Say What, Sen. Obama?
Everyone probably knows that I rank Obama near the bottom of the list of Democratic presidential contenders for '08 (above maybe Dodd and Edwards). Al Sharpton best described the Obamamania as "razzle dazzle". This isn't to say that I can't worm up to him, but he's given me nothing but cheap rhetoric. Kevin Drum sums up my sentiments:
I still think there's an important distinction to be made here between cheap campaign rhetoric and serious campaign rhetoric... Among Democrats it includes paeans to the importance of education or a commitment to keeping Social Security safe.Kevin hits on my pet peeve among Edwards and Obama:
There's nothing wrong with stuff like this, but it's a freebie. It doesn't really tell you anything beyond the party ID of the speaker. Conversely, serious campaign rhetoric commits you to something. "No child should go without healthcare" is cheap rhetoric, something nobody disagrees with. "I think everyone over the age of 55 should be covered by Medicare" is serious rhetoric.
And now to literally repeat myself: I know that endorsing a serious universal healthcare plan is politically difficult, and maybe Obama is just working up to it slowly. That's fine. But high-profile candidates have a special obligation here. Dennis Kucinich can yell "Medicare for All" until he turns blue, and nobody's going to listen. That's not fair, but it's reality. High-profile candidates like Obama, Clinton, and Edwards can change that. If they commit to a genuinely bold healthcare initiative, it becomes a legitimate topic overnight.Personally, I'm waiting for Obama to stop singing Kumbaya and start giving me something real. Until then, I only have hope. And I'd prefer to select a candidate on more than just hope.