WHERE'S OBAMA'S PASSION? HIS CENTER?
This is the kind of thing that has made me absolutely nuts this primary cycle.
Obama has been consistently good on domestic issues, but he's also been thoroughly mainstream. There's never been anything boldly innovative or risky about his domestic proposals.
But that's OK. It's not 1932 and the public isn't calling out for a complete re-ordering of the political system. What's more important than Obama's general direction, I think, is understanding what his priorities are. What's he going to fight for starting on Day 1? And I have to confess that I don't have much of a handle on that.
If, for example, Obama successfully withdraws from Iraq, passes a climate plan that looks something like his campaign proposal, and implements his healthcare plan, that would constitute a stunningly successful first term even if you think he's too much of a milquetoast in every one of these areas. But are these the three things he's most likely to fight hardest for? I don't know. He's consistently solid in almost everything, but that very consistency makes it hard to figure out what he's really passionate about. Now that the primary is over, maybe we'll start to find out.
How, I ask, can an intelligent, insightful person such as Kevin Drum used to be, justify supporting a candidate who, he admits, hasn't made it clear what he's passionate about, what he would fight for? "Consistently solid in almost everything," while not "boldly innovative"? You bet. He's solid because in almost every instance he's taken Hillary Clinton's or John Edwards' policy positions and tweaked them to make them LESS innovative, LESS risky -- and less effective. He's advanced not a single original idea or concrete plan to meet the challenges that we face. And that inspires the kind of devotion to his cause that Obama has reaped?
I just don't get it. But then, I'm one of those "old politics," "old Democratic coalition" types that actually value a candidate who can think for her/himself and offer solutions, not just recycle other people's ideas. I just spoke with a lifelong Dem friend who supports Obama, and his response to that thought was, well, that's what appeals about Obama. He may not have the original ideas, but he has the charm and postpartisan support to enact policy that a Hillary wouldn't be able to achieve because of her unlikeability.
If that's the case, where's his legislative record to prove it?