Has President Obama Rediscovered Audacity?


When future historians look back, Obama’s recent boldness on Iran and other issues may force a reevaluation of his presidency.

by Matt Bai

For a long period of his presidency, Barack Obama seemed resigned to sloganeering his way around hard choices, as if catchphrases begat vision and not the other way around. For a while he was “winning the future,” until that got old and I guess he had to call it a draw. There was “built to last” and a “fair shot” and something called “middle-out economics,” which came and went quickly, probably because it sounded like a plan to make Americans pear-shaped.

Obama’s historic pact with Iran, however, caps what has been a remarkably bold and focused several months. Obama no longer goes around self-consciously mouthing the latest mantra he only half buys himself; now he’s like some old guy with a bucket list, checking off boxes and basking in the consternation that trails him.

It seems to me that at this late stage, Obama has finally gotten back to what some of us thought his improbable presidency was going to be about in the first place: relegating the past to the past and forcing us to confront a more modern reality.

Of course, Obama’s 2008 campaign — based on the emptiest slogan of them all, “hope and change” — meant lots of different things to lots of different people. Some people voted for Obama because they thought him less partisan, others because they thought him more unabashedly liberal and antiwar. Obama was, more than anything else, an inspirational story, and where you found the inspiration was totally up to you.

For a lot of younger Americans, though, Obama’s core appeal was generational. Going back to his brief time in the Senate, which is when I first met him, Obama seemed to convey an absurdist’s appreciation of Washington — the way older politicians went on having the same old debates year after year, even as the world around them transformed itself, technologically and socially, into something almost unrecognizable.

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SOURCE: Yahoo! Politics

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