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Obama and the wary left

Despite policy pullbacks and some appointments, most liberals are happy.

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It was entirely predictable: Barack Obama would disappoint the liberal base of his party. At his moment of victory on Nov. 4, expectations for the president-elect were sky-high. He had campaigned, after all, on an open-ended promise of change and some clear, sharp turns on policy, such as a pullout from Iraq and tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.

Now, the promise of immediate action on Iraq is softening, and the tax hikes might wait. He’s also pulled back from his pledge to impose a windfall profits tax on oil companies. Some of his appointments have sparked chagrin in the liberal blogosphere. He kept President Bush’s Defense secretary, Robert Gates, and has nominated Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a onetime supporter of the Iraq war, to be his secretary of State.

Alumni from the centrist administration of Bill Clinton figure prominently in Mr. Obama’s Cabinet and White House staff, including economic adviser Larry Summers and his intended Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner. Both were part of the team during the Clinton years that resisted regulation of financial instruments that proved destructive to Wall Street.

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