My feeling is that there are too many of us on the left who believe that politics is an expression of personal purity. Because of our divorcement from electoral politics and abandonment of a belief in the possibility of radical change through participatory democracy, we have become profoundly uncomfortable with, and ignorant of, the complexities and discomfort of making change in a democracy. I’m guilty of this in some of the earlier things I wrote, too. I have no illusion of being able to change Rush Limbaugh’s mind, or of being able to make John Boehner anything other than a profoundly indecent person, but what makes something happen in an electoral democracy is compromise, negotiation, and strategizing, and to a certain extent even what in the Clinton era became fashionable to call lying. There are lies, and those should not be tolerated. But there is a degree of rhetorical finesse that’s required to maneuver through very treacherous waters. I’m willing to believe that this man who got himself elected president is actually a very skilled politician and is negotiating imponderably difficult conditions.
Tony Kushner, playwright and screenwriter, on President Obama, politics. New York Magazine