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Monday, October 26, 2009

Turning the Tables

Talleyrand has been thinking about American politics. Much has been made of Barack Obama’s unusual ways. He is a most counterintuitive president. His party controls both houses of Congress and he won the election with a clear mandate, yet he is so cautious and conciliatory, almost to the point of perceived weakness. His supporters grow impatient, almost nagging. His opponents are perplexed. Some on both sides have begun to see him as a cunning sphinx. Yet he hardly seems irrational or devious. There is a logic to his ways, or at least there seems to be, somewhere, yet to be discovered.

We must remember that Obama's greatest gift: to be so different yet at once so appealing. Some part of him does understand the so-called Average American. Every now and then (his timing is unusually good), he knows how and where to push the right button. Talleyrand’s hunch is that he will take some hits in the mid-term elections a year from now and then, in the exactly opposite way of Clinton and most presidents, will move back to the Left and appear ever more bold—or at least his rhetoric will. It has been his trademark to buck the received political wisdom, and it has served him well. So, loyal followers take comfort. Your leader will return to you in good time.

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