Obama and compromise

President Barack Obama is taking heat lately from some people on the so-called political left. They haven’t liked his decision to pursue the war in Afghanistan more aggressively, and they were disappointed when, during the battle over health-care reform, he abandoned the so-called “public option” in order to reach a passable deal.

More recently, many have decried Obama’s support of construction of new nuclear-power plants and, just last week, his decision to open some offshore areas to new drilling for oil and natural gas.

To hear them tell it, he’s backtracking on his campaign promises. But that’s not the case. During the campaign, Obama was forthright about his position on all of these issues, and his posture hasn’t changed significantly since then.

The reality is, Obama is a left-leaning and idealistic—witness his recent moves on nuclear weapons and fuel-efficiency standards—but still fundamentally middle-of-the-road president with a pragmatic bent. He’s willing to compromise when necessary to get things done. And he’s also willing to challenge liberal shibboleths when he believes they’re outdated.

We certainly don’t agree with all of the president’s decisions. We’re very concerned about the war in Afghanistan, but on the whole, Obama has played the extremely bad hand he was given remarkably well and is doing his best to bring about the changes he promised, as he promised them. Those who voted for him should keep that in mind.