Isn’t it remarkable, at this late date… after more than a year of candidacy, and four years in the public eye… after a primary that attracted more attention than any in our lifetime… after the eruption of issues of unprecedented urgency, scale and consequence, which are assaulting us every day – or hour… isn’t it remarkable that there continues to be no substantive case for Barack Obama’s prospective presidency?Where Obama falls down, where he has always fallen down, is on "that vision thing", a clear statement of what it is he intends to do once he gets into office. He is very deeply into getting himself elected and into creating structures to cement his hold on power, but there just isn't any political vision or passion driving him. His advisors all have their own agendas, to be sure, but I still have yet to hear of a purpose or cause that dirves this guy beyond promoting himself.
Isn’t it remarkable that Obama’s supporters, after all this time, cannot come up with a serious argument for why he should be president, other than (a) the other guy’s awful and scary and (b) we have to throw the Republicans out (or, at best, he’ll hire better advisors)? ...
Press them for a single respect in which he has shown actual substantive and innovative thinking and leadership… or for a coherent policy frame that makes sense of his FISA vote, his D.C. gun control statement, his position on the death penalty, his Harry and Louse ads and on and on… and they resort to one of the responses above. It’s all horserace, all GOP-directed schadenfreude, all Palin snark, all ohmygod apocalysm about a possible McCain win, all the time.
Don’t get me wrong. Obama is going to win. The American people are going to throw these Repubums out. We are going to recreate the political conditions of 1932… whether or not we have an FDR to fill that role.
But wouldn’t you think that, given the foregone conclusion we face... and given the pressing urgency of making the right decisions about economic policy -- with material consequences for all our lives, including those of these interlocutors – wouldn’t you think that other conversations would be happening? Is it just too scary these days to think? Are we down to nothing but repeating “hope” and “change”?
The problem is that the times both call for and reward a bold, decisive leader. I'll be honest and say that even Hillary doesn't measure up to what my perfect Dem president would be, but I'm also not sure that creature exists. We haven't had a leader like that since LBJ, and he was far from perfect, but he had the key combination of faith in (dirty, flawed, partisan, wheeling & dealing) government and a willingness to do what was necessary, the nattering nabobs of negativity be damned.
In Obama, I see someone willing to bargain away all benefits to the ordinary citizen in order to maintain his approval with The Village.