I tend to think Dutko is right on this point partially. The media does love Obama and does carry water for him. But he's wrong to say that the media is liberal. Loving Obama and being liberal are two different things in the real world, though not to Dutko. Dutko wants to pretend that Obama represents liberalism. That way if you're to the left of that you're really off the spectrum and crazy. But if we gauge liberalism by the attitudes of people that regard themselves as liberal, or even against the views of the American people generally, we find that not only is Obama not a liberal, he's to the right of the bulk of the American people.
So take the war in Afghanistan. I recently discussed public opinion on this. 54% of the American people think we should not be involved in this conflict now. That's the American people generally, not the opinion of liberals alone. If you were to poll the opinion of liberals presumably the margin would be even higher. Obama has offered us troop surges in Afghanistan.
Dutko would have us believe that Obama Care represents some sort of triumph of liberalism. This is utter nonsense. For decades the American people generally have supported some sort of public style care, like what exists in every other industrialized nation. The numbers do vary based on the way the question is asked, but the results are pretty consistent. Take this 2003 poll. By a margin of 62 to 33% Americans preferred universal public care to the present system. Moving to more recent surveys, voters in key states by wide margins preferred a public option system to the plan that Obama was offering. Look at the support amongst liberals. Like 80%. The same was true in nationwide polls. When a single payer option appeared on the ballot in Massachusetts a whopping 73% voted in favor. These are extremely popular positions.
Let's back up just a bit and look at how John Kerry took advantage of these extremely popular positions. Here's how the NY Times reported it just prior to the election:
But there is so little political support for government intervention in the health care market in the United States that Senator John Kerry took pains in a recent presidential debate to say that his plan for expanding access to health insurance would not create a new government program.
Not only is there no political support for single payer health care. There's no support for government intervention of any kind. The Times is totally right. All we have is positions supported by lopsided public majorities, but that's not what it takes for something to have political support. You need corporate support for political support. The public doesn't matter so much.
So how liberal was Obama with regards to health care? He started by immediately taking the extremely popular single payer option off the table. Liberals pleaded with him to at least retain a public option. While paying lip service to it Obama basically crushed it in a deceitful and absurd display. Greenwald has the details here and here. What he gave us was something worked out with major input from the large insurance companies and the pharmaceuticals. Sure, it's not the Republican plan. Republicans of course want to create a real utopia for the corporate masters. They were content to leave millions uninsured. Basically the status quo. What Obama offers does a little good, but still it is loved by the insurance companies. They can retain their 30% overhead and Americans can continue to pay twice what the rest of the world does while getting outcomes near the bottom of the spectrum of industrialized countries. This is not liberalism.
By a margin of 59 to 31% Americans believe that the UN should take the lead in solving international crises, not the US. So given that this is the attitude of Americans generally, imagine what the attitude of liberals would be. So in November of 2009 Obama's UN representative had the chance to join the world and accept the international consensus on a 2 state settlement in Palestine, or he could stand virtually alone against the world. The vote was 164-7 with the US of course among the few opposed. Is that liberalism? And try to find a reference to this extremism in the major media. This resolution is a sensible plan. A similar plan is even supported by the Israeli public generally. But not by the extreme right wing elements of the Israeli government and the extreme right wing elements of the American population. Obama goes along with them, not his liberal supporters.
Obama's positions on his authority to the order assassination of US citizens is so extreme it's even making right winger's blush. Not only is this not liberalism. This is right wing extremism. Now, perhaps Dutko is happy to give the President the authority to assassinate US citizens with no oversight. Maybe he's thinking Obama is making the good, tough decision. But is this liberalism?
There's a reason Obama and his press secretary Robert Gibbs have lately been going after liberals. Real liberals are openly hostile to Obama because Obama is not a liberal, though he did give the impression that he was.
Dutko loves to point out the hypocrisy of so called liberal media personalities in that they harshly criticized policies related to torture, war, and surveillance when Bush was implementing them, but now that Obama is implementing them they're quite silent. They're ready to abandon liberal policies just to support their favored candidate and party. This should be enough to help Dutko recognize that support for Obama and support for liberalism are not the same thing.