Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Netroots for Obama

Ezra Klein takes a look at why leading Democratic bloggers turned so strongly toward Obama:
"I think three things turned the tide decisively against Clinton:

"The first was her post-Iowa campaign, where Bill Clinton was comparing Obama to Jesse Jackson and an endless procession of hacks were being paraded out to deliver their jabs. It isn't that much of this was beyond the pale for politics. But it's a type of politics few want to support. Where many had been surprised by how little Clinton fatigue they really felt, this left them exhausted by the duo, and dreading eight more years of these sorts of grinding campaigns. The second was that Obama simply got more specific, particularly on foreign policy. When he began speaking about ending the "politics of fear" and attacking the mindset" that led us into Iraq, he finally took, with clarity and force, a position against the politically convenient militarism which has been so deeply pernicious within the Democratic primary. It was the concrete argument for his candidacy that many had been waiting to make. And the third force was simply that his victories in Iowa and South Carolina made it look like his movement might be real. When it was just a flood of idealistic language, the natural skepticism of observers kept them from buying in. When he really changed the turnout patterns of Democratic primaries and flooded the polls with new voters, that skepticism fell away, and was replaced by a desire, on the part of many, to see if this nascent movement could mature into something -- and, in any case, to not stand in its way.

"And finally, there was the underlying ideological dynamic of the election: Obama was progressive until proven conservative, Clinton centrist until proven progressive. At various times, Obama seemed to be trying to prove otherwise, but as he curtailed his more aggravating rhetorical flights, perceptions of him snapped back to the default assumption of progressivism. Clinton, conversely, worked hard to show an unexpected liberalism and surprising amount of policy ambition, and her health plan, in particular, changed a lot of minds. But as her campaign grew more frustrating, and the foreign policy arguments sharpened, the underlying skepticism of the people around her kept folks from buying into what the policy papers and speeches suggested."



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