Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Obama and Progressive Politics

Today in Concord, NH:

Obama's speech underwent another subtle shift, too. There was much more emphasis placed on the word "progressive," a much more explicit recognition of Obama's potential meaning to a particular ideological movement. He spoke of "Independents who recognize that the current course we're on is not working, and are ready to form a coalition with Democrats for progressive change," chided the observers who said there was no way all these diverse individuals would turn out "for a progressive Democrat." I've not heard that word so oft-repeated at his rallies before. Indeed, the whole speech seemed the product of Obama's thinking about how he could use his political potency to shift the center in America to the left. "We will send a message," he said, "that we will not only end the war in Iraq, not only bring our troops home, but we will change the mindset that got us into that war in the first place." In some ways, it's that grandeur of ambition that separates Obama from Clinton Even before he said so explicitly, many progressives I know spoke of his ability not to change policies, but to change minds -- to do for progressivism what Reagan did for conservatism. Clinton, they agreed, was competent and well-meaning, but lacked that potential.

This is what I have been waiting for, Hoping for.

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