This is where I part company with the rest of Americans.
Americans tend to see America as being not just apart from the rest of the world, but generally "above it all". This is especially true of Conservatives but is a much much more widely held belief than just that group which represents 20% of belief in the US. I'm afraid we're all inhabitants of the same planet, and that political systems all have a range of values which may be placed on a spectrum. The US is a very conservative limited Democracy. All Democracies are limited democracies (as opposed to Direct Democracies where everybody votes on every issue), but not all are as conservative as the US. Many allow greater recognition of differences in political belief and feeling. The US strives to exclude difference, to assimilate and dissolve in the melting pot.
Even solely in terms of American politics, Obama is more conservative than Eisenhower or Nixon to choose two Republican Presidents of relatively recent vintage. Are we supposed to reset the parameters with each election and say Oh, the President is the new middle, or does that only apply to Republican Presidents? That's certainly how it appears from the outside. The only paradigm shifters you're willing to acknowledge appear to be Rightists. McCarhy, Nixon, Reagan. And you campaign viciously against the one Democrat in the 20th Century who really has legitimate claims to have shifted the paradigm, 68+ years after his death and counting.
Obama has been less liberal and left than Bill Clinton, or George H.W. Bush, or Jimmy Carter or Gerry Ford or Richard Nixon.
That certainly means he's no leftist in my book. Or in the books of anyone who can remember what it was like before G. W. Bush, let alone before Ronnie Reagan.
I apologize if that sounds confrontational, Roger, but I don't think there is any way to rationally maintain Obama is a leftist, particularly not in terms of legislative success which has been blocked at every turn. Obama is neither leftist in his beliefs, nor in what he has been allowed to do, which is a double whammy. History will record him as a Conservative Democrat with poor legislative success owing to massive Republican anti-democratic obstructionism. He was elected by a solid majority but was not allowed to legislate what he promised because of the arbitrary filibuster which obtained throughout his two terms (at least so far, and I don't see that changing).
The filibuster was never part of the plan for governance of the Founding Fathers for example, despite its users claiming to want to go back to Founding Principles. Republicans don't want to play fairly or to accept what the people have voted for, they want to WIN, and even more to rub Obama's and all the Democratic Party's faces in the dirt. In that they have gone far beyond the behaviour of the Democratic Party on the National Political stage. And I think it's wrong.