Obama's No 'Ruthless Pragmatist'

The president's an ideologue and that's no bad thing
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2010 6:15 AM CST
President Obama takes questions from Republican lawmakers at the GOP House Issues Conference in Baltimore, Friday, Jan. 29, 2010.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – Jonah Goldberg isn't buying President Obama's oft-repeated assertion that he's a "ruthless pragmatist." The president is an ideologue—"the most sincerely ideological president in a generation"—but his insistence that the facts are always on his side show he may be lacking the self-awareness to realize it, Goldberg writes in the Los Angeles Times.

Pragmatism shouldn't be hailed as such a virtue as compared to ideology anyway, Goldberg argues, noting that a truly ruthless pragmatist might "abandon anyone who can't afford health insurance to rot" or summarily execute enemy combatants. "Our values, customs, traditions, and principles provide the insulation against the corrosive acid of undiluted pragmatism," Goldberg writes. Those things together can be called an ideology "and there's no reason to apologize for having one."

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