Obama’s Secret Identity Revealed!
posted by Nate Oman
I am facinated by Barak Obama. In part this is because I figure he is likely to be the next president, and in part because the combination of meteoric success and a limited public record has a tendency to make him into a kind of ink-blot test of people’s hopes and fears. The resulting discussions are often very revealing, even if they are not revealing about Obama himself. Also, unlike most national politicians, he seems to be a genuinely thoughtful and even curious person. Too often democracy seems to reward shallow narcicissits.
Still, my suspicion is that — stripped of the rhetoric — Obama is a rather conventional left of center pol, and not being a big fan of left of center pols, I’m inclined to enjoy his eloquence and put my political hopes elsewhere. (Or simply jettison political hope.)
Cass Sunstein, however, seems to be out to persuade people like me to support Obama. He has done a nice podcast on why conservatives should support Obama, and now he’s got an article in the New Republic explaining Obama’s pragmatism. Sunstein writes of him:
When he offers visionary approaches, he does so as a visionary minimalist–that is, as someone who attempts to accommodate, rather than to repudiate, the defining beliefs of most Americans. His reluctance to challenge people’s deepest commitments might turn out to be what makes ambitious plans possible–notwithstanding the hopes of the far left and the cartoons of the far right.
He goes on to insist, “Above all, Obama’s form of pragmatism is heavily empirical; he wants to know what will work.”
So it turns out that Obama is a minimalist empiricist who believes in market-based approaches for pursuing progressive ends. In short, Obama is…Cass Sunstein.
It’s a good brief, but I am still left feeling like Herod Agrippa. (Cf. Acts 26:28)