Obama And Pragmatism

A great comment on Larison's blog:

I think it's   worth mentioning that a large part of the election campaign was fought over   just this issue. Obama presented himself as a genuinely pragmatic politician   who was not primarly concerned with ideology, but with what would work, and   that he could appeal across ideological divides to come to agreements on what   worked that would be good for the country.

McCain and many conservatives were accusing Obama of presenting a false   facade, that he was actually a socialist, a communist, a terrorist, a leftist   ideologue who was hiding his real ideological extremism behind this fake   veneer of pragmatism, and that once elected he would show his true colors, and   try to turn the country into a Muslim, socialist paradise for Bill Ayers and   al Qaeda terrorists.

The electorate rejected McCain’s version of Obama, and accepted Obama’s own   self-description. Those who are surprised by Obama’s appointments thus far are   those who for some reason mistakenly believed in McCain’s criticism.

   

One of   the best examples of Obama’s pragmatism is his appointment of Chu as energy   secretary. Imagine that, and actual expert scientist in charge of energy   research and development! Rather than a politician or military official or a   “green” progressive environmentalist, Obama picked a guy who actually knows   science. Is this being “centrist”, or is it being pragmatic in the real sense   of the word.

I think the truth that is coming out, and which you have avoided seeing as   best you can, is that Obama really is, by nature, a pragmatist, in the most   basic sense of the word, and that ideology is not what makes him tick. That   doesn’t mean he has no ideological biases, but that the forms and changes his   ideology based on actual observation, analysis, and testing of those ideas, in   what is loosely a scientific matter, and not even a purely political form of   pragmatism.

 

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