Bill, that is. Tom Edsall sums up what a lot of us have been observing:

Although little noticed, Obama has been challenging influential Democratic primary constituencies at a rate of about once a month, building what now is a significant record of dissent from key party factions. He has taken on civil rights groups, the National Education Association, and the powerful lobby opposed to any changes in Social Security benefits.

Appearing May 13 on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Obama suggested that he is prepared to consider a major alteration of affirmative action policy to make it less racially based and more economically rooted:

"My daughters should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged," he said. "I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed."

In the same May 13 interview, Obama said he would consider raising both the retirement age and payroll taxes as part of a package to put Social Security on a stable fiscal basis. "Everything should be on the table," Obama said, although he rules out privatization.

A month later, in a June 7 talk at a Spartanburg, South Carolina Baptist Church, Obama pointedly challenged black men who abandon their children:

"There are a lot of men out there who need to stop acting like boys; who need to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; you need to know that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one,"

And in Philadelphia, at a July 5 National Education Association meeting, Obama endorsed merit pay -- anathema to teachers' unions. "If you excel at helping your students achieve success, your success will be valued and rewarded as well," Obama said, careful to add, "I want to work with teachers. I'm not going to do it to you, I'm going to do it with you."

Well, it's a change election, like 1992. And Obama represents change for Democrats as well as the country.

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