E.J. Dionne refreshes Obama's profile on the national scene with a nice op-ed piece today in the WaPo: In Illinois, a Star Prepares
(bullshit registration required, or not
"Democrats are reluctant to talk about big things," [Obama] says, because they're so fearful that "we'll be labeled tax-and-spend."
For Obama, reasonableness does not translate into timidity. If Democrats worry most about what Republicans will say about them, Obama says, they will be left with "this tepid, tired and rudderless message, one that can't move a lot of ordinary citizens who feel they're grinding it out, day in and day out, and not making any progress."
He frames the basic issue of our politics this way: "We need some balance between community and mutual obligation on the one side and the need for competitiveness and market incentives on the other. The biggest challenge for the Democrats is to articulate a plausible solution to this problem."
It's almost embarrassing that he needs to restate what should be core Democratic principles, but that's where the party is right now, sorely in need of some backbone. I can't wait to have him on the floor representing Illinois and holding Daschle or whoever the leader is accountable. He and Durbin will be quite a team.