Posted on May 6, 2011
By E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Barack Obama is not the man many Americans thought he was. This sudden realization has transformed American politics.
The sheer audacity of the successful operation against Osama bin Laden has forced Obama’s friends and foes alike to reassess what they make of a chief executive who defies easy categorization and reveals less about himself than politicians are typically drawn to do.
Obama is hard to understand because he is many things and not just one thing. He has now proved that he can be bold at an operational level, even as he remains cautious at a philosophical level. His proclivity to gather facts and weigh alternatives does not lead automatically, in the venerable phrase, to the paralysis of analysis. It can also end in daring action tempered by prudence—for example, making sure that additional helicopters were available to our Nav
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