Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Will Obama protect us from external threats as well as internal ones?

I have some doubts. Here are 2 adjacent WSJ pieces that seem concur. First the good news:

Some of this results from the political moment -- an unhappy public looking for "change" -- and Mr. Obama's skill in meeting it. His theme of optimistic, post-partisan, post-racial politics isn't so much defeating Hillary Clinton as transcending her. It must be maddening to Mrs. Clinton, the uber-wonk, that Mr. Obama's success is rooted in his style more than his substance. He is suddenly a phenomenon, of the sort our pop culture throws up every few months but that our politics rarely does.

Yet his success also owes something to the Clintons and their strategy. To an electorate looking for new ideas, Senator Clinton and her husband promised explicitly to go "back to the future." They've campaigned on a return to the "peace and prosperity" of the 1990s, while asking Democrats to forget what else happened that decade: The loss of Congress, the pardons as political favors, the scandals, the rise of al Qaeda, and the failure to achieve much of a lasting legacy.

The votes that Mr. McCain should really be worrying about, and preparing for, are those being cast for Mr. Obama. If he does go on to defeat Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama will only become more of a legend and more of a media favorite. The Republican won't be able to win in November with the kind of trench-warfare, turnout fight that might work against the Clintons. He's going to need his own reform agenda, one that competes for the "change" mantle and is about the future more than the past.

Now the not so good:
It says something about his national security world view, or his callowness, that Mr. Obama would vote to punish private companies that even the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee said had "acted in good faith." Had Senator Obama prevailed, a President Obama might well have been told "no way" when he asked private Americans to help his Administration fight terrorists. Mr. Obama also voted against the overall bill, putting him in territory.
Of course, McCain's legislative record is far from stellar. Besides the hypocrisy the link describes, there's this thing called the First Amendement that seems to be ignored, at best.

UPDATE: Greg Mankiw is worried, too.

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