Our president likes to be on both sides at once.Here's my take on Obama. He's a progressive leftist in the sense that many undergrads are progressive leftists. The socialist dream sounds good to them in the abstract and in general, but they don't really understand the history, the details of what collectivism entails, or the best arguments against it.
In Afghanistan, he wants to go but he wants to stay. He’s surging and withdrawing simultaneously. He’s leaving fewer troops than are needed for a counterinsurgency strategy and more troops than are needed for a counterterrorism strategy — and he seems to want both strategies at the same time. Our work is done but we have to still be there. Our work isn’t done but we can go.
On Libya, President Obama wants to lead from behind. He’s engaging in hostilities against Qaddafi while telling Congress he’s not engaging in hostilities against Qaddafi.
On the budget, he wants to cut spending and increase spending. On the environment, he wants to increase energy production but is reluctant to drill.. On health care, he wants to get everybody covered but will not press for a universal system. On Wall Street, he assails fat cats, but at cocktail parties, he wants to collect some of their fat for his campaign.
On politics, he likes to be friends with the other side but bash ’em at the same time. For others, bipartisanship means transcending their own prior political identities. For President Obama, it means that he participates in all political identities. He does not seem deeply affiliated with any side except his own.
He was elected on the idea of bold change, but now — except for the capture of Osama and his drone campaign in Pakistan and Yemen — he plays it safe. He shirks politics as usual but gets all twisted up in politics.
[H]e has tried to explain his reluctance on gay marriage as an expression of his Christianity, even though he rarely goes to church and is the picture of a secular humanist.
The man who was able to beat the Clintons in 2008 because the country wanted a break from Clintonian euphemism and casuistry is now breaking creative new ground in euphemism and casuistry.
Thus, Mr. Obama rode the wave to election in 2008 in the hope of being able to change the country, not by leading it to a new socialist paradise, but by appointing people who themselves had the competence to articulate the principles and the power to impose them.
Despite the image of confidence that he projects, Mr. Obama, I suspect, realizes that he's largely ignorant of economics, history, and world affairs and is thus reluctant to get out front on any issue that bears on these matters. Nothing in his background, after all, has prepared him to wrestle with complex economic issues. I imagine that he came to office knowing that he wanted to have government pay for everyone's health care, for instance, but what the economic implications of this would be he had no idea and little concern. Those were for others to worry about while he gave speeches written by others, played golf, and flew off to exotic vacation spots.
Mr. Obama, in other words, is a symbol, a figurehead, like the Queen of England. Calls for him to show up at the debt-ceiling negotiations will be resisted because he fears being exposed as knowing little about the questions being debated and having nothing helpful to contribute. He fears being exposed as a real life Chauncey Gardiner.
But this is only my opinion. I could, of course, be completely mistaken.