Noam Chomsky: Obama Would Have Been A 'Moderate Republican' Several Decades Ago

Scholar: Obama Would Have Been 'A Moderate Republican'

MIT professor and widely renowned scholar Noam Chomsky said on Thursday that President Barack Obama is "basically what would have been called several decades ago, a moderate Republican."

His comments came during an interview with The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur.

Chomsky went on to say that Obama was "kind of a mainstream centrist with some concerns for liberal ideas and conceptions, but not much in the way of principal or commitment." Chomsky told Uygur that he regarded the president's stance on some issues as "pretty reactionary," offering civil liberties as an example.

The scholar observed that today's Democratic Party has become what used to be called "moderate Republicans" because Republicans have "more or less disappeared."

"The Republican Party has become overwhelmingly so extreme that it's hardly a traditional political party anymore," he said.

Chomsky commented on how the shift in parties is due to a "redesign of the economy since the 1970s." He also attributed the shift to "two major elements … one was a shift towards 'financialization' … and manufacturing was moving toward offshoring."

Concentration of wealth leads very quickly to the concentration of political power. It's always a major factor, if not the only factor, in winning an election. By now it's so dramatic that we hardly have to talk about it. The last election just for president was over $2 billion, which is just unheard of. As campaigns are increasingly bought, the political figures … climb deeper and deeper into the pockets of those who were funding them. … So as the political system gets shredded, wealth gets concentrated, other policies change … you get a natural drift of the parties to the right.

Chomsky endorsed Obama in the 2008 election, urging swing states to vote against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and for Obama "without illusions".

In an interview with Al Jazeera in January, Chomsky questioned whether Obama has a "moral center."

Watch Chomsky's full interview with The Young Turks below.

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