By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A liberal president

In my latest for the Guardian, I round up the morning commentary on President Obama’s speech to Congress. The consensus view: we have our first liberal president since Lyndon Johnson.


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  1. BrianCUA

    And the Times is not alone in its favourable reaction.Do you write with the British spelling, or does their editor change it for you?

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Brian: Generally the editors Britishize my spellings. (Or should I say Britishise?) In this case, I did it for them. But yes, the Guardian policy is to change everything to British style.

  3. Aaron Read

    British spelling: The Original and Still the Best! :-)Seriously, though…this is what passes for “liberal” these days? Feels like we’re suffering from being dragged so far to the right that we can’t see when we’re still just at the middle. Obama still strikes me as a “left-leaning” centrist at best.Kucinich and Nader might be a little off their rockers, but you can’t deny they are true-blue “liberals”, and they are FAR to the left of Obama.BTW, I’m not implying that ANY of what I’m describing is “good” or “bad”. It’s merely my observations.

  4. Aaron Read

    BTW, did you catch Jason Jones on The Daily Show last night with a brilliant piece about when a galvanizing leader captures the public’s imagination, he’s either Hitler or the Antichrist.(before you get a wrong idea, remember this is The Daily Show we’re talking about)

  5. cavard

    If Bobby Jindhal and Sarah Palin are the future of the Republican Party, expect another 4 to 8 years of Democratic Party success. I can’t believe who they’re putting out there to combat Obama. Jindham sounded like he and Chuck Todd took the same Econ 101 class.

  6. Bill Baar

    I’d argue Obama comes more from the Henry Wallace tradition of the Democratic Party and they’ve never really had a shot at it.Liberalisms never really recoverd from LBJ.It may well be Obama is the first Liberal since him, and he may well drive the final nail into Liberalisms coffin.Nick Cohen wrote in “What’s Left?” that Clintonism may be as about as left as things are going to get and comparing the stimulus package to things like DemoGrants advocated by McGovern, I’d say that’s about right.The left is no longer about a guranteed income to wokers but instead about stimulus to consitutent industries and bank bondholders…….it’a aint the same left as before.

  7. lkcape

    Remember when Hillary noted that Obama’s credentials consisted of only a speech at a national convention? Look where he is now. Jindal may just have a similar trajectory. The liberal left has entered the minefield, and they own it now. We’ll see if they can survive.

  8. Nial Liszt

    Who dresses Jindal? A governor should know that he needs to button his jacket so that his five-inch, barber pole tie doesn’t precede him into the room (by about thirty-five years).

  9. lkcape

    Didn’t Martin Luther King have something to say about judging someone on his looks? Or does this part of the Liberal Left forget that part?

  10. mike_b1

    Nial, lightening things up for a change. I like it.Bill (and others): Writing for the New Republic in December 1988, William Schneider wrote the definitive essay on the liberal president: “Tough Liberals Win, Weak Liberals Lose.” I think its premature to declare liberal president over one month into Obama’s tenure. If you believe in buy low, sell high, things almost can’t help but improve on Obama’s watch, and he stands to reap the benefits.But what I saw last night was a man who firmly understands how to work the angles in a debate. He reprimanded the GOP wingnuts even while painting a picture of an inclusive America George Bush often referenced while campaigning but never really believed in, let alone wanted.And the fact that Biden was prominently posted behind him, not in some undisclosed location (hunting wabbits) as President Dick Cheney so often was, makes it clear who is in charge.

  11. mike_b1

    lkcape, right. Because no one ever commented on what Hillary Clinton was wearing, or her hairstyle, or anything else related to her appearance, for that matter.

  12. Nial Liszt

    lkcape– Believe me, I am not “Liberal Left” by any means.When you have a message to present to the nation, image and attention to detail matter a great deal.

  13. lkcape

    And it is incumbent on you to listen to the message rather than focus on the image, I would think.

  14. mike_b1

    lkcape, again, because that’s always what happens, right? Even though throughout televised American history, the taller candidate almost always wins the presidency.Image absolutely matters.

  15. lkcape

    On that basis, Sarah Palin would have beaten Hillary in a landslide. The Republicans selected the WRONG candidate.

  16. Bill Baar

    Mike, LBJ was a tough Liberal. He said the only difference between Liberals and Cannibals is Liberals eat their friends.I don’t know if Obama is going to turn out to be a tough Liberal or a mild one (I’m betting on tough because I think we’re ripe for an attack and Obama will lash out with extremity…).It was Biden who said the others would turn on him.. …it’s a tough time a’coming and the economy the least of it.

  17. mike_b1

    lkcape, I think history has already proved you wrong. Obama beat Palin. Trounced her, in fact. Traitor McCain was an after-thought.

  18. Don, American

    Liberalism is what got us into this problem in the first place. Nobody is automatically entitled to own a home. What has happened to hard work and saving for the big-ticket items? After all, the only home I ever owned was inherited, because teachers aren’t supposed to earn enough to buy a home.

  19. O'Reilly

    “Liberalism is what got us into this problem in the first place. “I’m hoping you don’t teach political science.

  20. mike_b1

    I’m hoping he doesn’t teach economics, either.

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