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The Ultimate Pragmatist -- Not Just On Education

Thekids600_2                                 Barack Obama campaigning for the Illinois State Senate in 1996, a race he easily won.

Others will read it differently, but my take is that this weekend's long NYT piece on Barack Obama's political evolution (The Long Run: Pragmatic Politics, Forged on the South Side) echoes and deepens what I was trying to say in my little article about Obama's belated support for local school councils  in 1999 (Obama's lackluster record on education). The most vivid example is this quote, among several describing Obama's cautious, pragmatic, and centrist-moving political evolution:

“He has a pattern of forming relationships with various communities and as he takes his next step up, kind of distancing himself from them and then positioning himself as the bridge,” said Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian-American author and co-founder of the online publication Electronic Intifada, who became acquainted with Mr. Obama in Chicago.  

I'm not against Obama, or against political pragmatism.  I'm just against people thinking that Obama (or any politician) is something that he's not.  He's not the ultra-liberal reform-oriented community organizer that he once was.  And he's not particularly bold or pure in his legislative efforts. 


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Cut the crap Alexander. You've been on a one-man crusade against Obama for months, with nary a critical word about Clinton or McCain. You used every sleazy tactic in the "kitchen sink" strategy playbook to intentionally distort his views on vouchers and education reform. You've even attempted to turn Catalyst into a conduit for racist and far-rightwing, anti-Obama websites and blogs, like Lone Wacko, No Quarter, and Patriots & Freedom.

Now that he's winning, you say you're not really "against Obama" and that you were only warning us naive ones that he's "not pure" and no "ultra-liberal."

Talk about being pragmatic.

ease up with the personal attacks, mike. not everyone knows and loves you as much as i do. as for your post, i'm hardly the only person raising questions about obama -- this post was a riff off a NYT article, remember. and i've been doing so for months now, so it's nothing new. why is that sleazy? you like obama, and bristle at anything that raises questions about him -- without addressing the substance very much.

"He's not the ultra-liberal reform-oriented community organizer that he once was. And he's not particularly bold or pure in his legislative efforts."

Who is these days?

And what's wrong with being pragmatic? :)

With Hillary we know what we would get: the education policy equivalent of suspending the gasoline tax. At least we know Obama has the ability to stand on principle on one tough issue when it would have been highly pragmatic not to. Hopefully that translates to education.

I think you have been right to raise the issues you have. They are legitimate questions, and the right ones to ask when it comes to education policy and Democrats.

The left, though very much anti-Clinton and leaning toward Obama, is saying much as the same thing as Russo. Note the interchange between NYC teacher Michael Fiorillo and Chicago's George Schmidt that I posted at http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2008/05/more-obama-from-fiorillo-and-schmidt.html

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