Barack Obama campaigned as a populist firebrand but governs like a cerebral consensus builder.


“One reason may be the president’s essential character, which is at odds with the persona that developed during the campaign. Perhaps because of his race and his age, much of the electorate, especially those of us who are liberals, succumbed to stereotype and assumed that he was by way of being a firebrand.

A year in, and we know that we deceived ourselves. He is methodical, thoughtful, cerebral, a believer in consensus and process. In an incremental system, Barack Obama is an incremental man. It is one reason he is taking his time ending the two wars in which we remain mired …

The president is a person of nuance. But on both ends of the political number line, nuance is seen as wishy-washy. There’s no nuance in partisan attacks, soundbites, slogans, which is why Barack Obama didn’t run with the lines “Some change you might like if you’re willing to settle” or “Yes, we can, but it will take a while.

That’s really how our government works, by inches.”


Anna Quindlen
Hope Springs Eternal


ED. NOTE: A thoughtful read. Judiciously analyzed, artfully rendered. An editorial designed to promote thought and opinion. And yes, some small measure of intelligence in the hope of sparking noteworthy cocktail chatter.




~ by eaesthete on 10/25/09.

2 Responses to “Overheard”

  1. I am so glad I stopped in- as always fascinating provocative things to ponder. I honestly see little difference in what I was sold- I think he is all these things & came across very much that way during the campaign. Yes a firebrand but a consensus builder. It isn’t going to be pretty-this process- Politics never has been.GT

    • LA,

      Thank you for sharing my fascination with this topic as well. I continue to post articles of politics, particularly insightful ones, since so much of how we perceive matters of importance is due more to the delivery system, rather than an honestly reasonable assessment of the facts. I thought this piece to be cogent and informative and, of course, if I can contribute in some small way to raising the standard of what passes for discourse in society — all the better.

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