Exploring the Eclipse of Equality

Obama’s AEI Beachhead: Norm Ornstein on Fire

In Domestic Politics on April 14, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Looking at the range of Obama domestic and foreign policies, and his agency and diplomatic appointments, my conclusion is clear: This president is a mainstream, pragmatic moderate, operating in the center of American politics; center-left, perhaps, but not left of center. The most radical president in American history? Does Newt Gingrich, a PhD in history, really believe that [expletive]?

Norman Ornstein in The Washington Post

I have followed Norman Ornstein, who is a resident scholar at the right of center American Enterprise Institute, for some time now. He has written some of the most convincing defenses of Obama’s centrist approach to politics that I have seen. I won’t say much about what he finds and who he is right now other than to say, read this piece from today’s Washington Post. Norm is writing a piecemeal retort to Glenn Beck’s book Arguing with Idiots. We might call Ornstein’s book Arguing with Ideologues: How to stop scant facts and adequate exaggerations. It is worth reading the article just for the list of centrist moves that Obama has taken. The times are radical, but Obama is not. After reading this, you can remember exactly how obvious this is.

After reading today’s powerful and convincing discussion of extremist and implausible rhetoric coming from the right, turn back and see an earlier one he wrote about Obama’s legislative successes. The earlier piece is less biting, but is really so contrary to what we read at the time (it was written when health care reform was being pilloried and Obama mocked for having accomplished nothing) that it stood out like few other arguments. I know that I was a bit shocked to see the facts laid out so clearly demonstrating that Obama had accomplished a tremendous amount in his first year. Others were as surprised to see this I’m sure, but from what I can tell, the argument was only circulated in rarefied circles. The main story line did not change on the success of Obama’s agenda until Health reform was law. After that, the dots connect themselves in quite different ways.

I am not sure exactly where Norm falls on Obama, but he sure reads like a supporter. It may simply be that he has a hidden agenda to point out the excesses of the far right for other reasons. There is little question that he pins the anti-Obama crowd in the camp of intolerance through association, and I assume that this is a meaningful move on his part.

I must hand it to AEI, they are letting Ornstein put out very damaging material for the fire and brimstone crowd on the right. It will be just a little more difficult to pitch the harder attacks after his collective efforts make their mark.


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