Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The Big Picture: Right Now, Staying principled is also good politics
Among committed but also politically astute progressives, the big debate is about whether Obama and the Democrats should focus on more seizing this unique moment to enact the desired liberal policy agenda, with the political considerations of maintaining their popular support a decided secondary priority, or whether to act cautiously, making sure to retain the political center. The mantra of each side is "Don't blow it!" For the "bold policy" advocates, that means don't blow this once-in-a-generation chance to do the things we've been saying are desperately necessary for decades. For the "political considerations first", "Don't blow it" means that due to Republican failures and Obama's charisma we have a chance to build an enduring Democratic majority which it would be counterproductive to risk. Each side can point to historical examples to support their case. And each side can use Obama's rhetoric to buttress their argument. But I think it's a false choice.