1) Portrays himself as a "real" Democrat. ("Triangulating and poll-driven positions because we're worried about what Mitt or Rudy might say about us just won't do.")
2) Portray's himself as a bipartisan bridge-builder! ("I expanded health care in Illinois by bringing Democrats and Republicans together." ... "I don't want to pit Red America against Blue America. I want to be the President of the United States of America.")
3) Portrays himself as a brave truthteller willing to tell voters "what they need to hear" as opposed to "what they want to hear"--to deliver the "bitter medicine" (as columnist Roger Simon put it on Hardball) ...
Of course, Obama gives no examples of #3--in fact, he's telling Iowa caucus Democrats more or less exactly what they want to hear, namely that they don't have to compromise (#1). He's certainly not telling them that the way to be a bipartisan bridge-builder (#2) is often precisely to violate #1 and "triangulate," as Bill Clinton did on welfare reform. ...
Obama's new wrinkle is the argument is that Bush is so unpopular he's freed up a bunch of voters at the center for Dems to capture without triangulating. That may be true on universal health care coverage (where Obama's plan arguably triangulates a bit more than Clinton's plan). But I'm not sure where else it applies. At bottom, it still seems a variation of Shrumian populism, the idea that there are obvious answers to benefit the common man and the only thing standing in the way is some elite group or "corporate lobbyists in Washington"--as opposed to the non-populist position, which is that there are answers that benefit the common man but what's standing in the way is usually a) the common man and b) poweful interest groups on the Democratic as well as Republican side. If our most difficult domestic problems (Social Security, health care cost control, poverty, civil rights, immigration) really did conform to the Populist model, they'd have been solved by now, by Democrats. ...
Monday, November 12, 2007
Instapundit effortlessly spans present, past, and future to cover the Lapham's Quarterly launch party, Laphamistiically.** ... When I worked at Harper's, after Michael Kinsley took it over from Lapham,*** one of the editors had a shorthand name for Lapham's pretentious, opaque, you-can't-quite-understand-this-so-I-must-be-smart prose style: "The Caravans of the Mind." Wagons. ho! ...
**--This is not the "worst media party ever" referred to in the headline. That would be this party.
***--When Lapham took over the magazine again after Kinsley's departure, he fired the Kinsley people, including me. A perfectly reasonable thing to do. I wouldn't have wanted to work for him anyway! The transition was accomplished seamlessly, with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of civility. He's still on my s-list for life. You should know that. ... 10:46 P.M.
Strike-bound Rob Long is blogs semi-apocalyptically about the future of Hollywood. Sample:
TODAY IN SLATE
The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
How Movies Like Contagion and Outbreak Distort Our Response to Real Epidemics
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse
An Unscientific Ranking of Really, Really Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.