Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Douthat on Obama

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat comments on inaccurate criticism of the President in the New York Times.

Q: Name three conservative criticisms of President Obama that you think are unfair.

1) The claim that he’s a Marxist radical, or some variation on that theme. If there’s anything that should be clear after six years of this presidency, it’s just Obama is mostly just an extremely conventional liberal, whose left-wing instincts are well-carapaced by establishmentarian caution, and whose faults and virtues alike owe much more to the modern meritocracy than to the influence of Marxism.

2) The claim that he’s singlehandedly responsible for the weakening of America’s position in the world. Obama has made his share of mistakes, especially lately, but too much conservative commentary on “America’s retreat,” and the like, is written as though the great squander of the Bush era doesn’t still cast a shadow over our foreign policy. It does.

3) The occasional conservative displeasure with how the president has spoken about race, whether after the Henry Louis Gates incident, the Trayvon Martin shooting, or other cases. Without necessarily agreeing with everything President Obama has said on the subject (I don’t think his famous Jeremiah Wright speech has aged all that well, for instance), I think he’s mostly handled the subject with more grace and restraint that conservatives sometimes give him credit for, and been relatively successful in balancing the burdens of his historical position with the obligations of the office.

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