Barack Obama, conservative

bama’s perspectives don’t line up with every position now seen as right-of-center: He joined the Paris climate accords, he signed the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, and he’s pro-choice. He flip-flopped to supporting same-sex marriage, highlighting the significance of marriage.

But his constant search for consensus, for ways to bring Blue America and Red America together, sometimes led him to policies that used Republican means to achieve more liberal ends. The underlying concept for his signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, with its individual mandate, was devised by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and first implemented at the state level by Mitt Romney, then the Republican governor of Massachusetts. Obama wanted to protect Americans from the effects of a prolonged recession, so he agreed, in one of his defining votes as a senator, to a bailout of banks — and as president, he prioritized recovery over punishing bankers for their role in the financial crisis. In his first inaugural address, he affirmed the power of the free market “to generate wealth and expand freedom.”…

He believes, fundamentally, that the American model works — even if it hasn’t been allowed to work for everyone. In some cases, the government should help expand the American Dream to individuals and communities to whom access has been denied. In others, Americans can achieve the dream if only they have the will to surmount obstacles on their own. His second inaugural address was a thoroughly conservative document, underscoring equality of opportunity as opposed to equality of outcome. Republican former House speaker Newt Gingrich praised it at the time, saying, “Ninety-five percent of the speech I thought was classically American, emphasizing hard work, emphasizing self-reliance, emphasizing doing things together.”