The Unknown Obama

One pundit who I guess we can be sure won't be falling out of love with John McCain is Richard Cohen who today writes that he can name more admirable stuff McCain has done over the course of his live than he can about Barack Obama. This turns out to be especially true if you take a question Obama was right about, the decision to invade the war in Iraq, and decide that it doesn't count because he was representing a liberal constituency. But things like John McCain's opposition to a prescription drug benefit for Medicare and his "very early call for more troops" in Iraq do count even though McCain was representing a very conservative constituency.

Basically, since John McCain has been alive a lot longer than Obama, if you focus only on the positive actions of both men but refuse to count any of Obama's positive actions then McCain comes off looking much better than Obama. Consequently, to Cohen Obama is a bit of a sketchy unknown figure:

I know that Barack Obama is a near-perfect political package. I'm still not sure, though, what's in it.

Now in an ideal world candidates for office might release statements, speeches, documents, etc. about their policy ideas. People could scrutinize these ideas. Most people, of course, might be too busy to plow into detail. But a professional newspaper columnist, at least, would be able to sit down and really dig into what Obama is proposing to do on taxes versus what McCain is proposing to do. You could look into their plans for health care and for the environment. All sorts of things like that. And then even a guy with a relatively brief record in federal office wouldn't appear to be such a blank slate. So it's really too bad nobody does that. You would think that with the dawn of the internet candidates could at least put something up on their website under an "issues" tab or something.

Oh well.