George Graham

Why is President Obama Courting the Right?

President Obama is nobody’s fool, so he must have a good reason for wooing America’s conservatives. But I can’t figure out what it could be.

He went cap in hand to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the lobbying arm of the world’s most powerful corporations, making conciliatory sounds and smiling his pretty smile. Then he invited the Republican leaders in Congress over for a heart-to-heart chat.

He also appointed “centrists” to fill several key administration posts.

Now, he’s apparently joining the war on America’s poor.

According to the National Journal, the president’s proposed budget includes steep cuts in the federal energy assistance fund for low-income Americans.

The Journal reports that Sen. John Kerry wrote a letter to Obama asking him not to reduce funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The Journal quotes Kerry as pleading:

I understand that difficult cuts have to be made. But in the middle of a brutal, even historic, New England winter, home heating assistance is more critical than ever to the health and welfare of millions of Americans, especially senior citizens. I request that the administration preserve LIHEAP funding at least to the Fiscal Year 2010 funding at $5.1 billion when it submits its FY12 budget proposal to Congress.

It must be some kind of misunderstanding. I find it hard to believe that in one of the most savage winters ever, the president plans to leave the country’s poor shivering in the cold!

But from where I sit, President Obama is looking more and more like a Republican. The question is why?

He might be thinking that he has to make concessions now that the radical right has won the House of Representatives. But he still has support in the Senate. And he has the veto pen.

It’s possible, too, that the president figuresĀ  he can get the Republicans to help him solve America’s pressing problems.

But you and I know that’s not going to happen.

Republicans are never going to accept him as their pal. Their only goal is to defeat him in 2012, and to achieve that goal they will sabotage every attempt he makes to solve the country’s problems.

By cozying up to the right, the president will not win them over to his dream of bipartisanship. He will only sully his legacy and lose the support of people like me.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for