Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Obama's magnetism and pragmatism

While it's not entirely clear that the recent Republican congressional wins are anything but happenstance, they have become fodder for the Republican party's belief that their party is actually more relevant than the Nov. 3 would have us believe.

I think Republicans have a point, and I think Obama just might agree with the Republicans as well.  If the baseline presumption is that outside metropolitan areas the country is generally "center-right," then it should not be surprising that the Republican brand is the baseline party for the majority of districts, and that a Democratic win is essentially an upset.

This might have more to do with the branding and counter-branding of both parties in the public sphere than where Americans actually stand on the issues, but that's a topic in and of itself.  What I find interesting is that while The Left is getting antsy with Obama's moderate, centrist cabinet, Obama is proving once again he's an American before he's a Democrat.  And, to be a leader of all Americans will actually mean earning their trust.  And earning their trust means not veering off the deep-end ideologically.

I'm observing two countervailing forces:  The first is the force of magnetism, where Obama is a magnet that attracts votes and goodwill, and anyone around him will benefit from this force.  The second is the force of pragmatism, where Obama seems himself in the context of America, and is choosing to lead us from where we are, not from where he thinks we ought to be.

These two forces are powerful by themselves, but they are potentially historic if mashed-up the right way.