A Better Week for Obama

Barack Obama is definitely finishing a better week than the one he had last week, when a research memo criticizing Hillary Clinton managed to be personally insulting to both Clinton and many Indian-Americans. His speech at the Take Back America conference was well-received, and yesterday and today he’s been emphasizing good-government issues such as public disclosure of earmark requests and executive branch lobbying reform. After the Take Back America speech Andrew Golis at TPM Cafe did what I think is a good job of explaining why Obama and John Edwards seem to appeal to two different segments of the progressive movement, echoing an earlier post made by Ezra Klein. Edwards has taken the lead on making pretty bold policy proposals, and that tracks with what I remember of his 2004 campaign as well. Obama is talking more about the process of politics and the culture of government, but seems much quieter on the big policy moves. Golis says that Obama seems to be working from the idea that the policy changes progressives want won’t happen until the way we do politics changes – and when you think about how hard it is to get programs that many Americans agree with enacted into law, that seems a pretty strong argument. And the transparency/reform measures he’s pushed today fit there as well.

now, whether that’s a message that catches on enough to a) get him elected and b) give him a mandate to push through the kinds of changes he wants to make, I can tell you I have no idea.