Was Obama Ever a Raging Lefty?

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James Bennet, in the Atlantic’s annual “Ideas” issue, writes an entry called “Obama Is No Liberal.” It starts like this:

It was a beautiful moment when Barack Obama, with his election, drew the left and right together in one powerful conviction: that he was a raging lefty.

I’ve heard variations on this many times, but where does it come from? The right certainly invested itself in a narrative of all-but-Marxism to galvanize the troops in opposition to Obama, but the left? Maybe I’m just hanging out in the wrong precincts, but it seems to me that the left pretty much always saw Obama as a pragmatic, mainstream liberal. Seriously: who on the left ever claimed Obama as a fellow “raging lefty”? (I’d ask Bennet to “name one,” but hell, there probably is one. There always is. So how about naming half a dozen? That shouldn’t be hard if left and right really were drawn together in this powerful conviction.)

It’s fair to say that a lot of liberals hoped to accomplish more than we have. But it’s really not fair to say that most liberals ever viewed Obama as a raging lefty. Better ideas, please.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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