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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

2008 Elections: Barack Obama's Naivete

This is a guest post by Bri, hopefully the first in a continuing series:

There's been some talk by liberal commentators about how Barack Obama is "naive" [1] when he talks about "different kind of politics." I think that's a fundamental misunderstanding of how his campaign works.

I haven't seen any evidence that Obama thinks he can make peace with the "vast right wing conspiracy" that has gone after the Clintons for all these years. He's not seriously trying to reach hard-right Republican congressmen, wacko right-wing billionares, conservative talk show hosts, or freepers. But he is going after independent and conservative voters and he's doing pretty well. He's got people who wouldn't normally vote for a liberal in a million years thinking that he's not so bad, and maybe even rooting for him.

Or course, if Obama becomes the Democratic nominee, the people who brought us the Swift Boat Veterans are going to go after him with everything they've got. But I don't see why people like Glenn Greenwald [2] are so quick to assume it will work this time. There seems to be an assumption that because Republicans could slime Bill and Hillary and Gore and Kerry that they can slime anyone. My hunch is that a lot of people are going to be surprised when the slimers try and fail. All they've managed to come up with so far are the Muslim school rumors, and look how well that's working out for them.

So what's this "different kind of politics" all about? My suspicion is that, stripped of all the rhetoric, it comes down to having a liberal president who's also widely popular among many (not all) conservative voters. If Republican congressmen see in their polls that their constituents are strongly supportive of the new president, they're going to have to think hard about the consequences of being purely obstructive. It could result in a lot of important things actually getting done (like national health insurance).

I'm speculating, of course. But it makes me more optimistic about Obama's chances as president than about the other candidates.


As our regular readers know, we at The Political Cat consider Kucinich our ideal candidate, with Edwards coming second. We still fervently hope either Kucinich or Edwards is our next president, but we also believe that every voice and every point of view that is reasoned, intelligent, sincere, and factual about a solution to the nation's problems deserves to be heard.

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