Yesterday, in the spirit of the Obama campaign's attempt to organize "Unite for Change" neighborhood parties across the country, we gathered with some of our neighbors for an "Obama Mamas and Papas" party. Thanks to Jim and Gloria Leous for organizing and hosting the event. Three of the Obama Mamas are pictured here (from left to right: Gloria Leous, Valerie Long and Linda Erickson).
Although I have been a bit frustrated by the way the campaign has moved more squarely into the mainstream since winning the nomination, I am keenly aware that such a move toward the center is necessary if Obama is to win in November.
My frustration is does not concern the decision to pull out of the public campaign financing system -- I argued in February that he should opt out. Rather, it has to do with the way the mainstream of the democratic party is now beginning to bring its influence fully to bear on the Obama campaign. So, for example, Obama has embraced Jason Furman, a close ally of Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's former Treasury Secretary, both of whom privilege free market principles over labor interests and the need for stronger economic regulations of Wall Street.
Also, Obama seems to be backing off a strong stance he took against the Protect America Act of 2007 which was to amend FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). He is now supporting a compromise passed by the House which puts an end to the Bush's use of warrantless surveillance, although it does grant retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies that helped facilitate the illegal wiretaps. This is a case, I think, of Obama's politics of compromise: he will take this even though he recognizes that it is not everything he would want. Although I have problems with the compromise legislation, I think it is probably the right thing for Obama to do.
Something Obama said to his campaign staff on a video the campaign sent to supporters has stuck with me. It helps explain some of the recent moves they have been making. Obama said, "we don't have an option now ... because we won [Iowa and the nomination], we have no choice, we have to win."
I am as confident now as I have always been that Obama will do what he needs to do to win this election. I have never fallen into the misguided camp that believes that Obama is naive and inexperienced. Now, we see, he is ready to do what needs to be done to meet the Republican challenge at every turn.