Hope for Obama's presidency

What liberals and conservatives want from Barack Obama

“What an amazing day to be black,” said Jack White in The Root. “What an amazing day to be an American.” Barack Obama’s inauguration as the nation’s first black president doesn’t mean discrimination is over, it doesn’t mean “that America has fast-forwarded into a post-racial era.” But it does mean that we’re all undeniably “the same family now,” and that’s something Americans of every color can celebrate.

“If Obama lives up to the dreams of his biggest supporters in writing a new, post-racial chapter for America,” said Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times, “he will have at once done more for America than any Democratic president in generations. But he also will have cut the knot holding much of the left together. As an American and as a conservative, I certainly hope that's the case.”

Nobody knows yet whether Obama will make a great president, or even a good one, said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. Polls suggest that most think he’ll do a good job, while some people fear that Americans will become disillusioned when they discover Obama “can’t wave a magic wand and make everything better.” But one thing’s for sure: “Rarely has a new presidency been greeted with such a consensus of goodwill—and rarely has a new president so needed it.”

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And rarely has a president’s inauguration represented such a giant “leap into the unknown,” said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Obama had such a “meteoric rise” that it’s impossible to tell whether “he is a genuine man of the left, or a more traditional pragmatist. The audacity of our hope” is that he’ll “return his party to the policies of growth, opportunity, and the vigorous defense of U.S. interests that marked it the last time the country had such great expectations for a Democratic President—under JFK.”

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