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Who is Obama?

Written by Reg Henry on .

Welcome back to another week of Reg on Wry, where the subject at hand does not restrict commentators from going off on interesting tangents. How did we go from JihahJane to Andy Warhol in reaction to Friday's post? Not sure that I understand that one but then I am not familiar with Lou Reed's song "Sweet Jane," surely a terrible gap in my education.

So I start the week with the question: Who is Obama? That should get the conversation going pretty well on other topics.

Who (or what) is Obama? I thought David Brooks - yes, yes, I know, he's the conservative that liberals like - made a pretty good stab at answering the question in his op-ed piece that ran this morning in the PG.

I have one objection to his column and it comes right off the bat. He wrote: "If you ask a conservative Republican, you are likely to hear that Mr. Obama is a skilled politician who campaigned as a centrist but is governing as a big-government liberal. ..."

No, a conservative Republican wouldn't say that. Sadly, because the Republican Party has become an extremist party, and far-right views are now the norm, a conservative Republican would more likely say that Obama is a socialist or a Marxist.

Of course, a sane and sensible person looking at the evidence would know better. David Brooks is such a person (which is why liberals like him). Here is what he said:

"The fact is, Mr. Obama is as he always has been, a center-left pragmatic reformer. Every time he tries to articulate a grand philosophy - from his book "The Audacity of Hope" to his joint-session health care speech last September - he always describes a moderately activist government restrained by a sense of trade-offs. He always uses the same on-the-one-hand-on-the-other sentence structure. Government should address problems without interfering with the dynamism of the market."

Next time you hear someone call Obama a socialist/Marxist, you might ask that person how Obama does this while talking up the dynamism of the market, something for which he generally gets no credit. Or, on second thoughts, you could ask him if he likes Andy Warhol.

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