The Problem With Obama
Obama is scared. He hasn't had to make choices for a long time . . . We haven't yet seen what a Barack Obama would fight for in a public debate, and it's something I'd like to see. . . .
Fighting. Obama is not a fighter. That is the problem. In July 2006, I wrote:
How did FDR do it and can Democrats defend FDR liberalism today? Maybe not by calling it FDR liberalism but they surely can and do when they have the courage of their convictions. The most prominent of these instances was the fight to save Social Security Faced with Media hostility, Republican demagogy and flat out lies, Democrats rallied to the FDR liberalism banner and crushed the Republican attempts to roll back the clock. FDR would have been proud of Democrats in that fight. No triangulation. Good old fashioned political populism won the day. And that is FDR's lesson for Obama. Politics is not a battle for the middle. It is a battle for defining the terms of the political debate. It is a battle to be able to say what is the middle.
Obama refuses to fight for Democratic and progressive values. He holds them of course. But he does not fight for them. He believes in finding "common ground" and, in the process, simply does not fight. He does not work to persuade the persuadable. As a politician fighting for issues, he fails (while perhaps succeeding in burnishing his own image.) If you are committed to Obama, you can be pleased with his political style. If you are committed to Democratic and progressive values, I think you can not be satisfied. More.
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