Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama pro and con

Two articles on the New Republic webpage caught my interest this week -- the first, by respected historian Sean Wilentz is a lengthy takedown of Barack Obama that could have been written by Clinton strategist Mark Penn. The title, "How Barack Obama played the race card and blamed Hillary Clinton," about says it all. The article has generated about 450 comments so far, overwhelmingly negative.

In stark contrast, political analyst John Judis goes back 200 years to put Obama in the context of "early generations of Americans (who) became captivated by the idea that they could create a future without reference to the past." See it here.

Judis' article is generally positive toward Obama but appropriately skeptical about the ability of any president to transcend politics in the way Obama is suggesting. It's sad that Wilentz the historian is reduced to the role of political hit man while the political pundit does the heavy historical lifting.

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