Policy director for the economic growth program at the New America Foundation; author of The American Way of Strategy
Rahm Emanuel is right. In many areas, ranging from his caution about escalating the war in Afghanistan to his firm approach to Israel, Barack Obama shows more affinities with the moderate Republican realist tradition of Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and the first Bush than with the Cold War liberal tradition of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson that spawned the neoconservative combination of hawkishness and crusading rhetoric. This reflects not only Obama's worldview but also the migration into the Democratic Party of many former moderate Republican voters. Their influence is seen as much in the Democratic health-care bill, which rejects New Deal-style social democracy for an approach of subsidizing private insurance that Eisenhower and Nixon pioneered, as in the Obama administration's cost-conscious, realist foreign policy.