Feature

Is Barack Obama post-partisan?

What President Obama is asking of conservatives, and liberals

President Obama launched his presidency by trying to “unite the country,” said National Review Online in an editorial, with a call to move beyond the “stale political arguments” and “worn-out dogmas” of the past. But it’s hard to buy the rhetoric when it’s clear that he wants to change conservatives but doesn’t “consider the dogmas of liberalism worn out.”

Obamas' break with the conservative past may be more stark, said E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. When he said the size of government is irrelevant and that what matters is "whether it works," he was quietly "overturning the Reagan revolution." But by invoking traditional values as a means to progressive ends, he essentially asked liberals to give their "stale arguments" a rest, too.

It’s hard to deny the “inclusiveness”, said Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times, in an address that celebrated an American patchwork of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and non-believers. Obama’s “effort to tug people into his big tent" marks a change from George W. Bush's "years of governing from an ideological pup tent."

A serious reading of Obama's speech, said Robert Ehrlich in The Washington Post, "makes clear that part of the moderate, post-partisan, post-ideological Obama did indeed come through." But so did a nod to "class-warfare rhetoric" and the "desire to reconfigure the role of government and markets in our country." The left's debate with red-staters is still on.

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