Saturday, February 16, 2008

Avoiding Buyer's Remorse

In tomorrow morning's WaPo, columnist David Ignatius, who has been laudatory of Barack Obama, answers a challenge to take a more critical look than he previously has of the Democratic frontrunner:

What Obama would actually do as president remains a mystery in too many areas. Before he completes what increasingly looks like a march to the Democratic nomination, Obama needs to clarify more clearly what lies behind the beguiling banner marked "change" ....

Like all the major candidates, he has a Web site brimming with plans and proposals. But it has been hard to tell how these different strands come together ....

I'm still puzzled about where to locate Obama on this policy map. Until the past few weeks, I would have put him somewhere between "New Democrat" and "technocrat." But as he reaches for votes in big industrial states, Obama has been sounding more like [John] Edwards.

Ignatius spends time going over the Edwardsian domestic programs that Senator Obama has started proposing without lining out how they could be afforded. He also takes up the question of whether Senator Obama is creating unrealistic expectations on a withdrawal from Iraq.

This is really worth a read with Barack Obama's momentum, and it is good to see someone who is high on him also do some candidate-critical soul-searching. The Democratic primary season should not be a coronation. It should be a tool for finding chinks in the candidates' armor that need to be more tightly closed before the general election gets here.

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