Archive Civic Polity Nota Bene Steven Wedgeworth

The Nature of the Obama Administration

While we don’t typically like to weigh in with explicitly partisan commentary, since doing so too often distracts from the more important issue of philosophical and theological principles, this description of the Obama administration from Ross Douthat seemed fairly accurate and helpful for future dialog:

Obama has governed as a business-friendly social democrat and an aggressive social liberal, as a hawkish interventionist when intervention seems cheap and easy (drones, missiles, etc.) and a cautious realist when it doesn’t, and as a surprisingly vigorous defender of presidential prerogatives across a variety of fronts. A few weeks ago, I characterized Obama-era liberalism as featuring “an imperial presidency, a corporatist economic policy, and then a libertarian turn on almost every social issue,” and while that line misses various nuances and complexities, as one-sentence summaries go I think it’s pretty good.

One of the reasons that I find it helpful is that it demystifies the conversation. Neither absolute evil nor righteous prophet, Obama is a certain kind of American politician, one that fits neatly between center-left and left within the established spectrum. It isn’t my own brand, and I do think deep critiques can be made, but descriptions like these are helpful in guarding against some of the more typical generalizations and dismissals.

By Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the Rector of Christ Church Anglican in South Bend, Indiana. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a founding member of the Davenant Institute.