President Obama (White House photo)

In next week’s London Review of Books, David Bromwich offers up a lengthy explanation of how the young Obama’s grappling with racial identity shaped his desire for unity and consensus above all else, and how his self-perception as a transformative “man of genius” created his passive preference for words over deeds.

It’s interesting background information, but it’s beside the point.  It’s the wrong answer to the wrong question, because it’s based on the faulty premise that Obama is some kind of flawed progressive.

Obama doesn’t half-ass progressive policies for the love of bipartisanship or because thinks speeches are enough, he half-asses them because he doesn’t want them.  He’s not a hapless idealist hamstrung by hubris and decades-old personal drama, he’s a calculating corporate tool following the DLC playbook: Sell out for money, then pretend it’s a pragmatic strategy to attract independent votes and Get Things Done In Washington.

Now, if Bramwich could tell us where Obama’s moral compass went – or better yet, how to get it back – that would be useful.