Skip to main content

Not Karl Rove's America Any More

  • Author:
  • Updated:

By Ben Cohen

Andrew Sullivan's latest article in the Times is a brilliant attempt to sum up Obama's coming presidency, and what it might mean over the next 8 years. Sullivan can sometimes teeter towards the symbolic rather than the logic in his writing (a relic of his conservative past) but his take on Obama is extremely accurate. The analysis is overwhelmingly positive, yet sobering as Sullivan applies
his new found political realism to Obama's litany of problems. The pervasive theme though, is that of meaningful change, and a new reality where faith in government could finally be restored:

Last week he dined with a group of Republican columnists who endorsed his

opponent. The dinner was at the home of George Will, the closest America

gets to a Tory mind. He did this before he talked to any journalists who had

actually supported him. At the Pentagon, Obama has asked Bush’s appointee,

Robert Gates, to stay on. He asked Mark Dybul, Bush’s only openly gay

appointee, to remain as global Aids co-ordinator. This is not Karl Rove’s

America. In so many ways, it symbolises its undoing.

Most interesting is Sullivan's take on Israel, where he perceives a real change in an Obama administration's approach to the crisis:

On Israel, perhaps, we will see the biggest shift. Obama has so far been

preternaturally silent on the Gaza bombardment, in deference to the “one

president at a time” mantra and because he knows full well that if he were

not about to become president, the Israelis would not have launched their


Obama does not want to get into a war of words with Israel before he even
takes office, but he shows every sign of tackling the Middle East the way he
has defused America’s culture wars. He will try to prick the passion and lay
out a rational solution.