POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Dionne … Obama is neither a chump or a wimp

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 9, 2009

E.J. Dionne writes on REAL CLEAR POLITICS (2-9-09) …

  • the real Barack Obama turns out to be both a conciliator and a fighter.
    • These are not contradictions in his character. 
    • They represent different sides of a politician who sees some issues as more susceptible to compromise than others, and who wants his adversaries to know that his easy-going style does not make him a pushover.
  • The sudden clarity emerged in the two best speeches of his short presidency.
    • Obama addressed the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday with a warning against the use of religion “as a tool to divide us from one another — as an excuse for prejudice and intolerance.”
    • That was in the morning. By evening, when the president spoke to Democratic House members in Williamsburg, Va., he had cast aside his efforts to placate Republicans who had no intention of reasoning with him on the stimulus bill. Obama had turned the other cheek often enough. “Don’t come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis,” the born-again campaigner rebuked his Republican adversaries.
  • Starting out, Obama really hoped to win broad Republican support for his stimulus package. This may have been a naive expectation, perhaps even a sign of excessive confidence in his ability to win over his most determined foes. Still, it seemed worth a try.
  • Most Republicans, however, preferred to bloody up the new, young president in their first encounter with him. Obama responded as he had often did in his presidential campaign, adjusting to an unanticipated reality. If the GOP wanted a fight, he was not about to back down.
  • Obama’s decision to fight Republicans on the stimulus bill doesn’t mean he’s lost his conciliatory instincts. It means that he’s neither a chump nor a wimp.

LMW COMMENT … E.J. Dionne says it just right.

Read the entire column at … http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/02/the_two_sides_of_obama.html



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