The Pragmatism of Dirty Air

The New York Times has a story today (9/7/11) by Jeff Zeleny about how both sides are branding Obama:

The White House is in the midst of rebranding the president as a pragmatic problem solver prepared to set aside ideology to address a compelling need (see last week’s concession on ozone regulations), a reasonable man in an era dominated by extreme views.

I’m not sure that qualifies as “rebranding”–I think that’s been the Obama “brand” all along.

More worrisome is the notion of “pragmatism” here. It’s not clear whether the White House offered the ozone rule as evidence of Obama’s pragmatism, or if this is the Times‘ view. Either way, it doesn’t really make sense–unless you believe that there’s a “compelling need” for dirtier air, or that wanting fewer deaths from air pollution is an “extreme view.” Or, come to think of it, you define cleaner air as a “problem” that is “solved” by loosening pollution rules.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.