Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Change might have been a good buzzword for this week. Clifford Orwin, a former professor of mine who was brilliantly illuminating so long as he wasn't directly dealing with the course material, wrote in Monday's Globe and Mail about Barack Obama. He has a very good point. There's nothing all that different about what Obama would do and nothing all that different about him, except for the fact that he's black.

Yet so far he has offered only vague promises to lead America in a new direction, without articulating that direction. We know that he's the candidate of change because he tells us that, over and over. He also tells us that he can accomplish change because unlike Ms. Clinton, he's a uniter, not a divider. He'll excel at working together with the Republicans at working together with the Republicans. Beyond that, what? I disagree with John Edwards but his appeal is that you know where he stands. Mr. Obama's appeal (especially to Winfreyites) is that you don't.

Unless, of course you take the trouble to look up his voting record as a state legislator and senator. You won't find anything new there, just your typical left-wing Democrat, as comfortable as an old shoe. His only distinction is a hypothetical one: His claim that had he been a senator in 2002, he wouldn't have joined Hillary Clinton in voting to authorize the Iraq war.

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