Obama Cautions Freshman House Democrats About The Price Tag Of Liberal Policies

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Written by Ann Brown
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FILE – This Feb. 19, 2019 file photo shows former President Barack Obama speaking at the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Summit in Oakland, Calif. In remarks before a business conference in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Obama says he tried to build a culture centered around problem-solving and not personal gain during his time in the White House. He said on Wednesday it was an effective strategy for any organization that also prevents big scandals and indictments. Obama didn’t mention President Donald Trump and wasn’t asked about him during a question-and-answer session. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Former President Barack Obama had some words of wisdom for a group of freshman House Democrats recently, warning them that there will be a price to pay for some popular liberal ideas.

While Obama didn’t name specific policies, some in attendance felt he was speaking about Medicare-for-all and Green New Deal, two liberal ideas that have been popularized by freshmen including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.


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“He said we [as Democrats] shouldn’t be afraid of big, bold ideas – but also need to think in the nitty-gritty about how those big, bold ideas will work and how you pay for them,” said one person who attended the meeting.

“People in the room, who asked for anonymity to describe the evening, said Obama’s cost warnings weren’t deficit-scolding, per se. Rather he argued that voters care about the costs associated with policies and that Democrats should be ready to answer questions about how they will pay for ideas while making big promises to constituents,” LMT Online reported.

Obama was asked by the freshmen about his approach to governing. He spoke about the importance of constituent services and making voters feel seen and heard. He also advised them to work across the aisle but cautioned them against becoming trapped by “phony bipartisanship.”

“He was speaking to staying in touch with your constituents. . . making sure you’re doing the regular communications as well as [recognizing] that there’s often-time nuances to policy making and that it takes time,” said Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich, who worked in the Obama administration. “He told stories about passing the ACA, and how that took a lot of conviction and ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and how that took a lot of time.”