THE BLOG
02/13/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Is Obama Selling Out to the Right?

Everyone should calm down. Barack Obama's dinner with George F. Will, William Kristol, David Brooks, and Charles Krauthammer doesn't mean that he's selling out to the right. Quite the contrary. It indicates that Obama is completing the job of detaching the conservative intellectual elite from the GOP itself.

Kristol, Brooks, and Krauthammer are all neoconservatives. Krauthammer was a speechwriter for vice-president Walter Mondale during the Carter administration. He moved right. Brooks has been making conciliatory noises about Obama for much of the past year, and barely qualifies as a conservative any longer. George F. Will, a traditional conservative, has been denouncing George W. Bush for years. Talking with them is a shrewd move on Obama's part. It wouldn't even be surprising if some neocons (re)defect to the Democratic party.

No, what's remains troubling isn't Obama, but the reaction of the Senate leadership to his presidency. Something has gone deeply awry when Obama has to threaten to issue a veto on Tuesday to Democrats, warning that he will not allow them to prevent him from using another $350 billion in bailout funds. It's amazing that the Democrats, who rolled over for George W. Bush for much of eight years, including passing his prohibitively costly tax cuts early in his first term, have now suddenly found the courage to oppose a president who comes from their own ranks.

Envy? Bitterness? Whatever the reason, it's a PR disaster as well as an ominous portent for future relations with the Obama administration. It would be a sad irony if some leading conservative intellectual Obamacons, disgusted with the turn that the GOP took in the past election, turned out to be more sympathetic to the president-elect than his own party.