As some of you guessed, I am in San Diego. I just got done attending a few panels, and since all I had for breakfast was some yogurt and a coffee, and I have a party with finger food to attend at eight, thought I would have a late lunch ocean side. I ended up having ceviche tostada, a half-dozen raw oysters, and two mojito’s. It was, without question, excellent. I have some pictures, but for whatever reason, I can not resize them. I also took some photos of the Midway.
The panels I went to were amusing- they examined the rhetoric of the election, and especially after having just finished Bacevich’s book (review coming, I swear) and having my eyes opened to how well and truly screwed the nation is, and at a fundamental level, I snorted several times when the panelists referred to Obama as a tranformative figure and decidedly liberal. I swear to God the only people on the planet who have figured out that Obama is a rather mainstream moderate, center-left on some issues, center-right on others, but definitely not a wildly transformative character, are me and Daniel Larison. I seriously am beginning to think, reading some of the lefty blogs lately, that the only people who thought Obama was a radical liberal were the National Journal, a few talk radio hosts, and the progressive wing of the party. Obama has never once showed any inclination to up-end the establishment, he has consistently worked through the establishment. Harvard Law Review, anyone? Con. Law prof at the University of Chicago? This is not Ward Churchill we are talking about, folks.
Look at his picks for his cabinet. Thirty years ago when the country had not been near destroyed by three decades of brutal beatings from the Overton window, Obama might possibly have run as a Republican. As I had hoped, he is going to move slowly on gays in the military, so that he can build a consensus, which is good for a number of reasons. First, going about this methodically will not create an anti-gay backlash, leading to all sorts of shenanigans. It will let the folks most inclined to oppose the overturning of the rule become the actual change agents. Finally, the reversal will stand, as it was not just something the flaming liberal new President overturned just because he could, and future Republican administrations will not feel the need to change it back on the first day of their administration.
Say what you want about the way his election was run, because that truly was transformative. Elections will never be the same after the campaign Team Obama ran. But if you really think Obama is a screeching liberal, you haven’t been paying attention and are going to be really upset. They guy is a technocratic pragmatist, he is cool and calculating and calm, and he shrewdly picks his battles. Folks like Larison, and, most definitely Bacevich, worry he is entirely too establishment. I think he is the best we have, so we go with him