Obama Wakes Up


This is surely overdue:

Asked in the interview on Friday if Mrs. Clinton had been fully truthful with voters about what she would do as president, Mr. Obama replied, “No.”

“I don’t think people know what her agenda exactly is,” Mr. Obama continued, citing Social Security, Iraq and Iran as issues on which she had not been fully forthcoming. “Now it’s been very deft politically, but one of the things that I firmly believe is that we’ve got to be clear with the American people right now about the important choices that we’re going to need to make in order to get a mandate for change, not to try to obfuscate and avoid being a target in the general election and then find yourself governing without any support for any bold propositions.” ...

“There is a legacy that is both an enormous advantage to her in a Democratic primary, but also a disadvantage to her in a general election,” he said. “I don’t think anybody would claim that Senator Clinton is going to inspire a horde of new voters,” he said. “I don’t think it’s realistic that she is going to get a whole bunch of Republicans to think differently about her.”

There are, to me, three core issues in this election: the Constitution, the war and the environment. All three are urgent, and the need for deep, radical change overwhelming. It's vital that the next president not assume and inherit the kind of extra-legal powers that Bush and Cheney have acquired as part of what amounts to a protectorate, not a presidency. The rule of law must be clearly re-established. Only Obama has the integrity to be trusted on that matter. Clinton will never have it. It's vital also that the next president be committed to withdrawal from Iraq as swiftly and as cleanly as possible. Again: the difference between a triangulating shell of a politician and an actual human being who was right about this war in the first place is completely clear. And we need someone in the administration - Al Gore obviously springs to mind - who can marshall the country's resources to tackle climate change and the urgent necessity for new energy sources. Gore loathes the Clintons as much as anyone, because he saw them close-up, and knows what their cynical, ruthless machine is really about: them. On those three issues, Obama is vastly superior to Clinton, whose history of executive secrecy and privilege, whose constant triangulation on the war and whose polarization of the country would make difficult and real change impossible.

Obama needs to be far more aggressive - but not hostile to Clinton. She just isn't right for this critical moment in American history, too inherently divisive to bring this country back together in an extremely perilous time, too cautious to effect real change, and still too spooked by Republicans to do what is needed in Iraq. There's still time to stop her. But it's running out.

(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)