Everyone has an ideology, whether they know it or not. But when your ideology has you – that’s when you’re an ideologue. It’s not a matter of “extremism” but of rigidity and blindness – detachment from reality. Which is why Barack Obama is one of the most ideological presidents we’ve ever had. And being imprisoned in his “pragmatist” ideology is key to his numerous pragmatic train wrecks, as well his less-noted failures to even take on several really big, really significant problems.
It’s not a matter of intelligence. Barack Obama is clearly one of the smartest men to ever occupy the Oval Office. President of the Harvard Law Review, four years from state senator to President of the United States. First black president. These are not the accomplishments of a stupid, or even just a reasonably competent man.
Unfortunately, however, smart people can often be quite dumb – not just do dumb things, but do them over and over and over again. And while Obama’s rapid rise to power was a tale that highlighted his intelligence, his time in office – now at its half-way point – has been a tale that highlights the limits of that intelligence. Those limits are deeply implicated in his ideology – a fanatical belief in compromise, no matter what – that has served him admirably on a personal level in his rapid climb to power, but that fundamentally cripples him in the exercise of that power once it is in his hands.
Go read, let me know what you think.