Why Not Victory?

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"Why Not Victory?"

I did a panel this afternoon with Marc, Ross, and David Brooks at which Brooks, Marc to some extent, and also Fred Malek (yes this Fred Malek) were sort of harping on the idea that Barack Obama doesn’t really have a McCain-esque background of breaking with his party’s leadership and cutting deals with those on the other side of the aisle. This is, as best I can tell, totally true — Obama has worked with Republicans on various issues, but never done anything comparable to McCain’s work on, say, the McCain-Feingold bill.

To which I more-or-less say: shrug.

A sign of the long era of political dominance is that to a lot of people, I think the idea of a progressive Democrat running and winning as a progressive Democrat and going on to govern as a progressive Democrat just doesn’t really scan. If you’re going to win, and you’re going to be a Democrat, then you have to be a “different kind of Democrat.” And Obama sort of isn’t. He’s not the most liberal Democrat in congress, but then again most Democrats (by definition) aren’t on the party’s leftward fringe. He’s a pretty ordinary Democrat, but much more charismatic and much better at giving big speeches about why his ideas are awesome.

And while he might lose the election, I and everyone else think he’ll probably win.

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