Earlier in this long long primary season, a lot of Obama supporters pointed to conservative columnists like George Will, David Brooks, etc to prove that he had what it took to “unite the country” Of course Clinton supporters like myself laughed at their naiveness and pointed out that the only reason they were supporting Obama was because they hated and feared the Clintons. They’ll turn on Obama if he win’s the nomination we said.
And now with Obama as the frontrunner its already started to happen. David “I Love Obama” Brooks has turned into David “Barack Obama is a fake” Brooks like we all knew he would.
How is a 47-year-old novice going to unify highly polarized 70-something committee chairs? What will happen if the nation’s 261,000 lobbyists don’t see the light, even after the laying on of hands? Does The Changemaker have the guts to take on the special interests in his own party — the trial lawyers, the teachers’ unions, the AARP?
The Gang of 14 created bipartisan unity on judges, but Obama sat it out. Kennedy and McCain created a bipartisan deal on immigration. Obama opted out of the parts that displeased the unions. Sixty-eight senators supported a bipartisan deal on FISA. Obama voted no. And if he were president now, how would the High Deacon of Unity heal the breach that split the House last week?
The victims of O.C.S. (Obama Comedown Syndrome) struggle against Obama-myopia, or the inability to see beyond Election Day. But here’s the fascinating thing: They still like him. They know that most of his hope-mongering is vaporous. They know that he knows it’s vaporous.
This one has got to hurt:
Barack Obama vowed to abide by the public finance campaign-spending rules in the general election if his opponent did. But now he’s waffling on his promise. Why does he need to check with his campaign staff members when deciding whether to keep his word?
Obama says he is practicing a new kind of politics, but why has his PAC sloshed $698,000 to the campaigns of the superdelegates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics? Is giving Robert Byrd’s campaign $10,000 the kind of change we can believe in?
If he values independent thinking, why is his the most predictable liberal vote in the Senate? A People for the American Way computer program would cast the same votes for cheaper.
But of course it’s not just Brooks. The “great centrist” columnist David Ignatius goes after Obama on his lack of substance
But these are symbolic qualities. What Obama would actually do as president remains a mystery in too many areas. Before he completes what increasingly looks like a march to the Democratic nomination, Obama needs to clarify more clearly what lies behind the beguiling banner marked “change.”
Let’s start with Obama’s economic policies. Like all the major candidates, he has a Web site brimming with plans and proposals. But it has been hard to tell how these different strands come together. Is Obama a “New Democrat,” in the tradition of Bill Clinton, who would look skeptically at traditional welfare programs? Is he a neopopulist, in the style of his former rival John Edwards, who would make job protection and tax equity his top domestic priorities? Or is he a technocrat, whose economic answers wouldn’t be all that different from those of Hillary Clinton?
I’m still puzzled about where to locate Obama on this policy map. Until the past few weeks, I would have put him somewhere between “New Democrat” and “technocrat.” But as he reaches for votes in big industrial states, Obama has been sounding more like Edwards. He proposed a middle-class tax cut a few months ago that would provide a credit of up to $1,000 per family. That’s a big policy change that deserves real debate.