Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rich today on Barack Obama

Frank Rich takes a more skeptical tone about Barack Obama's prospects as a future presidential nominee in his column today, "Obama is Not a Miracle Elixir," yet points out that he may have better instincts than most in the Democratic party as evidenced by his consistent opposing position on Iraq from the start:
The question is whether Mr. Obama will stick up for core principles when tested and get others to follow him.

That’s why it’s important to remember that on one true test for his party, Iraq, he was consistent from the start. On the long trail to a hotly competitive senatorial primary in Illinois, he repeatedly questioned the rationale for the war before it began, finally to protest it at a large rally in Chicago on the eve of the invasion. He judged Saddam to pose no immediate threat to America and argued for containment over a war he would soon label “dumb” and “political-driven.” He hasn’t changed. In his new book, he gives a specific date (the end of this year) for beginning “a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops” and doesn’t seem to care who calls it “cut and run.”
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The Democrats may well win on Election Day this year. But one of their best hopes for long-term viability in the post-Bush era is that Barack Obama steps up and changes the party before the party of terminal timidity and equivocation changes him.
This is a refreshing addition to the apparently assigned topic of the week for Times columnists. Yeah, there's a lot of hype about Obama and there is a growing conventional wisdom on him as some kind of saviour for the Democratic party's presidential blahs. It's a lot to live up to and there's nothing wrong with some healthy skepticism...