"I'm not sure people understand how pragmatic he is. He's a pragmatist. He really wants to get things done".
“The Obama strategy since his election has been based on a gimlet-eyed and pragmatic assessment of the prospects and limits afforded by public opinion and the political process.”
"This president is a mainstream, pragmatic moderate, operating in the center of American politics; center-left, perhaps, but not left of center.”
...ideas are not 'out there' waiting to be discovered, but are tolls—like forks and knives and microchips—that people devise to cope with the world in which they find themselves… And they believed that since ideas are provisional responses to particular and irreproducible circumstances, their survival depends not on their immutability but on their adaptability."
“ Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.”
“ existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and that a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted. A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world.”
"One of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organising and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that."
"ideas are not 'out there' waiting to be discovered, but are tools—like forks and knives and microchips—that people devise to cope with the world in which they find themselves… And they believed that since ideas are provisional responses to particular and irreproducible circumstances, their survival depends not on their immutability but on their adaptability. Under the Darwinian imperative of pragmatism, we must be prepared to discard our old ideas as readily as we discard our old tools.
“Political discussions, the kind that at Occidental had once seemed so intense and purposeful, came to take on the flavor of the socialist conferences that I sometimes attended at Cooper Union or the African cultural fairs that took place in Harlem or Brooklyn during the summers-a few of the many diversions that New York had to offer, like going to a foreign film or ice-skating at the Rockefeller Center.”
"the walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand … the walls between … natives and immigrants ... cannot stand. These now are the walls that we must tear down. We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity."
"It was not merely necessary that Barack Obama become the President of the United States, it was vital that he become so through popular mandate."
“There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses, now’s not that time”.
The President's worldviews were also evident in his teaching days at the University of Chicago's law school. As a law professor Obama was known as a pragmatic when it came to interpreting the Constitution. He utilized the Constitution simply as a tool to find the sweet spot on how to level-set societal needs, avoiding any high theory when it came to Constitutional interpretation. As Jodi Kantor reports in the New York Times,
"Former students and colleagues describe Mr. Obama as a minimalist (skeptical of court-led efforts at social change) and a structuralist (interested in how the law metes out power in society). And more than anythingelse, he is a pragmatist who urged those around him to be more keenly attuned to the real-life impact of decisions. This may be his distinguishing quality as a legal thinker: an unwillingness to deal in abstraction, a constant desire to know how court decisions affect people’s lives.Though Mr. Obama rarely spoke of his own views, students say they sensed his disdain for formalism, the idea —often espoused by Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas, but sometimes by liberals as well — that law can be decided independent of the political and social context in which it is applied."
- Corporate seizures: the seizure of AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GMAC, General Motors, Chrysler: a violation of the eminent domain clause of the 5th Amendment.
- Stimulus bill: she writes that on the spending limitations in the Constitution, Madison wrote: “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
- ObamaCare: there is absolutely no constitutional authority for the federal government to be taking over the health care system, forcing taxpayers to pay for the health care of others, and requiring individuals to have health care insurance – on pain of fines and incarceration. To date thirteen states have challenged ObamaCare as unconstitutional.
- ObamaCzars: President Obama now has almost three dozen of these policy analysts working in the White House. In the past, Congress has created about a dozen offices for the president with the top position held by a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee. Obama has tripled this number and none of his new czars have been confirmed by the Senate. This is beyond any constitutional executive powers; this is legislating by presidential fiat. Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution says: “He shall have power . . . and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls.” Article 2 does allow that the Congress may vest the appointment power in the president alone, by law – but Congress has not done this in regard to the cadre of new czars appointed by this president.