column Thursday in the New York Times makes the interesting point that liberals and conservatives paint diametrically opposed views of the president, liberals seeing him as cerebral, intellectual, and too quick to compromise; while conservatives see him as ruthless, arrogant and partisan. Obviously neither viewpoint is accurate. Conservatives just want to paint the opposition leader as scarier than he actually is; while liberals are disappointed that Obama has not advanced the liberal agenda as far or as fast as many would have liked.
But more than pointing out that the most vociferous political voices seem to be unable to represent the man accurately, Brooks also gives Obama credit for some substantive achievements. On health care, Brooks believes that "Obama has pushed this program with a tenacity unmatched in modern political history." On education, Brooks asserts that "Obama has been the most determined education reformer in the modern presidency." On foreign policy and economic policy, Brooks also gives Obama a lot of credit for pursuing pragmatic solutions.
It's sad that the president makes such a big target for criticism that he is continually misrepresented by all factions of the political spectrum. But it's reassuring to see even somebody who doesn't generally agree with Obama ideologically appreciate his solid achievements thus far.