March 12, 2010

JUST AS THE DARWINIST BELIEVES DARWINISM IS THE ONLY BELIEF THAT DIDN'T EVOLVE...:

Getting Obama Right (DAVID BROOKS, 3/11/10, NY Times)

Who is Barack Obama?

If you ask a conservative Republican, you are likely to hear that Obama is a skilled politician who campaigned as a centrist but is governing as a big-government liberal. He plays by ruthless, Chicago politics rules. He is arrogant toward foes, condescending toward allies and runs a partisan political machine.

If you ask a liberal Democrat, you are likely to hear that Obama is an inspiring but overly intellectual leader who has trouble making up his mind and fighting for his positions. He has not defined a clear mission. He has allowed the Republicans to dominate debate. He is too quick to compromise and too cerebral to push things through.

You’ll notice first that these two viewpoints are diametrically opposed. You’ll, observe, second, that they are entirely predictable. Political partisans always imagine the other side is ruthlessly effective and that the public would be with them if only their side had better messaging. And finally, you’ll notice that both views distort reality. They tell you more about the information cocoons that partisans live in these days than about Obama himself.

The fact is, Obama is as he always has been, a center-left pragmatic reformer. Every time he tries to articulate a grand philosophy — from his book “The Audacity of Hope” to his joint-session health care speech last September — he always describes a moderately activist government restrained by a sense of trade-offs. He always uses the same on-the-one-hand-on-the-other sentence structure. Government should address problems without interfering with the dynamism of the market.


...so too does the moderate Mr. Brooks believe his view of Mr. Obama is the only one that doesn't reflect the eye of the beholder. We, on the other hand, believe that conservatives, liberals, and moderates are all right. Mr. Obama can be whatever they want him to be, because he isn't actually anything. The clothes have no emperor. He's just a Rorschach blot upon which you get to project your own feelings while he does nothing to confirm or deny.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 12, 2010 6:57 AM
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