June 29, 2008


Principles give way to politics as Obama courts mid-America (Michael Crowley, 6/29/08, The Observer)

During the Democratic primary season, all those eons ago, Barack Obama deployed no more powerful line against Hillary Clinton than his insistence that 'we can't just tell people what they want to hear. We need to tell them what they need to hear'. More than just a catchy couplet, the phrase was a deadly arrow into the heart of Clintonism.

Few things crippled Hillary's campaign like the belief that she would say or do anything to get elected, from supporting the Iraq War to claiming she'd dodged sniper fire at Tuzla. In Obama, Democrats seemed to have found something refreshing: a brave truth-teller unmoored to pollsters such as Mark Penn, someone who had spoken out against Iraq the war and could at last restore integrity and honesty to Washington politics.

But since Obama dispatched Clinton, he has seemed rather more attuned to what the people want to hear or perhaps he has simply traded the wants of a liberal audience for those of a more moderate one.

...that, in America, populist means conservative, the rest of the political calculus is pretty straightforward.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 29, 2008 6:13 PM
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