It is kind of saddening to see the venal, petty, disgruntled potshots some of the A-list blogpundits are taking at Barack Obama. For them, it seems he's just not enough the hard-line liberal, not enough the Party man. (Funny, that, considering you don't have to look too far back to see these same blogpundits attacking as demanding "ideological purity" critics of the now-discredited and clearly unreliable Yellow Dog Democrats.)
One expects a Dominionist candidate like Mitt Romney, a traditional neo-authoritarian candidate like Rudi Giuliani, and knuckleheaded television clowns to attack Obama. After all, they will attack any Democrat for any number of reasons -- mainly daring to be so unpatriotic as to refuse to be a Republican at least by name.
And one even expects Democratic candidates to criticize other Democrats so as to set themselves apart, for whatever reason. Which is why Hillary Clinton, the darling of some bloggers, is attacking Obama as being too progressive.
When I look at Barack Obama, I look as a skeptic of all the candidates. But of the Democratic offerings, I see someone who's not waving anti-corporate rhetoric like a machine gun (like John Edwards), and who's not invisible behind the managed and massaged messaging of handlers (like Hillary Clinton). Maybe what bothers the blogpundits is that Obama is actually appealing to Republicans.
And it's an appeal unlike what, say, Joe Lieberman has. For one thing, Obama is against the war on Iraq. For another thing, Obama doesn't dress up like a Republican while calling himself a Democrat. (Some of the blogpundits' favorite Yellow Dogs of the past can't make the same claim.) But I think the main thing is that Obama uses measured rhetoric. He's not much of a centrist in terms of policy, but he uses centrist rhetoric.
What that means is that Obama appeals to Republicans who are utterly disgusted with their own party's slate of idiots. This unlike Hillary Clinton, who couldn't not help but mock what Republicans might have supported her (by "seeing the light"). And unlike John Edwards, who I doubt even wants to get any support from Republicans.
Will he win? Of course I have no idea. But he does appeal to me for the mere fact that he's winning independents and conservatives over to his generally progressive views. That, I feel, is the opportunity he offers to changing the political climate in this country.
It means bad news for blogpundits who thrive on divisiveness, whose bank accounts could be severely impacted by the rise of a more of consensus political climate. But they shouldn't worry so much. There always will be idiots to oppose and rant about, and we still may see the Republican Party implode and reinvent itself for the first time in 40 years, and that certainly would be entertaining fodder.