Saturday, January 23, 2010

Politico Gets It Wrong

A recent story at had this to say about the Obama administration:

WWCD: What Would Clinton Do?

That’s not a question that
President Barack Obama and his team of loyalists from the 2008 campaign are prone to ask, because they don’t much care about the answer.

It is an irony of the Obama administration — given that it is staffed with so many people with high-level experience during Bill Clinton’s presidency, including one Cabinet member named Clinton — that its basic attitude toward Clinton-style governance is hostile.

Obama and White House aides are courteous to the 42nd president when he calls, but in private many of those aides sound very much like George W. Bush’s advisers in disparaging the Clinton years.

The people around Obama are romantics. They dream of Obama as a transformational figure, looming large on history’s stage. They see Clinton as at best a transitional figure, whose poll-tested pragmatism and incremental policies loom small.

It's very interesting that Politico is claiming this, since in May of last year, they reported this story:

President Barack Obama firmly resists ideological labels, but at the end of a private meeting with a group of moderate Democrats on Tuesday afternoon, he offered a statement of solidarity.

“I am a New Democrat,” he told the New Democrat Coalition, according to two sources at the White House session.

For those unfamiliar with Beltway ideological jargon, "New Democrat" was a term brought into political currency by Bill Clinton during his first presidential campaign in 1992. Affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council (better known as the DLC), the New Democrat Network, and the Senate and House New Democrat Coalitions, it refers to a governing philosophy that moves the Democratic Party's traditional liberalism as far to the "center" as possible, in the hope that reconciling it with the conservative trends of the Reagan Era will improve the party's outcomes in key elections. Considering that transformational leaders are those who define the ideological framework through which people view the major issues of his/her time, any president who openly identifies with a movement dedicated toward appeasing the prevailing sentiments established by the oppositional party is, by default, incapable of being a transformational figure.

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