August 23, 2010

IF HE STOOD FOR ANYTHING HE NEVER WOULD HAVE BEEN ELECTED:

Dems urge Obama to take a stand (JOHN F. HARRIS & JAMES HOHMANN, 8/23/10, Politico)

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’s recent complaint about the ingratitude of the “professional left” is a small symptom of a larger problem for President Barack Obama: He has left wide swaths of the Democratic Party uncertain of his core beliefs.

In interviews, a variety of political activists, operatives and commentators from across the party's ideological spectrum presented similar descriptions of Obama’s predicament: By declining to speak clearly and often about his larger philosophy — and insisting that his actions are guided not by ideology but a results-oriented “pragmatism” — he has bred confusion and disappointment among his allies, and left his agenda and motives vulnerable to distortion by his enemies. [...]

The ability to transcend ideological divides and unite disparate parts of the electorate was a signal strength of his candidacy in 2008. But that has given way to widespread — if often contradictory — complaints about his agenda (too radical or too cautious?) and the political tactics (too partisan or too conflict averse?) he uses to pursue it. [...]

[O]bama’s opaque ideology invites everyone to see something different in him — and those perceptions often do not work to his advantage.


The opacity is what made him a formidable candidate, particularly against foes reluctant to define him.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at August 23, 2010 3:57 PM
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