A question millions of Americans have been asking for nearly a decade now. Maybe these Washington reporters should have found out who Obama was before they foisted him upon us. Instead anyone digging around trying to find out about his past were called racist. Yet now four and a half years into his term suddenly they want to know who the guy is? Thanks for asking, folks.
Five months into his second term, allies and enemies are as confounded as ever about who President Obama really is.
Is he the dyed-in-the-wool liberal that his biggest supporters and critics suggest? Or is he a pragmatic, even cynical, politician who cares more for his popularity than taking risks for his ideological goals or living up to his rhetoric?
Observers say the either-or choice between Obama the ideologue and Obama the pragmatist is simplistic and misleading. They say he is both: His principles on domestic issues in particular are on the left, but he is willing to bend those principles to rack up achievements and burnish his legacy.
“President Obama has always been pragmatic, but that’s the heart of his appeal to progressives,” said Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist who has advised the White House on messaging. “I think that’s part of the reason people feel his leadership is effective; he systematically pursues his agenda.”
The inaugural in particular seemed to show Obama believing that “his reelection would convince Republicans that they had to deal with him, that they had to come to the table,” Jillson said. “He articulated that idea at several points during the campaign, that the fever among the Republicans will break.”
But a tsunami of scandals and controversies since then has confounded the president’s ambitions.