Congratulations this week to three journalists who have finally taken up that constant struggle: Christopher Buckley, David Gergen and David Brooks. All three used to insist that Obama was some species of centrist or moderate. Now that Obama has proposed the most massive expansion of government in the history of the republic, each has recognized that just conceivably he might have been mistaken. . .See also Todd Zywicki at the Volokh Conspiracy:
Buckley, Gergen and Brooks all attended expensive private universities, then spent their careers moving among the wealthy and powerful who inhabit the seaboard corridor running from Washington to Boston. If any of the three strolled uninvited into a cocktail party in Georgetown, Cambridge or New Haven, the hostess would emit yelps of delight. Yet all three originally got Obama wrong.
Contrast Buckley, Gergen and Brooks with, let us say, Rush Limbaugh, whose appearance at any chic cocktail party would cause the hostess to faint dead away, or with Thomas Sowell, who occupies probably the most unfashionable position in the country, that of a black conservative.
Limbaugh and Sowell both got Obama right from the very get-go. "Just what evidence do you have," Sowell replied when I asked, shortly before the election, whether he considered Obama a centrist, "that he's anything but a hard-left ideologue?"
The elite journalists, I repeat, got Obama wrong. The troglodytes got him right. As our national drama continues to unfold, bear that in mind.
I think that there were a few other factors that drove the willingness of Brooks, Buckley, Gergen, et al., to believe that Obama was a moderate, despite all evidence to the contrary. First, Obama himself seems like he should be a political moderate because his personality comes across as so calm and moderate. Most people, whether far-right or far-left tend to have more extreme personalities as well. Obama doesn't come across as a radical bomb-thrower. . . So there is a tendency to infer from Obama's calm personality that he is a moderate. Second, some of the ideas that are floating around (like new tax increases and aggressive regulation in the midst of a recession and unrestrained budget-busting spending) just seemed so implausible that I think there was a tendency to discount them as something that Obama simply wasn't serious about and that perhaps they were nothing more than political posturing. Turns out it looks like he was serious about them.(via Instapundit)