Daily Kos: The Elephants and Mr. Obama

The Elephants and Mr. Obama
by TocqueDeville [Subscribe]
Fri Sep 30th, 2005 at 21:42:11 CDT

In his attempt to illuminate the political realities on the ground, namely that the American people just aren't as angry and opposed to the policies and performance of the Bush Republicans as we here in the blogging community, Senator Obama inadvertently shone a big, bright light on the other elephant in the room. An elephant we can call The Absence of Leadership.

Of course, the first elephant, often found grazing freely throughout the corridors of Democratic power, is the close cousin of the second known as The Absence of Principle.

In failing to acknowledge said elephants, the Senator went a long way towards discrediting his otherwise excellent points.

* TocqueDeville's diary :: ::

Let's start with the first. Senator Obama argues that we should not judge a political career based on one vote. With this I would largely agree. The Congress is a complex business where the lesser of evils name of the game. And because much of the wheeling and dealing that transpires there does so in the shadows, behind closed doors, it is terribly difficult to track and access the cost-benefit ratio of any single vote.

But what the Senator fails to acknowledge is that the "storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists" is not about one vote; it is about a pattern. It is about a history of votes that betray any sense of party identity or principles. It is not just about Democratic support for Bush's tax cuts, the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill or the confirmation of Roberts; it is about all of those votes combined.

It is precisely this emerging pattern that leaves so many to ask, "What does the Democratic party stand for?" Answering this simple question is perhaps the greatest challenge our party faces and, by failing to even acknowledge it, Senator Obama seeds little confidence in his ability to lead us forward.

His politically adept, and necessary strategy of setting a constructive "tone" is hollow in the absence of a defining, identifying principle.

We may not all agree on what that principle is. I have advocated that it is the historical purpose of the Democratic party to represent and protect the commonwealth. To give voice to the principle that we are all our brother's keepers and that social responsibility is as important as individual responsibility. Others may disagree.

But I think almost all here would acknowledge that, to some extent, we are lacking a unifying vision. And it is just not credible to attempt a dialog on inter-party tolerance and loyalty while ignoring this fact.

Daily Kos: The Elephants and Mr. Obama


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