Blog

When you hurl that label at my feet

Hendrik Hertzberg on Obama’s second term:

This address was in every way superior to the one he had delivered from the same spot four years earlier. That one, coming amid a terrifying financial crisis that the speaker described in surprisingly mild terms (“our economy is badly weakened”), had been a surprisingly pedestrian call for unity, for abandoning “stale political arguments” and “worn-out dogmas.” This one was a political argument—a political argument that advocated, if not a dogma (outside of the Vatican, nobody likes dogmas), a political creed.

For all that’s said about the ‘real’ Obama, he hasn’t changed much from the cool-headed pragmatic centrist of his books. Still, there is a noticeable shift in the tenor of his administration since the election, maybe even something of a spring in his step. I wonder what kind of politics we’d see in Australia if our prime ministers knew they never had to face the voters again.