing Republican support.

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