...inhabited by David Brooks:
...Obama needs to redefine his identity. Bill Clinton gave himself a New Democrat label. Obama has never categorized himself so clearly. This ambiguity was useful in 2008 when people could project whatever they wanted onto him. But it has been harmful since.. Obama has never categorized himself so clearly. This ambiguity was useful in 2008 when people could project whatever they wanted onto him. But it has been harmful since.I fail to see how Barack Obama is going to redefine his identity without completely reversing himself and in the process lose what little credibility he has left with the American people (as determined by the projected Republican landslide next week). And I don't see where any sort of ambiguity comes in here either. It ought to be clear to anyone with even a single working brain cell what Barack Obama is by now: a big-government ideologue who does things the Chicago Way. And how that whole projection thing worked I still don't know, because his voting record should have put the lie to the contention that Obama was a "blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." You know, I didn't think much of Bill Clinton, but I'd certainly give him his due as a politician with razor-sharp instincts. Barack Obama? Not so much. It's going to be impossible for him to make the public believe he is "a fervent believer" in things like personal responsibility when he isn't. Of course, he still has the coastal media in his pocket, and I'm sure they'll be pulling out all the stops to salvage what's left of Obama's presidency. It'll be interesting to see how things turn out.
Over the next two years, Obama will have to show that he is a traditionalist on social matters and a center-left pragmatist on political ones. Culturally, he will have to demonstrate that even though he comes from an unusual background, he is a fervent believer in the old-fashioned bourgeois virtues: order, self-discipline, punctuality and personal responsibility.