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New I don't know how he can be more clear.
Douthat said:

Obama baffles observers, I suspect, because he’s an ideologue and a pragmatist all at once. He’s a doctrinaire liberal who’s always willing to cut a deal and grab for half the loaf. He has the policy preferences of a progressive blogger, but the governing style of a seasoned Beltway wheeler-dealer.

He's not an ideologue. He's not a doctrinaire liberal. He doesn't have the policy preferences of a progressive blogger or the governing style of a seasoned Beltway wheeler-dealer.

Obama's written and given several speeches where he explicitly talks about what he believes and how he wants to get there. He's written 2 books that talk about his history and beliefs. He's about the most transparent president we've ever had (whether one likes what he has to say or not). But he doesn't fit in a pidegeon-hole, so the pundits don't know how to categorize him.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man who's been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

Ultimately, he an idealistic pragmatist. He wants to see reason backed by evidence - not dogma. He's not a capital D democrat, or a capital P progressive. He knows that change will be difficult, but by understanding who we are and how we got here, we can make the country and the world better for everyone. We don't have to be prisoners of our past. He refuses to be pidgeon-holed; that doesn't make him a sell-out or a Manchurian Candidate. He's in it for the long-term.

I think this is behind everything he does from his race speech, to his inaugural address, to his comments about ridding the world of nuclear weapons (which we are obligated by treaty to do, already), to his budget proposals, and even to his actions thus far on FISA and Guantanamo and the 2 wars. He's not a Chicago politician who will turn off the lights on people who don't vote with him.... He's not going to tilt at windmills for a single-payer system (even while he accepts the arguments that it's most efficient) since there's no amount of political capital that can get it enacted now.

Asking what his bottom line is sort-of misses the point.

I really don't understand why so many commentators can't see this... :-/


New Your concept of bottom line is different from mine
You get annoyed at a high level label which will then supposedly drive policy in a predicatable fashion. I don't care about the top level labels. I care that we move forward in a good direction.

My bottom line is based on every negotiation when going for a specific goal. You don't let the other guy know what is the most important to you, or what you are willing to give up to achieve it.

Because he is not ideologue, you will never know.

Sorry if some of the pointed to article doesn't match exactly what you feel, but it says many things well about how people simply will not be able to predict what he does, and I think that is a good thing.
New No worries. Don't let my whining get to you.
My annoyance is more a matter of being amazed at the (abysmal) quality of most opinion articles in the major newspapers, major blogs, and on TV than anything else. There are many reasons to be annoyed with Obama - saying that he's an "ideologue, a Chicago poll, who doesn't fight for his true beliefs" (or similar) isn't one of them.

IMHO. :-)

It seems to me that policy has moved exactly the way he said he wanted it to go. There have been stumbles along the way (Gitmo will take more than a year; Stupak's amendment may or may not make it; etc.). He's probably been too cautious on the economic rescue packages. But in general, he's letting the Congress work out the details and do its job while he sets the bar. We didn't elect a king.

[edit:] Krugman covers a related issue in his blog today: http://krugman.blogs...the-empty-center/

Expand Edited by Another Scott Dec. 28, 2009, 11:01:35 AM EST
New on the other hand, having no policy stances
means you cant get pinned down or blamed.
New Or submarined
     Is he delusional or is he just a pathological liar? - (mmoffitt) - (40)
         .... - (beepster) - (5)
             Let me know when the full transcript is available. - (Another Scott) - (4)
                 If you'll let me know when your arms get tired. ;0) -NT - (mmoffitt) - (3)
                     Heh. Transcript here. - (Another Scott) - (2)
                         Except.. O. and proofreaders really ought to know the word - (Ashton) - (1)
                             Of course. But it's probably a lost cause. - (Another Scott)
         Definitely delusional. - (Mycroft_Holmes_Iv)
         Glenn Greenwald's take - (Ashton) - (3)
             "And a few dozen other insoluble problems" - (dmcarls) - (2)
                 wait till the 75 year draught hits then watch the fun -NT - (boxley)
                 In the "thou sayest" bin -- - (Ashton)
         Nah, a political liar - (crazy) - (28)
             Thank you - (beepster)
             Heh. - (mmoffitt) - (17)
                 Silly comparison - (crazy) - (16)
                     If not the gulag, maybe Gitmo? -NT - (mmoffitt) - (15)
                         Hmm - (crazy) - (14)
                             You tell me. Anyone die at Gitmo? - (mmoffitt) - (13)
                                 When did you sneak back in? - (pwhysall) - (2)
                                     When he got out of gitmo - (crazy)
                                     Thought I'd see how many were still Big O believers. ;0) - (mmoffitt)
                                 Sure, why not - (crazy) - (8)
                                     not just gitmo - (boxley) - (5)
                                         Grrr - (crazy) - (4)
                                             nope crack is good but compared to the almost - (boxley) - (3)
                                                 Agreed, but - (crazy) - (2)
                                                     Contaigion vs. mortality ... I'm sure CDC has the figures -NT - (drook)
                                                     druggies have a line? ROFL! - (boxley)
                                     Sense of scale. - (mmoffitt) - (1)
                                         Read above post I just did -NT - (crazy)
                                 You need smileys - (crazy)
             This guy says it quite well - (crazy) - (8)
                 Disagree. I think he misses him completely. - (Another Scott) - (6)
                     Ehh - (crazy) - (5)
                         I don't know how he can be more clear. - (Another Scott) - (4)
                             Your concept of bottom line is different from mine - (crazy) - (3)
                                 No worries. Don't let my whining get to you. - (Another Scott) - (2)
                                     on the other hand, having no policy stances - (boxley) - (1)
                                         Or submarined -NT - (crazy)
                 Agree with it, except it's too long. - (mmoffitt)

We don't think of it as a rebellion. We call it "heavily armed stress leave."
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