Sunday, December 28, 2008

Frank Rich Fisks the Obama/Warren Controversy

And gets it right, I believe.

Quoting Barney Frank: "I think he [Obama] overestimates his ability to get people to put aside fundamental differences." That’s a polite way of describing the Obama cockiness, says Rich.

As I've been saying, the key disillusionment with Obama's tone-deaf choice of Warren is that it calls into question how Obama will triangulate not only domestic disputes, but international ones as well. Does Obama seriously believe he can just will away long-standing, historical resentments without actually doing the hard work of creating any change of heart? That's not change: it's the same old, same old, only wrapped up prettier, and more all the more cynically for being described as change. My worry, too, is that when Obama starts doing this with other issues, we're going to see public disillusionment on a massive scale. Unless he's able to learn something from this. He's a quick learner. We shall see.

My only disagreement with Rich is his criticism of Clinton. At least when Clinton threw us under the bus, he stopped to explain why. That at least gave us the opportunity to discuss it with him. Obama's approach seems to be to throw one side under the bus and smile and deny it, which is much more infuriating.

Of course, as many have argued, symbols aren't policy. But they are still symbols, and carry weight. We're all waiting with baited breath for what's going to happen with policy. If we're to believe what Biden has told us, we're going to have to wait at least another year or more.

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