The fact that people are so nervously watching and waiting to see if Barack Obama intends to stay true to his campaign rhetoric tells you two disturbing things. 1), No one is quite sure who our President-elect is. And 2), few are sure they even want him to be who he said he was.
As Jennifer noted yesterday, Rahm Emanuel gave some indication that Obama will be going ahead with his tax hike. Does any serious person think this will be good for the economy? Even the San Francisco Chronicle has found itself advising against any tax increases for the time being. An article by Kathleen Pender, predating Emanuel’s comments, features a host of financial experts convinced that Obama couldn’t actually be foolish enough to implement now the tax policy he’s touted throughout the campaign.
Similarly, everyone is curious about Obama’s plans for Iraq, and most experts are alarmed that he appears to be staying true to his campaign pledge on the issue. This is from CNN:
President-elect Barack Obama is not backing away from his campaign promise to bring all U.S. combat troops home from Iraq by late spring 2010.
But the question among sober-minded Pentagon planners is: Once he is in office, will the reality of war force him to reassess and put the brakes on a withdrawal?
Is it not worrying that financial experts and military commanders are wondering whether or not Obama will allow reality to temper his professed ideology? Perhaps most notably, Andrew Sullivan–Obama’s number-one fan–is now expressing some post–election dismay when it comes to policy specifics. Of the proposed auto industry bailout, Sullivan writes, “It’s not a good sign that Obama wants to rescue them.” Sign????? After raving about Obama’s genius for over a year, Sullivan is just now looking for signs as to what his candidate is all about?
A week ago, if someone mentioned Obama’s intention to “spread the wealth,” they were labeled an anachronistic red-baiter. If anyone suggested Obama didn’t care about victory in Iraq, they were vilified for questioning the candidate’s patriotism. If someone called him a Democratic socialist, they were laughed at. Today, people are starting to wonder what they got themselves into. It is both too early and too late to figure that out now.