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The "Pragmatism" Narrative Rolls Out....

MsExPat's picture

Some staggeringly insightful "analysis" from the newspaper of record, via David Sagner, today:

Obama Tilts to Center, Inviting a Clash of Ideas

WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination with the enthusiastic support of the left wing of his party, fueled by his vehement opposition to the decision to invade Iraq and by one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate.

Now, his reported selections for two of the major positions in his cabinet — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state and Timothy F. Geithner as secretary of the Treasury — suggest that Mr. Obama is planning to govern from the center-right of his party, surrounding himself with pragmatists rather than ideologues.

Hello! Was Obama ever NOT center-right?! Are they just getting around to figuring this out? Or is this just about getting the Obamabots on the left used to the shift in the narrative. Now that Obama's won there's no longer any need to prop up the myth that he's left-progressive.

Aha! But there's more:

Of all the choices Mr. Obama has made so far, it is the selection of Mrs. Clinton that appears the biggest gamble, in part because she has never had to engage in the give-and-take of high-stakes diplomacy...

You see, Hillary's not only threatening to contaminate the Obama administration with her center-rightist tendencies, she doesn't have what it takes to play the big boyz, high-stakes game. She's not QUALIFIED!

Oh dear, oh dear. What to do about this damn problem woman.

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Hillary and Obama have virtually identical voting records, but she's somehow dragging the administration to the right. It must have been her vote against warrantless wiretapping that did it. That's the ticket!

Also, the Mighty Wurlitzer must have had a tune-up, because the meme machine is well-oiled these days. Whether it's "gee, Obama is suddenly (shocked, shocked!) slanting rightward," that "America is a center-right nation," or "Bill Clinton's plane tickets to poor countries threaten Hillary's SoS nomination," boy, are the talking points moving at the speed of light or what!

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

because it's no longer possible to keep pushing the pre-election narrative of Obama as a liberal progressive. Now that he's doing stuff, instead of just talking about it, his middle-of-the-road tendencies are obvious. So the Wurlitzer is playing as fast as it can to catch up.

It's fascinating to watch all the handwringing over Hillary's SOS offer. Did Condoleeza Rice endure such criticism when she was tapped as National Security Adviser? As I recall, she came straight out of academia, out of Stanford. And Colin Powell was a General, which is not exactly a diplomatic post.

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

I reject the conventional wisdom that a pragmatist is, by definition, center-right. I, for example, am a lefty from way back, but I am also very pragmatic when it comes to US politics. State and local politics here in Oregon is filled with pragmatists on the left. And, while Hillary is probably more toward the center than I, she is not center-right.

Condi Rice served in the Bush I administration as an assist. national security advisor. And of course she was not scrutinized by the press. She is, after all, a Republican. Her area of expertise is Russia. That has worked well for us hasn't it?

splashy9's picture
Submitted by splashy9 on

They often go with what works, and will discard things that don't, as opposed to the rightists who live for ideology and will stick to it till the bitter end when everything collapses.

Many people think pragmatic means it's ok to hurt the working people rather than the wealthy, because they think the wealthy are the only ones that matter. Leftists realize it's all BUILT on the working people, that they are the ONLY ones that matter because they actually DO things like build things and maintain things. The wealthy just sit around and tell others what to do, and act superior because they think they are more important.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

when he was nonpartisan, that was best too--

now he's pragmatic and that's best--and surrounded by partisans, and that's best too, apparently.

when he institutes strict ethics/lobbying rules for staff, that's best--and when he hires people who completely break those rules, that's best too...

whatever he does is best, i guess?

they're pathetic.

scoutt's picture
Submitted by scoutt on

I engaged in yet another head banging discussion with an Obama supporter/hillary hater. (does that combo fall under the description of "koolaid drinker"?)
I brought up that Obama has backtracked on countless campaign promises and statements and seems to not to be at all the progressive he positioned himself to be.
"He had to do that to get elected".
"But that's why all you guys hated hillary...she compromised and negotiated on various issues".
"Yeah, but she's been doing it a lot longer".

Pretzel with that koolaid?

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

loved the punchline.

Submitted by jawbone on

Rivals is a myth, she said on Inside Washington. She challenged Evan Thomas as to the historical veracity of Doris Kearns Goodwin's basic premise, that Lincoln forged a "team of rivals." Since it was a chat show, little more was said. I'd like to know more about how she arrived at this take on things.

Totenberg said that in doing more reading, her suspicsion of this "myth," this lovely story, was confirmed, and it fell apart. The cabinet members under Lincoln were cold, calculating, back-stabbing, and the only way Lincoln held them together was to be a virtual despot over them.

Thomas went into Oh, No! mode.

It was nice to see Nina using her brain and eschewing the MCM line. She has recently been pretty good at following the Narrative from what I've seen of her on this program. Keep up the good reasoning, please, Nna!

But, wow, how the MCMers are flogging that Team of Rival Narrative!

And it seems Obama is buying it as well. I hope his reading lets him see that reality was different from Goodwin's lovely myth.