The Perils of Pragmatism
12-08-2008
An interesting article on Politico.com today details liberal concerns over Barack Obama’s cabinet appointments and shifting policy positions. My suggestion would be to let the guy actually get into office before crying foul. A year’s worth of policy outcomes would be a much more accurate measure of how Obama intends to govern than something static like the number of identifiable progressives currently included in his partially completed bureaucratic apparatus. Given the deepening economic crisis, and significant Democratic majorities in Congress, Obama will have an unparalleled opportunity to pursue progressive policy goals as part of his agenda.
 
But over the course of the campaign, Obama also promised to govern for all Americans in a post-partisan fashion. This, by definition, will require him to make some concessions to both the ideological center and right, and indeed we have already heard much talk of the political pragmatism reflected in his appointments. While some liberals will continue to take issue with what they see as the overly generous scope of those concessions, it is still too early to gauge whether their role as active stakeholders in the Obama Administration is being undercut as a result. I understand the desire of some activists to raise a warning flag right now, but I think most will wait to see what actually happens in 2009.


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