Every time I try to get out of primary-blogging they keep pulling me back in. Suffice it to say that I agree with Mark Schmitt’s take on the “theory of change” issue:
As an observer of politics, and commenter on it, I almost entirely share Krugman’s and Edwards’ diagnoses [...] But let’s take a slightly different angle on the charge that Obama is “naïve” about power and partisanship. Suppose you were as non-naïve about it as I am — but your job wasn’t writing about politics, it was running for president? What should you do? In that case, your responsibility is not merely to describe the situation exactly, but to find a way to subvert it. In other words, perhaps we are being too literal in believing that “hope” and bipartisanship are things that Obama naively believes are present and possible, when in fact they are a tactic, a method of subverting and breaking the unified conservative power structure. Claiming the mantle of bipartisanship and national unity, and defining the problem to be solved (e.g. universal health care) puts one in a position of strength, and Republicans would defect from that position at their own risk. The public, and younger voters in particular, seem to want an end to partisanship and conflictual politics, and an administration that came in with that premise (an option not available to Senator Clinton), would have a tremendous advantage, at least for a moment.
Right. Of course one runs into the rorschach problem here — maybe Obama really is naive. I doubt it; his background as a community organizer and civil rights lawyer doesn’t indicate symptoms of naiveté to me. But I can’t climb inside the man’s brain and look around. But Mark says what I was trying to get at here and says it better.