Friday, July 4, 2008

The 'new' Obama: a bad idea

From forgoing public financing, to reversing position on immunity for telcom companies that might have been involved in warrantless eavesdropping, to criticizing a Supreme Court death penalty decision that made sense, the Obama campaign recently has been enacting something of a caricature of the "move to the center" that often follows successful primary campaigns. The New York Times, hardly a beacon of wild-eyed radicalism, was moved to criticize these developments in an editorial today.

The Obama campaign is in danger of moving onto a course that risks jeopardizing the enthusiasm among supporters that is, in great part, responsible for its success to date. If I may be forgiven for mixing aerial and nautical metaphors, the campaign had better reset the tiller and fly right (not Right). And the sooner the better.

4 comments:

bro said...

Check out the article in today's NYTimes about recent disaffection with Obama on the "far left." The protagonist, who opens & closes the story, is a Bay-area artist (apparently) named Martha Shade. What really got me was the final image, or should I say sound bite: Shade admits to the reporter and to herself that she is really far out of the mainstream, "her voice fading with resignation." Talk about the workings of ideology! Can we really trust this report that resignation is what Shade's voice was fading with? Or is the NYTimes projecting its own hope that the "far left" will fade?

LFC said...

Actually she appears to be a Portland, Oregon artist... same diff, maybe.
The authors of this story seem not to have read their own newspaper's editorial page. Wouldn't be the first time that's happened, I'm sure.

boxer said...

This is not SB. I don't who this 'bro' guy is, but he clearly does not know anything about politics. An art history student, perhaps? Don't sweat the New Obama. He has to not only capture the center of a very conservative electorate, he has to be widely perceived to capture that center. He has to convince morans that he has captured the center. This almost certainly requires some public displays of ridiculouly right wing stances. It requires things like traveling back to Arkensas to executive mentially retarded convicts. By now, it's a political ritual, and our job, as principled progressives,is to bitch and moan. But what if we really had our way? Even an art history major knows that idiocies in July are better than idiots getting elected in November.

SL

LFC said...

SL,
Thanks for reminding us of one of Bill Clinton's least fine hours.

I couldn't agree with you more that idiocies in July are preferable to electoral disappointments in November. The question is whether idiocies in July are truly necessary to avert those disappointments, or whether politicians and their advisors, believing that the center of the American electorate is somewhere only slightly to the left of Attila the Hun, go through these rituals more as a result of misdiagnosis and habit than shrewd calculation. Of course this question is not going to be resolved on a blog comment thread.
(And here I originally had a long and rather solipsistic aside, which I have decided to omit on the grounds that there is probably enough of that on the internet as it is.)

Anyway, many thanks for the comment, and I'm sure 'bro' was amused. Here's hoping for a good result in November!
LFC