Barack Obama is not your typical Democratic politician. He is not your typical politician, for that matter. In so many ways, some subtle, some resounding, he is unique. But what is perhaps the most important attribute of his politics is that his thinking is not rooted in relentless commitment to an ideological agenda. He is a centrist; he is a pragmatist; and, where he arrives at progressive policy solutions, he does so because he has reasoned through the value of those solutions.
In many ways, this has made him an ally to the progressive movement throughout his career, but it does not mean he will always follow the instructions of the progressive movement. He is a thinker, and that means he understands and benefits from a genuine comprehension of intellectual contributions to our deeper understanding of the world; that does not mean he is beholden to any particular intelligentsia. He believes public service is about thinking through real, human solutions to human problems.