Barack Obama keeps his cool in hothead Washington

Barack Obama keeps his cool in hothead Washington
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Andrew Sullivan‘s Sunday column at the Telegraph:

The instinctive conservatism and constitutionalism of Barack Obama were core reasons for his election. He was a liberal in policy but a conservative in temperament: cautious, consensus-seeking, empirical. After the wild swings of the Bush administration, this seemed like balm with an Eisenhower vibe. Obama even started golfing during foreign policy crises.

Decisions were made after deliberation and study, not impetuously. Strategy was stuck to, even at the cost of a few tactical setbacks. There was no big emotional breast-beating on the international stage; all options were kept open — even as we watched the brutal repression in Iran.

The new president also understood the real role of his office — not the decider, but the presider; one branch of three co-equal branches of government, subject to the rule of law and the constitution.

So the president resisted the temptation to jump in and nationalise the banks; he picked Wall Street-friendly Tim Geithner for the Treasury; he postponed any big early withdrawal from Iraq; he added troops in Afghanistan; he gave up his tax hikes because the recession was so steep. While he banned torture, he moved towards careful compromise on rendition and preventive detention and state secrets.

As he had once written when describing his strategy as a black man in a white world: no sudden moves. And we have seen none. Obama likes the system; he just wants to make it work for more people.

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Photo soure: DavidAngelo

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