29 November 2008

The new, centrist Obama

Mr Obama’s national security appointments suggest a strong preference for pragmatism and flexibility. All three have supported positions more hawkish than his own. The American left is getting a rather different president from the war-opposing hopemonger that they voted for.

(“Masters of war”, The Economist, 27 Nov 2008)

[Obama's economic] team's other striking feature is its centrism. Mr Summers is on the conservative wing of Democratic economists. … Christina Romer, an economic historian from Berkeley, has just published a paper with her husband David showing how raising taxes retards growth. Jason Furman … outraged unions for his 2005 article … “There’s no radicals in the whole cabinet that anyone can find.” … Mr Obama’s backers, in fact, can with some justification feel betrayed by the presence of so many figures from the Clinton regime …

(“Off to work they go”, The Economist, 27 Nov 2008)

Intriguing. He won the election on a left-wing, antiwar, welfare state platform. Yet in selecting his defense and economic teams, he has shown a strong tendency to govern from the center. This is almost certainly the wise path, the best for the nation. But it's bound to disappoint those who put him in the White House.

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