or maybe Obama is more consistent than David Brooks is giving him credit for being. Brooks wonders if the "hubris" of Obama's 2008 campaign has given way to passivity. I think that on domestic policy, Obama is proving to both strategically consistent and tactically flexible. Given that he believes in moving American politics in a more statist, centralist and corporatist direction, his different rhetorical approaches can be explained by the different contexts in which he has had to pursue his goals. When he had Democratic supermajorities he moved to ramp up spending and pass a transformative health care law. Now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives, he is doing everything he can to drag anchor against retrenchment of government spending while at the same time adopting a pose of moderation. He is also looking for a chance to counterattack if the Republicans propose cuts to popular middle-class entitlements. He isn't going to announce a serious entitlement reform until he has been safely reelected and he won't accept one unless it is broadly on his terms.
I am not sure if Libya is a good example of a new Obama passivity. Is there any reason to expect that the US would be decisively intervening in Libya if this was Obama's first year in office?