I spent the last few days volunteering on the campaign trail in Virginia.
I'm glad I did it, and I'm glad we won. But I was more in it for making sure that the other guy didn't win.
I'm sorry to be the one to rain on the parade, or whatever, but I'm not overly optimistic about this whole Obama Administration thing.
Overall, I agree with most of what Alexander Cockburn had to say
before the votes were cast: that there is relatively little good in the policies Obama supports, and plenty, plenty, of bad. On the one hand, I liked the excitement in the streets on Tuesday and Wednesday. But on the other, I don't want to be celebrating the ideas of expanding the military, expanding the war in Afghanistan, or never giving Palestinians an acre of Jerusalem.
The staff choices in the coming days will mean a lot. Will Obama pick the Clintonites and other centrist, if not center-conservative, Democrats who largely dominated his adviser group so far? Let's hope, for example, that Larry Summers isn't picked. John Nichols says
the pick of Rahm Emmanuel for Chief of Staff is disappointing, for he is anti-progressive (and an anti-Palestinian hardliner, Ali Abunimah notes
), but that the ideology of the person in that job doesn't matter all that much.
When I was in the Obama bubble a few days ago, I forgot about what he really stands for. I'm not radical enough that I would remember it at every moment. I let it slide.
And the truth is that much of the 'left' let Obama slide, especially after Clinton dropped out. Back in the fall, Krugman criticized Obama relentlessly. Many of the bloggers championed Edwards. And then most of it went away. It will be interesting to see what MoveOn does now -- if they can keep members engaged and pushing progressive policy.
I think it's time to not let Obama slide any more. Let's call the developments as we see them.
Update: Stephen Zunes provides
a much more negative review of Rahm Emmanuel.