Who Is Barack Obama?

Continuing with my Shelby Steele blogging, he went into what I thought was a really unfair attack on Barack Obama, drawing an invidious comparison between Obama and John McCain and Hillary Clinton on the grounds that we don't really know who he is. Instead, says Steele, Obama is running on a vague sense that he's a talented politician and a black guy. At first I thought he was going to take this in an unverifiably airy direction, but then he specifically said of McCain that if he's elected "we know what road that guy’s going to go down" whereas we don't know the same for Obama.

Now of course it's possible -- likely, even -- that many Americans don't know what road Obama would go down as president. But he's unveiled a fairly detailed policy record, and assembled a fairly consistent record in public life. It's John McCain, by contrast, who was against the Bush tax cuts before he was against them it's McCain who sponsored an immigration reform bill and then said he would have written against it. It's McCain who wants credit for tackling climate change but opposes all legislation aimed at curbing carbon emissions. It's McCain who's trying to run on an appealing biography while leaving cloudy impressions of his policy agenda.