What Does Obama Stand For?

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David Brooks; Credit: Josh Haner, NYT

In this morning’s production meeting, Bill called our attention to David Brooks’s latest column — “The Elevator Speech” — in The New York Times. Here’s an excerpt.

“Obama has been reactive. He has been defined by the various negotiating positions he has taken in his confrontations with Congress. He’s used a more partisan political style to mask his small-bore policy substance. It’s not clear what he is passionate to do if he is elected for another four years.

The Democratic convention is his best chance to offer an elevator speech, to define America’s most pressing challenge and how he plans to address it. Read more »

Brooks goes on to lay out the three options he thinks Obama has for making a strong case for a second term. The first involves an all-out assault on global warming, the second a focus on fixing broken capitalism and the third embracing the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction plan.

What do you think should be centerpiece of Obama’s campaign — his “elevator speech,” as Brooks calls it? One of these three goals, or something else?

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  • Strawman411

    I’d pick Door #2: “fixing broken capitalism,” but then that (as with what is behind Doors #1 & 3) would presume three things we do not possess:
    1- An informed electorate
    2- A “loyal opposition” party
    3- A president whose reach exceeds his grasp

    Even were we to have a president with real convictions and the courage to stand behind them, he will be betrayed by an ovine, easily swayed populace vulnerable to propaganda issued by an opposition whose only reason for being is to regain power.

  • Brooke

    Deep and permanent reform that gets big money out of government is the only way that our government will reflect, through their actions and choices, the real will of the majority of Americans.

  • JonThomas

    I think journalists should refrain from this type of pandering. If you want to post an op ed with your opinions of what you hope are a candidate’s positions, then fine.

    If you want to post what you think the country needs, then fine.

    But asking what you want a candidate to stand for tells us nothing about who that candidate is and what is close to his/her heart.

    By creating that atmosphere you create Romneys who say whatever they need to in order to get elected, flip-flopping on even the most important of issues(too many to list here,) and you also create Obamas who say they will change things(like money in politics or the DEA’s position on state medical marijuana laws) then don’t stand up for what they assert.

    Journalists would best serve their readers by reporting what is happening, giving their opinions in op-eds, and go back to investigative journalism which outs the candidates when they repeatedly lie to the electorate!