Leon Hadar at The American Conservative thinks Obama’s foreign policy looks like George W. Bush’s, while his domestic policy looks like Eisenhower or Nixon:
…I never considered Obama to be a non-interventionist or a member of the peace movement. In fact, both in terms of his public statements and policies, Obama reminded me of President George H.W. Bush and his top “realist” foreign-policy advisors James Baker and Brent Scrowcroft: favoring pragmatism and a muddling-through approach over the pursuit of grand designs and ideological crusades; selective and preferring short military engagements over full-blown wars; Teddy Roosevelt over Woodrow Wilson.
Indeed, much of Obama’s cautious response to the so-called “Arab Spring” recalled Bush I’s efforts to deal with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism. And the decision to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait but not to invade Iraq provided a clear contrast between Bush I’s Realpolitik and the messianic foreign policy of Bush II. From that perspective, Obama’s leading-from-behind in Libya, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East, coupled with the acceleration of the military withdrawal from Iraq (and apparently from Afghanistan), are pure Bush I, which explains why many neocons hated Papa Bush with the same intensity with which they now despise Obama…
…In a way, much of what Obama has been advocating on domestic policy is not very different from what a Bush I administration (or Nixon, Ford or Eisenhower) would be doing, ranging from raising taxes, reforming immigration policy, or protecting the environment. Obama, in short, is not a socialist or a even a social-democrat, just a good old centrist Republican.
Andrew Sullivan, Bruce Bartlett, Cornell West, and others have argued that Obama is actually a conservative- on the lines of Edmund Burke. There are a whole segment of pro-Obama conservatives: the Obamacons who feel the same way.
Personally, the way Obama has governed has made me far more interested in right-of-center ideas. To me, he has partially vindicated George W. Bush’s foreign policy; in many cases he has been more aggressive in the pursuit of terrorists than his maligned predecessor. His embrace of market-based solutions instead of heavy handed government programs has also interested me. The ideas behind Obamacare derived form the right, as did cap-and-trade. He doubled-down on ‘No Child Left Behind’ a Bush era education policy.
These are not the policies of a raging socialist. For more evidence, I’d recommend pulling back from and looking to the policies of a real socialist, François Hollande, current president of France. The view from 30,000 feet looks a lot different than at ground level.