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Meaningless measuring sticks

Saturday, Jan 29, 2005

One of the new parlor games of the national punditocracy (some of them based right here)is waiting to see when and how Barack Obama finally alienates the left wing, even eagerly stirring the pot.

It’s a completely meaningless exercise.

People like this and this and this will never be placated, no matter what Obama does. Leftists, like Rightists, are purists. If you’re not with them 100 percent on their latest crusade, then you’re against them and deserving of attack.

Looking for splits between Obama and the far Left might be an entertaining diversion, but it signifies absolutely nothing about how Obama is doing now and predicts zip about his future.

Obama is certain to not live up to expectations because so many different groups of people projected so many of their own hopes and agendas on him after that convention speech. Even the Congressional Black Caucus got a bit of a startle the other day after they met with President Bush.

The meeting was a first for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) who left the White House wishing he had heard more from Bush instead of his [congressional] colleagues.

“I thought the caucus members made some powerful points about the ongoing disparities that exist between the African American community and others,” Obama says. “It was unfortunate that the president didn’t have the time in this meeting to respond forcefully to those comments.”

Ouch.

I’ve known Obama for years, and he’s always been his own man. If he continues this behavior in the Senate, he’ll live up to my own personal expectations and most likely have a long career in politics, despite the silly, trivial games that national thumbsuckers might contrive to fill space.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

3 Comments
  1. - Greg - Sunday, Jan 30, 05 @ 10:25 am:

    I heard that Obama’s “rock star status” has gone to his head. Reports from Senate staffers — and these guys have friends on both sides of the aisle — have told me that Obama has carried a real attitude into a meeting with his Senate colleagues.

    I think this is to be somewhat expected as the media darling of the week, but it won’t take long for more senior colleagues to bring Obama back to earth. I think then we’ll get a better read on the guy.

    Finally, even though his performance was very week, his comments to now Secretary of State Rice were Bush league, at best. You could tell he clearly felt he was in over his head when delivering unprepared remarks. Mike Van Winkle has caputred it quite well at the Chicago Report. You would’ve thought the “Blame America First” Crowd ie. the democratic wing of the Democrat Pary (those groups you linked to) would’ve been pleased with his performance — of course he did, in the end, vote for her.


  2. - Anonymous - Sunday, Jan 30, 05 @ 1:15 pm:

    Obama may be “his own man,” but he’s extremely — sometimes frustratingly — careful not to stick his neck out too far on any issue. He taught constitutional law at U of C, but he’d rarely speak up against bills on the Judiciary Cmte. that even Republicans saw constitutional problems with. When death penalty opponents tried to kill the reform package (because it fell short of abolition), Obama told them he could understand why they had concerns — without ever telling them if he shared those concerns.

    He may just be a measured man, but I think starr-eyed progressives might be a little surprised to see how much of a go-along get-along legislator he is…


  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 1, 05 @ 1:10 pm:

    I think Barack Obama continues to carry with him the humility that has become his trademark. He knows he owes his stardom to John Kerry, who invited him to speak in Boston, and he knows he has a long and steep learning curve in the Senate.

    His own party will take care of him, but what he has to watch for are the razor-tongued right-wing attack dogs who roam the countryside at will these days. You know, the same people who talk about morality and values practice the politics of smear-and-fear.

    Obama has a chance to reduce that kind of politics in America, and more power to him!


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