George W. Obama

By Jennifer Parker

Jul 2, 2008 9:18am


He’s talking about service and patriotism, expanding funding for faith-based initiatives, sitting down with Colin Powell, and winning the (mocking) praise of The Wall Street Journal for continuing the policies of President Bush.

Just another day in the campaign life of Sen. Barack Obama.

In today’s Note, I look at some of the ways that Obama, D-Ill., is running the Bush playbook. You can see it in some of his policy positions — his shifts to the center have been remarkable in the last few weeks — and also in the tone and tenor of a disciplined campaign that’s shown a ruthless streak.

(It’s a theme we also pursued two weeks ago, after Obama announced he wouldn’t participate in the public campaign-financing system.)

There’s little debate that Obama is moving from the left — and there’s very real concern among his supporters over that, online and off — but he’s not moving all the way right, either, even on faith-based initiatives. (He included some sharp words for the way Bush has managed the program, even though he is building on a signature program of the president’s first term.)

More than that, what may surprise some Democrats is that he’s not allowing ideology to get in the way of his desire to win. Politico’s Roger Simon makes this insightful point today: “He has decided to run as a candidate for president and not as the leader of a movement.”

But what of the (political) movement it takes to make that happen? Worth the risk of a backlash from some disillusioned idealists?

– Rick Klein

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