The Moose ponders the Obama boomlet.
The Moose has been impressed with Senator Obama. He appears to have an impulse to transcend the polarized partisan divide and seek a new politics of national unity. He projects a Reagan-Clinton-like optimism that is a welcome contrast to the donkey's gloom and doom caucus. And his lack of Washington experience may actually be an asset to an electorate that is tired of the old politics.
However, despite his obvious political talents, he has not yet surprised us with any distinctive policy, proposal or position. On Meet the Press, he was given an opportunity to challenge the liberal orthodoxy. Here is part of the exchange,
"MR. RUSSERT: You write in your book this: "I also think my party can be smug, detached, and dogmatic at times. I believe in the free market, competition, and entrepreneurship, and think no small number of government programs don't work as advertised." Which programs?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that if you look at how our health care system is structured right now - I'm, I'm a big supporter of Medicaid and Medicare, but I think that there's no doubt that we could squeeze more efficiencies out of those, those systems there. Simple example, we don't, we don't use electronic billing for Medicare and Medicaid providers. Now, the--there's no other business on earth that still has people filling out paper forms to get reimbursed, especially for a system that large. We could drastically reduce the costs of those systems."
Senator Obama went on to suggest that there should be more discipline in the budget process and to "call for all federal spending to be on a searchable Internet database." That was about as far as he was willing to go in transforming government programs.
The answer did not match the promise. But, the Moose has faith that if Senator Obama actually runs for President, he might actually defy the liberal orthodoxy. His inspiration should be Bobby Kennedy and Bill Clinton who surprised us with their heterodoxy.
An Obama candidacy has great potential - but only if he truly challenges his party and our country. What about universal national service? --