Sunday, 8 February 2009

Getting some perspective: (6) On Barack Obama

Gail Collins, columnist and former editor of the New York Times' editorial page, on Obama and his dealings with Republicans over the stimulus package:
I don’t know how many times we need to go over this, but this is actually a real-life version of what Obama promised during the campaign. Didn’t you jump up and cheer when your guy promised that he’d get Republicans and Democrats to work together?
This is a point Ms Collins was making as long ago as July:
He talked — and talked and talked — about how there were going to be no more red states and blue states, how he was going to bring Americans together, including Republicans and Democrats.

Exactly where did everybody think this gathering was going to take place? Left field?

When an extremely intelligent politician tells you over and over and over that he is tired of the take-no-prisoners politics of the last several decades, that he is going to get things done and build a “new consensus,” he is trying to explain that he is all about compromise. Even if he says it in that great Baracky way.
Her style is quite unlike that of any other newspaper columnist I've read, and she uses it in service of observations that others seem just not to make. And there is a genuine warmth in it towards people she disagrees with, a commodity in short supply in political commentary. As, by the way, is patience among the left-of-centre.

Her appraisal of the election and the day after was also a delight.

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