Liberals upset with Barack Obama's few compromises with the GOP have a new moniker for the president many consider the most left ever: "Deeply conservative."
Academics and liberal pundits have started talking about Obama as right-of-center politically just as he has begun to reach out to independents and moderates in his reelection campaign.
Some are true critics who wish he would do more for labor and welfare recipients and implement tougher carbon limits on coal plants. Others are trying to portray Obama as a middle-of-of-the-roader attractive to moderate voters, not the liberal Mitt Romney attacks daily.
The latest claim that Obama's a conservative is being made by pundit Paul Street and University of Illinois political professor Anthony DiMaggio in a long review of the Tea Party in the influential journal Critical Sociology. In it they call Obama "deeply conservative" and eager enough for victories that he "caves in" to the GOP.
"Obama cannot stop readily accommodating," they write. "We are familiar by now with the standard liberal defense. The president, an all to persistent story line goes, is a progressive, left-leaning man of liberal instincts boxed in by cra-a-a-zy Tea Partiers who 'took over the Republican Party' and left him no choice but to shift rightward to get something done. This narrative ought to be understood as embarrassing and nonsensical," the duo wrote in the latest edition.
They also called him "supposedly liberal" and "center-right," prompting one longtime conservative activist to compare efforts to paint Obama as a conservative to former President Bill Clinton's rush to the political middle in order to win reelection.