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The Purpose Of Obama's Pragmatism

Rich Lowry gets it:

Scariest Passage?   [Rich Lowry]

Probably this:

As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President's Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets. Not because I believe in bigger government - I don't.

He’s trying to redefine extensive government activism as simple pragmatism, and if he succeeds, might well shift the center of American politics for a generation.

I wouldn't put it in quite such negative terms, but yes, this is the basic dynamic Obama is trying to pull off. Americans tend to oppose government in the abstract but favor it in the particular. Obama's goal is to get them past the broad generalities and consider each case  -- health care, education, etc. -- on the specific merits. If he can pull that off, he wins.

Update: Greg Sargent has more thoughts on this.

--Jonathan Chait