On Hot-Button Issues, Obama Keeps Cool

Takes steps thought to be sudden death for pols—and scores
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2009 10:56 AM CDT
President Barack Obama arrives in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama has been “dancing on cultural third rails with seeming impunity,” reports Jonathan Martin of Politico. He’s gone to France and called America “arrogant,” liberalized relations with Cuba, and eased up on medical marijuana—all moves that Bill Clinton wouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot pole. But the liberal hot buttons seem to have cooled, and Obama’s young coalition is indifferent at worst.

“The fact is, the world has changed. Whether it was Clinton, Gore, or Kerry, they were all spooked by ghosts” of the Cold War and the culture wars, said one election expert. “For Obama, that’s just stuff in history books.” It also helps that the GOP has no compelling spokesman. “It’s like playing against a football team that is tired and hurt,” says one Republican strategist.