The Agent of "Change" Becomes Just Another Partisan

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jun 03, 2008 12:04 PM
One of the problems with having campaigned as someone who wants to "change the tone in Washington" is that when one adopts a sharply partisan tone -- as The New York Times reports Barack is beginning to do -- one runs the risk of coming off as just another partisan.  Not much "change" inherent in attacking members of the other party.  We've all seen that movie before -- many, many times.

The problem, of course, is that the lefty Democrats (the ones, not coincidentally, most excited about Obama's nomination) really want to surround The White House with pitchforks and fire because of their hatred of Chimpy McHitler.  Rational debate about policies and plans becomes difficult for Obama, not just because he's a little light on the experience, but because these folks want red meat and they want it now.

The more partisan slash-and-burning Barack does, however, the more he tarnishes the shiny sheen of the new kind of politics he's been promising.  If he can't run a "new" kind of campaign, what are the chances he can institute a "new" kind of presidency, or "change the tone in Washington" (especially, again, as he has no experience working across party lines, in contrast to John McCain )?

Finally, the sharper his campaign rhetoric becomes, the more it's fair to ask:  What's it telling us about his priorities if Barack is plenty willing to be tough on an American war hero -- but slopping over with sugar and spice when it comes to "talking" with our country's enemies?