I've seen a lot of people referencing Obama's use of "right wing memes" to attack or contrast other Democratic candidates. I've been unable to pay round-the-clock attention to anything this year with my freelance work, a baby, etc.—so if things get crazy, I might miss a week or two of blogging and fall behind, or miss, these stories when they're all the rage...
One of my go-to bloggers/buddies, Toast, has been pushing this hard, so I thought I should figure out what he's talking about. I know Krugman's taken some shots at Obama lately—one was Obama's use of the word "crisis" in reference to Social Security. If we are to believe the Dem talking points, and the analysis of guys like Krugman (and I do)—then there is no "crisis," and Obama is wrong to use that word. But I hardly find that to be a major offense. And Obama has backed off on that language. Good. It's not accurate, and it's not helpful.
The invaluable Steve Benen (the Tim Higgins of lefty blogging*) rounded up the six major charges against Obama and analyzes them here. He amusingly rates them in units of "Liebermans."
Like Benen, I don't find many of these compelling enough reasons to reject Obama. I find them somewhat understandable and acceptable considering the fact that he is running to the middle. And let me be clear—"running to the middle" is something I have been harshly critical of in the past. The difference here is this: I actually think Obama can do it, and win with with it. And, most importantly, I trust that he won't actually govern to the middle.
I'd rather my candidate be a bit of a Trojan Horse, sell himself as more moderate, and then perform more progressively in office with a broader mandate, than sell themselves as more progressive than they really are, or intend to be, and then piss me off by selling out and governing as a corporate centrist. Who do we know like that? Hillary, Reid, Pelosi, and countless other Dems...
We "smart" libs like to laugh at the bible-thumping chumps who get rolled by the Roves and Bushes and support the GOP, falling for the promises that never come... Well, after the rhetoric I heard in 2006 from Dems, who were then handed power in Congress only to bend over ever more quickly for Bush, I, for one, am not laughing any more.
I think the problem people in the Left(ish) Blogosphere are having with Obama stems from one of a couple things:
1.) They are Edwards fans, and Obama is standing in their guy's way. I can understand that. Edwards is the more pure, appeal to the base, fired-up, revenge candidate. As voters, talk of "reaching across the aisle" triggers a gag reflex. Fair enough.
2.) They start out disliking Obama for some reason. This is likely tied back to number one, or has to do with Obama's religiousity (I think this is particularly true for Toast—feel free to respond). I actually think he's been pleasantly and surprisingly low-key on that stuff lately. But let me explain why I will NOT hold that stuff against Obama even though it would grate severely on me from anyone else. Barack Hussein Obama has to catapult the bullshit rumors that he is a dirty Moslem. Therefore, I give him a pass every time he invokes God or reminds people he's a Christian for just that reason. I'd prefer my politicians keep religion off the table, but when you have to counter constant whisper campaigns, I'll allow it.
* reference for serious, old-school college hoops fans only.
UPDATE: Since she got her ass handed to her in Iowa, I am finding Hillary's attacks on Obama much more objectionable than any of the stuff just discussed. More on that, and the NH debate to come later. Maybe.
UPDATE 2: A nice piece on the transformative potential of Obama from a contributor at Kos.