LEFT AND CENTER
“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.’