Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Pragmatism Declaration

Yesterday afternoon President Obama held a presser in which he forcefully declared why he negotiated with the Republicans (who he likened to hostage takers -- prompting this "only on Fox News" moment on Bill O'Reilly's show) to extend unemployment benefits for one more year in exchange for extending the George Bush-instigated tax cuts for two more years, even in the face of their clearly debilitative effects on the deficit.  Now, we can go back and forth on whether this was the only move open to him thanks to the chess game he finds himself in, or whether he's just a bad negotiator, but what was most definitely crystallized in Obama's often heated exchange with the press is the same thing that had already come into focus with the public option fight and the "will they/won't they" surrounding the Khalid Sheikh Mohammad trial: Obama defines himself first and foremost by a sense of political pragmatism.  This in itself may not be anything new, but his statement of such while actively rejecting the "sanctimony" and "idealism" of the left makes this a fairly significant moment in the ongoing Obama narrative -- one that David Kurtz over at TPM helps elucidate for us.

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