10 Stories

Whine All You Want: Obama Gets It Done

He's no Michael Moore—he's a pragmatist, and he keeps scoring

(Newser) - Frank Rich and Paul Krugman can rail all they want, fueled by their disappointment that President Obama is no “Michael Moore in chief.” These “brilliant men" are “profoundly resistant to the core rationale of the Obama presidency"—a strategy that’s working well as Obama... More »

Obama's No 'Ruthless Pragmatist'

The president's an ideologue and that's no bad thing

(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... More »

Supreme Wish List: Pragmatist, Easy to Confirm, 'Home Run'

As Obama vetting begins, 4 women lead

(Newser) - President Obama's choice to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court will be a pragmatist unafraid to challenge conventional wisdom, insiders tell the Washington Post. While Obama will not play it safe, they say, neither does he want a provocative choice that will create another partisan confirmation battle. "He's... More »

After Big Promises, Has Obama Gone Soft?

Prez seems quite willing to compromise—"even capitulate"

(Newser) - During the campaign, President Obama promised sweeping changes and a new way of doing things in Washington—but in the Oval Office, he’s been noticeably willing to compromise, write David Herszenhorn and Jackie Calmes in the New York Times. While he’s not dropping his chief concerns, “The... More »

Bush's Failures Show the Need for Pragmatic Prez

Like Hoover, Dubya stuck to his principles rather than compromise

(Newser) - What exactly made George W. Bush such a terrible president? His unwavering commitment to his principles, Alan Brinkley argues in the New Republic. Most Americans favor idealists over realists, in theory, so the criticism might seem strange. But the presidents we remember for their lofty goals and convictions—such as... More »

With Obama, Introspection Makes a Comeback

President-elect is pragmatic, but his thinking is mysterious

(Newser) - Looking at President Bush gets John Dickerson wondering, in Slate, if anything complex is going on behind the simple facade (Answer: Probably not). President-elect Obama prompts a different question: “How much of his true thinking is he actually sharing with us?” Obama, unlike Bush, is deeply self-reflective, and seems... More »

Obama Cabinet Picks: Seasoned and Centrist

Obama goes for pragmatism over ideology: NY Times

(Newser) - Barack Obama swept into office on a wave of left-wing support, but his appointments thus far point to a centrist governing style, writes David E. Sanger in the New York Times. In choosing Hillary Clinton for secretary of state and Timothy Geithner for Treasury, Obama seems ready to “govern... More »

The Tug of War Over John McCain's Soul

Neocons, pragmatists battle for influence with Republican candidate

(Newser) - Republican “pragmatists” are growing uneasy seeing John McCain consorting with prominent neoconservatives, the New York Times reports. They fear McCain’s foreign policy isn’t as crystallized as it seems, and could be influenced by neocon advisers like John Bolton. “It might be too strong to say a... More »

The Executive vs. The Visionary

Democratic race offers a competing views of the presidency

(Newser) - The choice between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama boils down to two fundamentally different views of the presidency, writes the New Yorker's George Packer—the political pragmatism of Clinton or the inspiration of Obama. Clinton embraces nuts-and-bolts governance and scoffs at political naivety. Obama has a far more visionary view,... More »

Philosopher Richard Rorty Dies at 75

Influential thinker blasted the existence of truth, espoused patriotism

(Newser) - Richard Rorty, a celebrated intellectual whose ponderous body of work spanned the gamuts of philosophy, politics, and literary theory, died of pancreatic cancer Friday, at 75. Rorty was known both as a resplendent thinker and as on old lion of the left. “At 12, I knew that the point... More »

10 Stories