Writing on Washington Monthly‘s Political Animal blog (1/21/09), Steve Benen quotes Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris of Politico rueing the lack of “evidence that [Barack Obama] is willing to challenge Democratic special interest groups“: “There are few examples of him making decisions during the campaign or the transition that offended his own party’s constituencies…. Has Obama ever…stood up to organized labor in the way that Clinton did in passing North American Free Trade Agreement?” Saying that “it was never altogether clear to me why this was supposed to be persuasive,” Benen sums up the reasoning as “the Democratic nominee agrees with the Democratic Party! Eek!”:
I realize this is a common argument, I just don’t understand why. For one thing, Obama has “offended his own party’s constituencies” more than a few times, both during and after the campaign. Before the election, Obama was at odds with Democrats over FISA and the financial industry bailout, and after the election, he frustrated party constituencies on everything from cabinet selections to Lieberman to Rick Warren to tax cuts in the stimulus bill.
Benen’s obvious question: “Why on earth would Obama’s chances of success as president be dependent on his willingness to disagree frequently with his own party?” His own equally obvious answer: “That’s nonsense.” See the FAIR Media Advisory: “Media Tell Obama–Don’t Be a Lefty Like Clinton” (11/7/08)