Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Let Obama Be Dean
After all the ballyhoo about Obama being mugged by the Civic Forum people last Saturday, people are saying let Obama be Obama. The problem is that Obama is being Obama, a communicator and conciliator by inclination and talent. These qualities could well make him an able executive, but as a campaigner the Democrats need someone who can put the Republicans on the defensive and keep them there. That can't be done by charming people but it can be done by presenting a real alternative. Obama needs to get a little less Clinton, a little more Dean. For example even at a Christian venue such as Civic Forum, when asked about abortion the Democrat should say, "Safe, legal and rare," which is still a sugared-up version of what ought to be "Safe, legal and available to all." "Safe and legal, that's my position, vote accordingly." Having such a clear position helps in argument, and helps to avoid arguments. On taxes the Democrat has a harder job of communicating just how lavish the Republican tax breaks have been for large businesses and the rich. But that's the place to stick, even if it means squaring off against some big shots and making enemies. The debt, the deficit, the budget. That was the theme doing a lot of work for the Democrats in 1992 when Clinton won. Where is the national debt clock? It's possible that even anti-militarism vs. militarism might work for the Democrats. We'll never know until we try. But don't put Howard on the ticket. Put Hillary on the ticket.