No Guarantees

Ezra Klein says sure Obama could be an extraordinarily effective advocate of progressive ideas, but then again he might not actually use is powers on behalf of ideas like that. Kevin Drum concurs. For my own part, I don't disagree. But I think the problem with this whole line of concerns is well-expressed by the fact that Kevin titles his post "Obama mindreading."

Ultimately, though, the question of whether or not deep down in his heart Obama is really the liberal Reagan or not is neither here nor there. Ezra says "Obama may tout the politics of hope, but when it comes to getting presidents to govern in the way they'd like them to, progressives should remember that hope is not a plan." I completely agree. But that some dilemma would exist for any potential candidate. The extent to which Obama or Clinton or anyone else governs as a progressive will have more to do with the objective circumstances in which he or she finds himself or herself -- the congressional balance of power, the strength of interest groups, the quality of organizing on the ground -- than it will with what lurks in the deepest recesses of his or her brain.

That's why I try not to be an Obama groupie. But still, there are two candidates in the field right now. Either one will probably only take risks if they're pushed to take them. But if Obama is pushed to take risks, I think those risks are more likely to pay off -- he more skills of persuasion and inspiration.