Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Pragmatist II

I received comments on my "Pragmatist" both pro and con, some of them on Facebook and not here on the blog. Here is a follow-up from AOL News this morning, showing both that the idea Pres. Obama is a pragmatist has some currency and that voters might cotton to his compromises with the GOP:

"Some political analysts are viewing President Obama's willingness to rankle Democratic leaders and anger liberals by striking a deal with Republicans on extending the Bush-era tax cuts as a bid to win back independents in advance of the 2012 elections. A new Gallup poll suggests that, politically, it may indeed have been a good way of moving towards that goal.

"Liz Sidoti, who covers national politics for the Associated Press, saw Obama's strategy this way: 'The compromise portended more likely to come as Obama courts the fickle center of the electorate and positions himself as the pragmatic president many independents want. . . . Enter Obama's dealmaking with Republicans and criticism of Democrats, moves intended to try to reclaim that swing-voting territory as he casts himself as a president who puts people above politics.'"
Seems we might be in an era of center-right dominance and Pres. Obama's political instincts have led him in a promising direction for survival into a second term. Such a situation might leave liberals and progressives even more isolated and without leadership.


  1. I seem to recall during Obama's campaign an editorial in the NY Times regarding Lincoln's pragmatist style and willingness to compromise. I believe Obama models himself after Lincoln (at least he was reading Lincoln's papers and Lincoln bios). So perhaps from the beginning he was indeed always thus. But why the idealist persona? Is he just another empty suit blowing with the political winds? Or will history judge him as a genuine bringer of change who was blocked by an intransigent opposition and disfunctional system from achieving social transformation? Frankly, I don't know who he is. All I know is that I'm feeling betrayed and angry and really don't wish to see him in office next term - unless the alternative is unthinkable.

  2. Thank you, Betsy. I hope you'll elect to follow this blog, especially in these politically charged times. Will Pelosi listen to her caucus, which has resoundingly opposed the Obama tax compromise, or will she bring his GOP-backed bill to the floor on Monday? Our economy rests on her decision.

  3. Pelosi was the architect of the so-called bipartisan compromise on the health care legislation - do we expect anything different on the tax legislation?
    I read two editorials in the Times following Obama's announcement of the tax "deal": Brooks' praise for the American tradition of compromise (his let's get real line); and Krugman's grim appraisal of postponing the inevitable hard choices - as we watch the economy continue to sink and Obama watches the polls. Principles sacrificed to compromise, or tough choices that grow out of a hard-headed pragmatism that is rooted in strong principles?