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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Monday, November 12, 2007


Obama's speech

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, November 12, 2007 permalink View blog reactions
Obama's speech at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa has received a lot of plaudits, from myDD to David Yepsen:

Obama has a real talent for this. I still remember the feeling I had when I heard his speech at the DNC convention in 2004... it was like Howard Dean redux. He delivered the same message again: "I don't want to pit red America vs blue America. I want to be the President of the United States."

But while Obama did a fantastic job of highlighting the leadership failure of the Bush Administration, and differentiated himself admirably and with honor from Hillary Clinton (entirely unlike Edwards has done of late), the question remains in my mind, just where is the proof that Obama can deliver?

Obama's recent validation of the frame that there is a "crisis" in Social Security is a symptom of a deeper problem with Obama that the speech doesn't illuminate. Obama seems in many ways as committed to the establishment as Hillary. He says he is change we can believe in, but why should we believe? As Krugman notes, the social security comment is

a bad omen; it suggests that he is still, despite all that has happened, desperately seeking approval from Beltway insiders.

Substantively, this is wrong — and the tone-deafness is hard to understand. Tim Russert doesn’t vote in Iowa.

If Obama had a parcel of policy proposals that were truly visionary and bold, then he would have a leg to stand on as he makes his case. But where is the bold?

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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.