"Moderate" in Style, But Not In Substance

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jan 30, 2009 12:23 PM
The AP's David Bauder thinks that it's Rush Limbaugh who's "challenging the notion of new politics."

Really?  In the week after the new President simply told Republicans "I won"?  So much for the new tone.

In the week after the new President -- like Bill Clinton before him -- reversed the Mexico City policy?  So much for new policy.

In the week that the new President signed on to a supposed "stimulus bill" that's in reality nothing but a wish list for every Democrat interest group (again, as Bill Clinton tried to do before him)?  So much for a new, economic-crisis insipred sense of fiscal restraint.

Even as he prepares to do the bidding of one of his strongest supporters, organized labor?  So much for independence.

Let's make no mistake.  Barack Obama will continue to talk "bipartisanship" and "compromise."  But for him, all that will merely be procedural -- i.e., he'll be polite to his adversaries and allow them to make their case.  When it comes to substance, he will govern like the liberal that he is -- no "compromise" there.

Writing about the Barack Obama I had known in law school, I noted that:

[U]nlike many of his left-wing compatriots, [Obama] treated his ideological adversaries with respect on a personal level. Indeed, he always offered the small conservative contingent on the Review a hearing, even though his decision-making consistently showed that he hadn’t ultimately been influenced by their arguments.  (emphasis added).

There's a distinction between "moderation" and "bipartisanship" and "inclusion" when it comes to procedure/style, and then when it comes to substance.    Obama does the former, and hopes that everyone will think it's also the latter.  It's not.