Debate Blogging, Cont'd: Shortchanging The Change Debate

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THE PLANK JANUARY 5, 2008

Debate Blogging, Cont'd: Shortchanging The Change Debate

Bill Richardson just chastised his colleagues for "bickering" about their different visions of change.  Shame on him.  This is not bickering.  It's the one of the most important -- if not the most important -- differences among the leading candidates and is critically important to those of us who want to enact progressive policies. 

Obama's vision focuses more on creating consensus and reaching out to win over critics; Edwards' vision focuses more on simply overwhelming the opposition through raw political strength.  (Clinton's version -- I thnk it's safe to say -- is closer to Edwards', although she claims she can do it better because of her expeirence.) 

Admittedly, the divide isn't as stark as the rhetoric makes it sound.  There are times when Edwards would cut a deal, just as surely as there are times when Obama would take hositle interests to the mat.  Indeed, Obama -- who learned the art of politics as a community organizer -- is a firm believer that step one in any reform process is mobilizing supporters behind a cause. 

But the empahsis is indeed different and it's an entirely legitimate debate about which way is better.

--Jonathan Cohn

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