Barack Obama intends to use conservative values for progressive ends. He will cast extreme individualism as an infantile approach to politics that must be supplanted by a more adult sense of personal and collective responsibility. He will honor government's role in our democracy and not degrade it. . . Obama pronounced debates about the size of government as irrelevant. What matters is "whether it works." Quietly but purposefully, he [is] overturning the Reagan revolution.
Dionne believes Obama’s “communitarian vision” fits poorly with "the stale political arguments" between liberals and conservatives that Obama frequently condemns, because the outdated arguments are about “two varieties of individualism.” Now, it’s time for the collective.
Conservative commentator David Frum of the American Enterprise Institute reached a similar conclusion. After listening to Obama’s inaugural, Frum wrote that “the age of big government, re-regulation, multiculturalism, and process-oriented diplomacy has come roaring back.”
Like Dionne, Frum invoked Reagan, but as a positive example. Frum believes Obama will follow the Gipper’s style:
Reagan showed a president can hold fast to a strong ideological line while still practicing a more congenial style. . . Reagan. . .was a conciliatory radical who always followed the old Roman maxim: “Suaviter in modo, foriter in re.” Gently in the manner, strongly in the substance.
To Frum, the Reagan-Obama path is “just a more polite way of demanding the whole damn field.”
“Communitarianism,” here we come.