LEFT AND CEN­TER

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

“Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is tak­ing a beat­ing from lib­eral crit­ics who think his at­tempt to court Repub­li­can sup­port is a po­lit­i­cal fail­ure and a pol­icy dis­as­ter. Yet this as­sault on Mr. Obama’s bi­par­ti­san in­stinct is mis­guided and, iron­i­cally, threat­ens to un­der­mine lib­eral goals,” Matt Miller writes in the Wall Street Jour­nal.

“The pres­i­dent has his eye on a big­ger prize than winning a few Repub­li­can votes for his stim­u­lus pack­age or hav­ing a con­ser­va­tive in his Cab­i­net. He aims to move the po­lit­i­cal cen­ter in Amer­ica to the left, much as Ron­ald Rea­gan moved it to the right. The only way he can achieve this goal is to harness the en­er­gies and val­ues of both par­ties,” said Mr. Miller, au­thor of “The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Let­ting Go of The Old Ways of Think­ing To Un­leash a New Pros­per­ity.”

“Left and right mean less nowa­days, es­pe­cially to Amer­i­cans out­side Wash­ing­ton. But broadly speak­ing, Mr. Obama seeks to use gov­ern­ment in new ways to bol­ster op­por­tu­nity and se­cu­rity in an era when fi­nan­cial cri­sis, global com­pe­ti­tion and rapid tech­no­log­i­cal change are call­ing into ques­tion the po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness ar­range­ments on which our pros­per­ity has rested for decades. This is the task that his­tory has as­signed this pres­i­dent. The spat be­tween him and his lib­eral crit­ics is about the way one makes this hap­pen.”

Mr. Miller added: “Lib­er­als who mock Mr. Obama’s Repub­li­can flir­ta­tions fail to ap­pre­ci­ate that his bi­par­ti­san­ship is an ef­fort to play for big­ger stakes. He’s dar­ing to link a po­lit­i­cal strat­egy to an at­tempt to ac­tu­ally solve Amer­ica’s ma­jor pol­icy chal­lenges.” strom writes at Na­tional Re­view On­line (www.na­tion­al­re­view.com).

“Eric Holder’s speech to Jus­tice Depart­ment staff on Fe­bru­ary 18 was scan­dalously un­in­formed, as well as ar­ro­gant and in­co­her­ent. It should be an em­bar­rass­ment to the pres­i­dent,” said Mrs. Th­ern­strom, co-au­thor with Stephan Th­ern­strom of “Amer­ica in Black and White: One Na­tion, In­di­vis­i­ble,” an ad­junct scholar at the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute and the vice chair­man of the U.S. Com­mis­sion on Civil Rights.

“Given the al­ready splen­did com­men­tary on this speech by Jonah Gold­berg and oth­ers, I had in­tended to hold my tongue. But af­ter read­ing the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s re­marks in full, I changed my mind. ‘A na­tion of cow­ards’ — those at­ten­tion-grab­bing words have been much re­marked upon. In fact, the rest of the speech is even more dis­turb­ing than that mud-sling­ing phrase.

“Take the charge that ‘out­side the work­place’ the racial scene is ‘bleak in that there is al­most no sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­ac­tion be­tween us. On Satur­days and Sun­days, Amer­ica in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, dif­fer sig­nif­i­cantly from the coun­try that ex­isted some 50 years ago.’

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