If you listened to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, you got a better appreciation of Obama’s core than by reading the president’s friends and sophisticated interpreters, for whom he was either a moderate or a puzzle yet to be fully worked out.
Rush, et al., doubted that Obama could have emerged from the left-wing milieu of Hyde Park, become in short order the most liberal U.S.
senator, run to Hillary Clinton’s left in the 2008 primaries and yet have been a misunderstood centrist all along. They heeded his record and his boast in 2008 about “fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” and discounted the unifying tone of his rhetoric as transparent salesmanship.
They got him right, even as he duped the Obamacons, played the press and fooled his sympathizers. David Brooks, the brilliant and winsome New York Times columnist, has been promising the arrival of the true, pragmatic Obama for years now. In his column praising the second inaugural address, he appeared finally to give up. “Now he is liberated,” Brooks wrote. “Now he has picked a team and put his liberalism on full display.”