Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is Obama moving to the "center"?

Here is an excellent commentary by Greg Sargent, who writes for the very useful and well-informed liberal political news blog TalkingPointsMemo:

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne asks Obama advisers whether his appointments herald a shift to the center and is told that the answer is No:

Obama's selection of a team of highly skilled pragmatists has already been described as a move to the political center, but Obama advisers and longtime acquaintances say that this is a misreading of the incoming president and his approach. They describe it as combining a practicality about means with an overriding concern about the corrosive effects of growing economic inequalities...

Washington often divides the Democratic policy world between progressives and pragmatists. With Obama, as yesterday's news conference showed, it will have to become accustomed to a president who is both.

This goes to the heart of the debate that's taking shape among liberal writers over Obama's first moves. Do Obama's appointments constitute a betrayal of liberals, as Chris Bowers argues? Or is Obama merely assembling a team of experienced hands in order to implement his own progressive vision, as Matthew Yglesias contends?

I have no problem believing what Obama's advisers are telling Dionne. Either way, I don't see why we shouldn't just wait to see what actual policies Obama implements before making any judgments one way or the other. [emphasis added by me]

Very good point Greg!

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