The Real Obama

| Tue Jan. 27, 2009 4:48 PM EST

THE REAL OBAMA....Bruce Falconer notes today that Predator attacks over Pakistani territory are continuing unabated:

Obama approved a continuation of the strikes last Friday at his first meeting of the National Security Council. That same day, a missile fired from a drone in Waziristan killed at least 20 people — powerful evidence indeed of Obama's decision.

Given the new president's quick break with many of his predecessor's policies, Obama's decision represents a rare point of continuity — and comes not without criticism. UAV attacks in the region, numbering at least 30 according to a Reuters estimate, have ignited protest from the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and provided a handy propaganda tool and recruiting engine for insurgents. Indeed, for all of the top leaders reportedly killed in air strikes over the years, Al Qaeda and the Taliban have only grown stronger.

This is yet another case of Obama doing what he said he'd do during the campaign, and it's what I meant a few days ago when I said that he seemed to be taking campaign promises unusually seriously "both for good and ill." Some progressives may not like the continued bombing campaign over Pakistan, but it's not as if we weren't warned. Likewise, on an issue like nuclear power plants, where he waffled, we should expect that he'll probably continue to take something of a mixed position.

Real life will make Obama's life much more difficult before long, when speeches and executive orders are no longer enough. Still, when all's said and done, I suspect his administration will turn out to be almost eerily foreshadowed by what he said on the campaign trail in 2008. At this point, anyone who claims not to know what Obama "really" believes just hasn't been paying attention.

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