Healthcare Mandates

Tyler Cowen is impressed with the arguments against them made by David Cutler, Obama's chief healthcare adviser. I'd point out something else about this rare Clinton-Obama policy difference. Obama is the more pragmatic and centrist of the two on this matter. The notion that he is the more liberal of the two is not a very enlightening analysis. In general, they represent different strands of liberalism, and it's reflected in their campaign rhetoric. Obama tends to emphasize people's ability to help themselves and their capacity to do so independently of government. Clinton tends to emphasize the neediness of people for government support and help, and she's much more comfortable with coercive government action.

It's "Yes, We Can," vs "I'll Take Care Of You."

And that's why a simplistic Obama-is-a-leftist critique won't work as well as some seem to think. He's a liberal, but a reconstructed one. He's the kind of liberal who sees dependency as a problem not a solution. And he's not a statist in the way previous liberal generations have been. He actually listened to and absorbed some of the conservative critique of liberalism these past two decades. And he has changed not just to protect his right flank.