Hoping for cynicism and change with Obama

Melanie Phillips:

On my recent travels in America, I met two types of Republicans: those possessed by the most profound, gut-wrenching fear of the supreme danger that President-elect Obama represented for their country and the world, and those who believed that he was merely a cynical opportunist who had used radical politics as a means of achieving power but who, mindful of the need not to derail his presidency and indeed to campaign for a second term, not to mention having to face up to the dual threats of economic and military armageddon, would throw all his radical associates under the bus and govern from the centre.

This later prognosis may indeed turn out to be true; as I have said before, I desperately hope that circumstances will force Obama to repudiate his past. At present we do not know whether this will happen; and so far, I have seen nothing to suggest that it will. Unlike those who see in the emerging shape of his administration evidence that he will be a pragmatic centrist, I do not think it necessarily shows anything of the kind.

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You know you have a problem when you are hoping the winning candidate was being deceitful. But Obama has left a lot of people on both sides with that hope. He is sure to disappoint many.

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