Obama the Pragmatist, Tea Party on 'Far Right'

Jackie Calmes says Obama "supporters" calls him a "pragmatist" - but so does the New York Times. She also puts the Tea Party movement on the "far right."

Reporter Jackie Calmes claimed in Tuesday's Obama-pitying "For Obama, A Nonstop Juggling Act" that his "supporters" call him a pragmatist. So does that make Times reporters Obama supporters as well? And is the Tea Party really "far right"?

By his own reckoning, Mr. Obama has always been hard to peg ideologically. His Republican opponents charge that he is masking a left-wing agenda in centrist-sounding words.

His supporters, including those who work for him, say he is a pragmatist whose instincts are genuinely centrist, both as a matter of politics and style.

The Times also constantly sells its readers on the idea that the big-spending, socially liberal Obama is some kind of moderate "pragmatist."

Calmes continued the questionable labeling:

And just as Mr. Obama has ratcheted up his own populist attacks against corporate self-interest and Wall Street's return to business as usual, so did Roosevelt become more vocally populist as re-election neared and he faced demagogic opposition. That included the likes of Senator Huey Long of Louisiana, the radio broadcaster Father Charles Coughlin and a domestic Communist Party making inroads on the left, much like the Tea Party movement today on the far right.

Jonah Goldberg, author of "Liberal Fascism," will appreciate a journalist accurately placing Coughlin on the left. But is the Tea Party really deserve the unflattering "far right" imprimatur? The Times rarely if ever uses the term "far left" to describe a slice of the American electorate.

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