Krugman discusses the differences between candidates Obama and Clinton.
But that says more about the complainers than it does about Obama himself. If you actually paid attention to the substance of what he was saying during the primary, you realized that
(a) There wasn’t a lot of difference among the major Democratic contenders
(b) To the extent that there was a difference, Obama was the least progressive
Now it’s true that many progressives were ardent Obama supporters, with their ardency mixed in with a fair bit of demonization of Hillary Clinton.
I agree with Krugman on the point that many folks simply ignored some of Obama’s key policy points in the 2008 campaign and got swept up with hope-y change-y t-shirts and crying and hugging strangers.
I don’t think those people are the net roots for the most part. I think the problem with the net roots is that they forgot the limitations were never the 50+ senate caucus. It was always the swing votes in the opposition party to get to 60. George W. Bush had more Blue Dog Democrats willing to endorse all of his major first term initiatives without any compromise. People say his cunning got George W. Bush everything he wanted, I would say it was Nixon’s cunning that created the Southern Strategy and Reagan’s american chauvinism that compounded that and created the moderate as right of center Blue Dog Democrat. Post-9/11 political climate was a perfect environment to shame Blue Dog and Hawk Democrats into knee jerk votes. If we were unhappy with what Democrats did in the senate from 2000 to 08, it should be painfully obvious that the Senate Democrats didn’t demand adequate concessions in exchange for their cooperation with George W. Bush’s platform and agenda.
To be fair, Clinton could have been expected to be more progressive than Obama concerning health care and Women’s rights. It doesn’t mean a Clinton white house would be as close to getting a bill passed. On many other issues, I would doubt she would be more progressive from her slightly more conservative voting record and working affiliations as a Senator. Clinton was one of the Democrats that voted for a pre-authorized Iraq war. It was baffling at the time and Clinton’s explainations (I didn’t read the NIE and I trusted President Bush’s evidence) were both unacceptable. In addition Clinton’s deep relation with the”New Democrat” (read left of center, right of center left) DLC can not be ignored. Nor should her comments about creating a protective umbrella around all middle east nations vs Iran.
In addition, a candidate is policies and practice.
Also despite the “Obama the Arrogant” meme, Clinton’s campaign was the one built on brazen, reckless arrogance. Clinton pegged herself “inevitable” and proceeded to undervalue Iowa and the various state by state delegate rules. She had no long term branding strategy for her campaign and was struggling to find her footing well past Super Tuesday. In addition she burned through campaign cash at an alarming rate with wasteful spending. All of this would have been needed for a general campaign push. It was an awful way to start a bid for the presidency after Gore and Kerry campaigns and eight years of George W. Bush.
What we saw is what we got, but it wasn’t the “least progressive” candidate.