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Monday, November 24, 2008
Is Obama A Centrist Liberal?

It's time to acknowledge that Obama's appointments thus far are quite reassuring. One of the reasons why I opposed Obama during the general election campaign was that he was the blank slate, the tabla rasa on which people were writing their own hopes and dreams. My concern was that we didn't know what we were buying. That was why Ayers and Wright were so troubling.

But Obama's nomination of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff was a very good sign. Emanuel is one of the most despised Democrats by the netroots, right up there with Joe Lieberman. The nomination of Hillary Clinton (not yet official at this point) to State again indicates more a centrist position than a liberal posture. Ditto with Gates, if he is asked to stay on at Defense.

Indeed, the netroots are grumbling that they are not getting anything out of this administration for "progressives". Dennis Kucinich's Department of Peace seems to be going nowhere.

It's not the same as getting a centrist Republican. But it's about as good news as we could get coming out of the election.

Update: More discussion here.

"The list [of disappointments] is getting awfully long," wrote the blogger bmaz at Firedoglake. "Almost as long as Barack Obama's arm that he used to take our money and efforts to get himself elected. All we have seen is the short arm he has used to punch us in the face and collect street cred with villagers for having done so." Open Left's Chris Bowers wrote on Friday that he felt "incredibly frustrated ... [W]hy isn't there a single member of Obama's cabinet who will be advising him from the left?" Even Pat Buchanan -- not exactly the world's most liberal guy -- apparently thinks Obama needs to throw a bone to progressives after the start the transition is off to.
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