Beyond The Hype

The Economist asks if Barack Obama can deliver once the hype over his campaign dies down. They observe:< ?p>

Mr Obama’s voting record in the Senate is one of the most left-wing of any Democrat. Even if he never voted for the Iraq war, his policy for dealing with that country now seems to amount to little more than pulling out quickly, convening a peace conference, inviting the Iranians and the Syrians along and hoping for the best. On the economy, his plans are more thought out, but he often tells people only that they deserve more money and more opportunities. If one lesson from the wasted Bush years is that needless division is bad, another is that incompetence is perhaps even worse. A man who has never run any public body of any note is a risk, even if his campaign has been a model of discipline.

Now that Obama is the front-runner, people are beginning to ask questions about who Barack Obama really is. His voting record suggests that he’s a doctrinaire down-the-line liberal. His policy record suggests that he’s a greenhorn. His foreign policy and economic plans are throwbacks to the 1970s. It may not be that Obama doesn’t know is policy, but that he’s deliberately keeping it close to his chest.

If Obama gets the nomination, he’s going to face intense grilling over his positions—as well he should. The American people deserve to have a President that does more than spout platitudes. Obama, so far, has said precious little about what kind of policies he’d actually enact. That can only go so far.

Obama is supposedly the left-wing Reagan—the difference is that Ronald Reagan had been a part of American politics for years before 1980. He had years of executive experience, and as his own notes reveal, he had a strong mind for policy. Obama certainly has the style of a left-wing Reagan, but he has nowhere near the substance.

The more people take a look at who Barack Obama really is, behind the nice speeches, the more he’s going to be pressed for details. While The Economist suggests that he doesn’t know policy, the stronger argument seems that he does know exactly what policies he’d like to implement—and they are the policies of the far left. He’s not talking policy not because he doesn’t have any, but because he’s trying to avoid the subject altogether. That little game will work with the Democratic base, but the general election will be a whole different ballgame.

The Democrats who are elated over Obama and the Republicans crying in their beers should remember that the general election is nine months away—and in politics, nine months might as well be an eternity.

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