Roger Simon's recent article on Politico, entitled "Obama Not Running as Movement", takes a pointed swipe at many of us here in the liberal base of the Democratic Party. Those of us who have bristled at Obama's recent jog to the center would do well to remember that whether we like it or not, this country is still center-right in political orientation.
Double standards do exist, particularly in the realm of religious expression, morality, and foreign policy. The Republican party can be excused far more easily than the Democratic party when it comes to perceived inconsistencies on this issues. So a certain degree of political compromise is necessary to win in November.
Obama himself has said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "A lot of people would like me to be Paul Wellstone. But I'm not Paul Wellstone. I don't agree with everything Paul Wellstone said."
As much as we might hope to get everything we want on our candidate wish list, the reality is that in order to secure election, there's a certain amount of this kind of posturing to the center any Presidential candidate must do in order to win election. What's satisfied me in this election cycle is that Obama and his advisers are not playing it safe and are actually taking the fight to the GOP instead of conceding all but the safest political turf and playing prevent defense. As I have said before many times, nothing is more uninspiring than another weak-kneed, spineless Democratic candidate for President.
What Simon alludes to in this article, more accurately, is the failings of an explicitly populist message. Such passionate appeals, while they often sound compelling, end up appealing to a very small number of voters. While negative messages do resound more resolutely with the electorate, too much of them quickly grow old among voters. In 2004, Dean's failings were many. Namely, he came across as too strident, too tactless, too emotional rather than rational, and it ended up costing him dearly.
If he is to make 2008 a realigning election, if he is to redraw the electoral map, if he is to establish new coalitions, if he intends to explode the conventional wisdom, then I applaud his efforts. One only hopes that, if elected, he will be as bold in setting policy as he is in political maneuvering.