Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama the pragmatic

Some Obama supporters probably expect more than a nickel's worth of change, but they may be conflating the direction of policy with the peopling of the administration. To be sure, Obama certainly has left the impression that one of the problems with Washington was its people. But he found out early on that he couldn't run a presidential campaign without Democratic insiders playing integral roles. He turned to symbolism (no lobbyist donations) over substance (staying in the public financing system). And then he picked Joe Biden. And now he's turning to people who know how power flows in Washington. It's more evidence that Obama's modus operandi is pragmatism -- (radical empiricism, some call it). The secret is that Obama intends use very pragmatic, temperamentally conservative means to achieve radical -- not in the Bill Ayers sense but in the huge, big, transformative sense -- changes in how Washington works and how it relates to Americans. -Marc Ambinder
This analysis is spot on. Barack Obama is a pragmatic who will get things done effectively. I think after 8 years of Bush who picked ideologically correct people over competence and 8 years of a disorganized Clinton who didn't achieve much, Americans will not complain too much if they see competence in the White House. And to be honest, I don't believe he will do anything radical. He might manage to pass a legislation or two that would qualify as "major" (like a health care bill that look like Baucus' plan), but he will do nothing that change the way Washington is run; that is not just who he is.

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