The interview with Obama by George Stephanopoulos wasn't nearly as contentious as the interview with the Edwardses. No Republican talking points from Stephanopoulos yesterday, like when he accused Edwards of abandoning the troops with this beauty: "Do you think the Democrats should be saddled with the idea of completely cutting off funding for the troops?" Or this one: "You know, a lot of Democrats still in the Senate think that your position here is cynical political theater." This week, George and Barack had just a nice, polite little chat. Likely because Edwards is more of a fire breather when it comes to getting out of Iraq. Obama is not. He is also not an ideologue, which is an understatement with frightening ramifications.
"I think that I have the capacity to get people to recognize themselves in each other. I think that I have the ability to make people get beyond some of the divisions that plague our society and to focus on common sense and reason and that's been in short supply over the last several years. I'm not an ideologue, never have been. Even during my younger days when I was tempted by, you know, sort of more radical or left wing politics, there was a part of me that always was a little bit conservative in that sense; that believes that you make progress by sitting down listening to people, recognizing everybody's concerns, seeing other people's points of views and then making decisions." - Barack Obama (on ABC's "This Week")
Now I think bringing people together is very important, especially after the scorched earth years of George W. Bush. But there's one alarming issue I've raised before that continues to bother me about Obama. For one, if he's our nominee we'll likely get another convention like 2004, which wasn't nearly as illustrative in the us versus them differences department as it needed to be. But considering the utter and complete collapse of not only the Republican Party but conservatism itself under George W. Bush this matters a great deal. In fact, nothing is more important than finishing off this gang, along with the myth and mystique that has strangled this country since Reagan. We'll never have a better opportunity than in '08.
Rudy is digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself while giving us sound bite after sound bite on his ever evolving views on abortion.
Slick Mitt is flip flopping on the same issue, while telling tall tales about his hunting escapades, no doubt while reading the next installment of Battlefield Earth or some other Scientology sci-fi novel, as his sons regale us all on thinking of serving in the military without actually serving.
You've got John McCain recovering a bit from his cratering collapse just in time to say he's ready to go back to Bahgdad without a military escort. D'oh!
As three of ten Republican candidates admit that they don't believe in evolution. They don't believe in evolution. Seriously, that's a Wow! moment if ever one was created.
All of this coming after an election that had more Democratic veterans running and winning elected office than ever before, as we reassert our FDR-Truman-Kennedy national security legacy. But Mr. Obama hints that he will employ his "capacity to get people to recognize themselves in each other" in his potential presidency. Fine. Groovy. Let's all join hands. But is it too much to ask that we do it while also asserting, even stressing that the Democratic Party has the policy answers that those other people should get used to? Because when we take the White House back and have a majority in both houses of Congress we're going to put into action Democratic Party principles and the policies that follow, because our principles and policies are way better than what those other guys have to offer.
Cokie Roberts and George Will were thrilled with Obama's lack of vitriol. Cool.
But not once in the Stephanopoulos let's-all-get-along interview did I get the feeling that Barack Obama wants to be president to install the beliefs of the Democratic Party, or that we even had the ideas that will take this country where we need to go after the most disastrous presidency in modern times. Or that Obama wants to take advantage of the Republican collapse to drive a stake through conservatism's very heart. Instead I got the distinct "capacity to get people to recognize themselves in each other" impression. I don't want any Democratic leader, especially a Democratic president, seeing conservatism in themselves.
Democrats are facing an opportunity that comes once in a generation (if that) because of the utter and complete collapse of the Republican Party and conservatism, which has failed utterly. Frankly, I want our nominee to finish the job. That can only happen if we elect someone who is hell bent on making sure the Democratic Party ideals are understood and held high, while contrasting them with the complete bankruptcy of the Republican Party and conservatism. Otherwise, this once in a generation Democratic ascendancy moment will come and go as just another personality politician takes charge in the White House, with American voters not really understanding the importance of the policies Democrats represent and bring to the table, because we aren't telling them. It will be a moment where the kumbaya candidate wins, with the policy principles secondary, because Candidate Kumbaya can't alienate the other guys.
In the midst of all of the Republican Rudy-SlickMitt-McCain-Neanderthal gifts that are sheer political manna from wingnut heaven, the last thing I want to see is a convention where all of the Democratic speeches that have any fire and contrast are relegated to off hours because they are considered not kumbaya enough for primetime.
Again, I'm all for getting along to get things done. However, when Democrats are in charge the Republicans need to know it. Otherwise, why get elected in the first place? With George Will actually saying that there's something Reaganesque about Obama's sunny disposition and lack of vitriol, excuse me, but can anyone argue this wouldn't be a gift to conservatives? Or maybe the torch is going to be passed to a different kind of politician ushering in a new kind of politics to America. Someone that brings consensus and kumbaya to the White House so Democrats and Republicans can join hands and finally walk side by side, with deals made so everyone is happy. If that's the case there will be one outcome. The Republican Party will get up off the mat, dust themselves off and then the conservatives will stab us in the back with a smile on their faces, and this once in a generation opportunity to finish off the wingnuts so they'll truly have to start a twenty year rebuilding process will pass us by. If Obama is president when it happens it's likely he won't know what hit him until it's too late for us all.
Tell me how a Candidate Kumbaya would be good for Democrats, because right now I'm just not seeing it at all.