Now, I know many of you see Obama as the "New Democratic" Hope. There's continuous talk all the time about his prospects as the first African-American President of the United States (at this point, we'd welcome a ham sandwich as President over the one we suffer with now).
Then, I've seen some posts on DKos that have been critical of Mr. Obama, because he hasn't gone into the Beltway with guns a'blazin' and standing next to Russ Feingold in taking on the establishment. There was pissivity when he voted for the Tort Reform Bill, his vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State, and actively supporting DLC candidates like Joe Lieberman, while dissing the DLC on its face. If you're like me, it's been a source of major frustration. But if you read the Sirota piece, he lays out the argument why we shouldn't place high expectations on the junior senator from Illinois. Most telling is the following excerpt:
Another area of retreat and equivocation for Obama is his role in party politics. He had previously said he didn't "want to be the kingmaker," because "it's never been sort of a role that I've aspired to in politics." Yet Obama forcefully intervened in a suburban Chicago Congressional primary on behalf of Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth, the candidate handpicked by Democratic power brokers, against grassroots contender Christine Cegelis, who in 2004 garnered an astonishing 44 percent against GOP incumbent Henry Hyde and who almost beat Duckworth. Wasn't this the very kingmaking role he'd said he didn't want to be a part of? Obama said only, "There are going to be strategic questions about who do I think is best equipped to win the general elections." One senior Congressional aide said, "Obama showed himself to be the pure political hack he is. Here you have a guy whose own success was predicated on winning primaries against party-backed candidates now using his enormous political capital to go to bat for the same party machines he says he doesn't want to be a tool of."
And this, from TDS Jon Stewart:
Obama will often be a reliable liberal vote, and he can give one hell of a speech. But we should believe him when he downplays our expectations. He says he's "a work in progress," but he's in an institution that tends to stifle greatness. As comic Jon Stewart said, "Everybody thought Barack Obama was going to [inspire people] when he came to Washington, but, you know, the Senate seems like the place where smart people go to die."