(The Times has its own long-standing pattern: Ignoring the political landscape and claiming a clearly liberal president to be a "pragmatist .")
He delivered a mix of realism and idealism, implicitly criticizing both the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as inadequately appreciating the dangers of the world, and President George W. Bush as too quick to set aside fundamental American values in pursuit of security. And he embraced the concept of American exceptionalism, the idea that the United States has a special role as a defender of liberty, even as he promoted multilateralism.So the Obama administration is running up big deficits and pushing government-controlled health care in the name of a centrist kind of "pragmatism"?
In that way, he continued a pattern evident throughout his public career of favoring pragmatism over absolutes.