Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Bringing People Together (Finally)

The New York Times opinion page is not kind to Barack Obama today. First, David Brooks reviews the carnage from the debate:

He sprinkled his debate performance Wednesday night with the sorts of fibs, evasions and hypocrisies that are the stuff of conventional politics. He claimed falsely that his handwriting wasn’t on a questionnaire about gun control. He claimed that he had never attacked Clinton for her exaggerations about the Tuzla airport, though his campaign was all over it. Obama piously condemned the practice of lifting other candidates’ words out of context, but he has been doing exactly the same thing to John McCain, especially over his 100 years in Iraq comment.

Paul Krugman, from the other end of the political spectrum, sounds like Bill Clinton: rapping Obama for implying that the Clinton years were not good to working-class voters and advising him to “stop denigrating the very good economic record of the only Democratic administration most Americans remember.” As for Snobgate, he agrees with other academics that Obama’s sociology is wrong:

[S]mall-town, working-class Americans are actually less likely than affluent metropolitan residents to vote on the basis of religion and social values. Nor have working-class voters trended Republican over time; on the contrary, Democrats do better with these voters now than they did in the 1960′s.

Obama is finally bringing about some consensus, if only among the chattering class. (Though he may be the victim of the same “peculiar pathology” which has hobbled other Democrats in actually making it to the White House.)