The Substance

Greg Sargent does some worthy pushback against the growing media spin that Barack Obama may be “all style and no substance.” The grain of truth that this lie is spun out of is, of course, that as of March 28, 2007 Barack Obama does not have anything resembling a detailed plan for national health care policy. Sargent notes that he has, however, given two major speeches on foreign policy issues.

I would also note that the education section of his issues page contains two substantive and somewhat distinctive policy ideas along with a fairly commonplace-for-a-Democrat higher ed proposal. Obama’s “health for hybrids” plan is certainly a policy idea. Obama’s been working on the Senate on some dull homeland security topics and while one hopes that nobody ever gets credit for having sponsored the legislation that made a terrorist attack on a chemical plant something that killed dozens rather than thousands, I’m glad someone’s minding this topic.

Returning to health care, the relevant section of his website is thin on what you’d traditionally call health care policies. To fill it out, they had to shoehorn in something about fighting the problem of AIDS in the developed world and of protecting children from lead poisoning. Those are, however, real issues and Obama has real policies on them. Meanwhile, for the core health topics let’s just note that it’s late March 2007; all of the candidates have some issue-areas they haven’t yet addressed.