Getting Obama Right, Left and Right
I can’t claim very much insight and experience when it comes to politics, but I can say that I’ve sensed that the right-wingers around me don’t have Obama pegged. They tend to view him as the socialist antichrist, someone who can do no right, the most dangerous man in America—if he’s truly in America and not a hologram projected from Saudi Arabia. I had thought that the left-wingers—I hear from NPR and the NY Times—were frustrated that Obama isn’t coming far enough their way. But David Brooks of the NY Times seems to think that the left doesn’t understand him any better than the right does.
What Brooks has written seems quite sensible to me:
In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don’t live in that country. We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality, fundamentally misunderstanding the man in the Oval Office.