That week, Obama was still working on an Inaugural Address that would call for “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”Obama sprang coatless from his limousine and headed up the steps of Will’s yellow clapboard house.
They were Reaganites all, yet some had paid tribute to Obama during the campaign.
In an essay published in , Andrew Sullivan, a self-proclaimed conservative, reflected on Obama’s heady appeal: “Unlike any of the other candidates, he could take America—finally—past the debilitating, self-perpetuating family quarrel of the Baby Boom generation that has long engulfed all of us.” internally homogeneous and ideologically distant.
In “The Audacity of Hope,” Obama wrote longingly about American politics in the mid-twentieth century, when both parties had liberal and conservative wings that allowed centrist coalitions to form. Poole and Howard Rosenthal, who have devised a widely used system to measure the ideology of members of Congress, when Obama took office there was no ideological overlap between the two parties.
“Depending on your tastes, our condition is the natural result of radical conservatism or perverse liberalism,” he wrote.
“Tom De Lay or Nancy Pelosi, big oil or greedy trial lawyers, religious zealots or gay activists, Fox News or the New York .” He repeated the theme later, while describing the fights between Bill Clinton and the Newt Gingrich-led House, in the nineteen-nineties: “In the back-and-forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 20, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation—a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago—played out on the national stage.” Washington, as he saw it, was self-defeatingly partisan.
Lowry, who is the editor of the , called Obama “the only presidential candidate from either party about whom there is a palpable excitement.” Krauthammer, an intellectual and ornery voice on Fox News and in the pages of the Washington , had written that Obama would be “a president with the political intelligence of a Bill Clinton harnessed to the steely self-discipline of a Vladimir Putin,” who would “bestride the political stage as largely as did Reagan.” And Kristol, the editor of the and a former aide to Dan Quayle, wrote, “I look forward to Obama’s inauguration with a surprising degree of hope and good cheer.”Over dinner, Obama searched for points of common ground.
He noted that he and Kudlow agreed on a business-investment tax cut.
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