Is Obama A Leftist? Socialist? Moderate? Or What? E.J. Dionne, Jr. has an analysis that seems to hit it on the head:
How many ironies can a single presidency engender? Barack Obama is a detached man who has inspired fierce loyalties, and a cool man who has aroused both warm feelings of affection and a fiery opposition.
He loves to engage conservatives, yet few of them have chosen to engage him. He is seen as too moderate by parts of the left, but the right thinks he has a radical statist agenda.
…The man not only defies labels. He hates them. At a briefing for columnists last week to influence the coming 100-day assessments, a senior Obama adviser, struggling to offer a philosophical definition of the 44th president, finally settled on calling him “a devout non-ideologue.”
But the mysteries and paradoxes of these 100 days cannot be unraveled without an understanding that the president is more than a “whatever works” guy. Obama would not inspire such loyalty if his supporters did not see (correctly) that he has an agenda to move the country to a very different place. He would not inspire such resistance if his opponents did not sense exactly the same thing.
There’s a lot more so read it all. Get ready for a deluge of The First 100 Days articles and posts and many will be devices for writes to show unintentionally where they themselves are coming from politically. Dionne’s analysis is about as good as we’ve seen: Obama is operating on a different wavelength than most President’s we’ve seen so far in both style, his approach to power, and the way he tries to aggragate diverse interests. Perhaps the safest prediction is that he’ll likely wind up being a huge flop or a huge success in the end.
Pandemic Preparedness Was Axed Out Of Stimulus: The Nation says some GOPers said it was wasteful spending:
When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this year’s emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.
Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse — with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.
But former White House political czar Karl Rove and key congressional Republicans — led by Maine Senator Susan Collins — aggressively attacked the notion that there was a connection between pandemic preparation and economic recovery.
Now, as the World Health Organization says a deadly swine flu outbreak that apparently began in Mexico but has spread to the United States has the potential to develop into a pandemic, Obey’s attempt to secure the money seems eerily prescient..
Heck of a job, Karl…
UPDATE: My DD correctly points out that Congressional moderates played a huge roll in this. (All moderates except those on TMV are not perfect..)
A Different View Of Obama’s First 100 Days comes from The American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner, writing in The Huffington Post:
Thus the most important obstacle for seizing the moment to achieve enduring change: Barack Obama’s conception of what it means to promote national unity. Obama repeatedly declared during the campaign that he would govern as a consensus builder. He wasn’t lying. However, there are two ways of achieving consensus. One is to split the difference with your political enemies and the forces obstructing reform. The other is to use presidential leadership to transform the political center and alter the political dynamics. In his first hundred days, Obama has done a little of both, but he defaults to the politics of accommodation.
Read it in full.
But How Does A Newly Democratic Town Assess Obama? Watch the video at The Caucus.
Are We “Losing Our Nerve” On Disarmament? Some thoughts HERE.
Is The Problem That Neither The Left OR Right Get what conservatism is really about?
A Lot Of Bigwigs Are Weighing In On Torture including Porter Gross…
Does Attorney General Eric Holder Really Have A Choice On Some Torture Prosecutions? Andrew Sullivan points to something that suggests he may not.
A Tantalizing And Potentially Interesting Story: Was An Iranian weapons convoy sunk?
Many Americans View The GOP As Obstructionists but, why, it’s all the news media’s fault..
If U.S. Cuban Relations Thaw could it literally have an impact on Cuba’s environment?
The Taliban Versus Pakistan: Pakistan has launched a new offensive.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.