They got him right, even as he duped the Obamacons, played the press and fooled his sympathizers. David Brooks, the brilliant and winsome New York Times columnist, has been promising the arrival of the true, pragmatic Obama for years now. In his column praising the second inaugural address, he appeared finally to give up. “Now he is liberated,” Brooks wrote. “Now he has picked a team and put his liberalism on full display.”
Paul Krugman, also of The New York Times, wrote blog posts over the past few years titled “Obama the Moderate” and “Obama the Moderate Conservative.” For Krugman, Obama could never have proved himself a liberal short of an order to liquidate the kulaks. Even he, though, wrote of the second inaugural: “Obama has never been this clear before about what he stands for.”
After years of portraying Obama as cautiously picking through warmed-over Republican ideas, an Eisenhower Republican miscast by his opponents as a liberal ideologue, Obama’s allies exulted in his open embrace of liberal ideology.
The media, as a general matter, loved the speech.