AlterNet: Opinion: David Bromwich: What Became of the Leader Many Wanted Obama to be
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
Whatever happened to that socialist whom so many Americans on the far left supported and organized for and hoped they were getting when they went to work for then U.S. Senator Barack Obama back in 2007-08. I'll give you a clue: That person never existed; oh wait, did I just give it away. Here's where guilt by association and not by practice simply does not work, because I have friends and know people who are socialists as well as libertarians. Does that make me either because I'm friendly with these people? You could say the same thing about Barack Obama because he definitely had socialist connections before he became President of the United States. Bill Ayers is a perfect example.
The far left in America should have known before they went to work for Barack Obama that what they were getting back in 2007-08 was the furthest left candidate who could actually get elected President of the United States, which is a moderate Progressive or moderate Liberal a bit left of Bill Clinton. But he was certainly no one's radical, which he makes clear in his books. He loves America and believes that it is still the only country where someone from his background and upbringing can make it. With respect to his 2008 DNC nomination speech, he gave it as a center-left Democrat, not a radical left or right, which was also true in the general election against Senator John McCain.
Barack Obama is a pragmatist at heart who leans left and has a leftist vision but then goes about accomplishing his goals with what he sees as the most realistic approach, even if that means compromising with Democrats who aren't as left as he is or compromising with common sense Republicans. But this is not someone who ran for president with the goal of eliminating the Federal republic and transform America into a social democracy, but someone who ran for president to solve the current issues of the day in the most practical way possible, even if that meant compromising.
I believe Jimmy Carter was the president most similar to President Obama when it comes to governing style. They both probably had a grand vision of what they wanted to do as president, but at the same time had a pretty good idea of what was possible or, to quote the former great progressive senator Hubert Humphrey, the art of the possible. This means understanding the challenges and also the best available options to meet them, such as knowing what Congress is able to pass right now and then returning to address the rest later. This approach is hardly inspiring but can be effective in the hands of those who know how to govern.