Obama's Clinton Retreads Followed Voters Leftward

Seemingly centrist appointments have not produced a centrist government, Douthat writes
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2009 6:00 PM CDT
Larry Summers, chairman of the White House National Economic Council, appears for an interview on ABC's This Week, Feb. 8, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – When Barack Obama announced his Cabinet appointments, conservatives and liberals alike looked at the numerous Clinton veterans and wondered if Obama the president would be much more centrist than Obama the candidate. Now, “Obama is proposing the most thoroughgoing transformation of domestic policy offered by any President since Reagan, and possibly since LBJ,” writes Ross Douthat for the Atlantic. What happened to the “cautious Clintonites?”

It's possible that Obama has selected Clinton veterans to run finance and foreign affairs, which allows him to focus on major domestic reforms such as in health care and “greening” the economy. But it’s also true that many center-left veterans—Larry Summers, for instance—have endorsed more progressive positions over the past 10 years. So, Douthat points out, has the general public. Is yesterday’s radicalism today’s common sense?