February 11th, 2009
08:30 AM ET
5 years ago

Borger: Obama's presidency a balancing act

President Obama has chosen pragmatism over ideology as he has navigated the stimulus debate.
President Obama has chosen pragmatism over ideology as he has navigated the stimulus debate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It is not unusual for a presidential candidate to try to win friends and influence voters. That's what elections are about, so we tend to excuse political posturing when we see it - because we have come to expect a certain amount of it. Besides, we like people who pay attention to us.

But once a president becomes president, we expect other things. We expect him to keep his promises (particularly if we liked them). We expect action and decision. And, most of all, we expect to come to learn who he is, and where he really stands - by virtue of what he decides.

And what we've been watching over the last few weeks is just that: the very public development of a new president who is more pragmatic than ideological by nature, testing his instincts against the divided realities of Washington.

It's been a balancing act - in which we've seen President Obama as both cheerleader and Chicken Little, as a partisan Democrat and a bipartisan negotiator and, finally, as both an insider leading a well-worn Washington-dominated Cabinet and an outsider railing against Washington's business as usual.

In many ways, the deck has been stacked against the president's instincts: Washington hasn't been hospitable to bipartisanship for decades.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Latte Sipping Leftie

    He's a man of the people and for the people. Did you see how enthusiastic the people in Ft. Myers were to see him yesterday? The President has the people in his corner. As long as he has that, there is no balancing act he needs to put on.

    February 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. beevee

    There are some on either side of the aisle who are pigheaded, obstinate and do not want to reason. They themselves (especially the GOP) have nothing concrete to offer except play as obstructionists. I really feel like putitng some grey matter into their empty heads. The nations's economy is in dire straits and they want to play politics. What kind of idiots are they? Give the president a chance and show, for once, that we are united in times of need.

    February 11, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Kathy

    Balancing act???? I think it's all one sided!!! He will get whatever he wants just to prove a point!!! We have our first African American President. That's what it's all about. The thing is... He's not making the rules, he's letting the dems. run this country... right into the ground.

    February 11, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. ray

    i hope and pray everyday all republicans burn in hell soon, let it be done by the lord. these people are obstructionist and will do anything to advance there agenda. they are making threat already, so i hope they all vanish and burn in hell soon.

    February 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. lisa

    Borger is very astute in her comments. I would add that not only has Obama been pragmatic, he is relentless in action for middle-class americans. He is working hard and has definitely taken his recovery program to the streets...main street tour 2009 is vital! I think he is going to have to get more and more average americans time on television to help our country...we are going to BUILD 21st American healthcare, education, infrastructure and green economy.

    February 11, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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