As to the Iowa primaries, it seems a little too soon to go rushing to judgement.
Obama's success is impressive, of course it is, and I do appreciate that he is mobilising Independents, unhappy Republicans and the young. His legislative record is moderately impressive, though his votes in the Senate aren't all that much to write home about. I am worried by his faux pas
in having someone from the ex-gay ministry on his platform and the god-bothering worries me even though he has said some moderately pro-gay, or rather anti-anti-gay, things. Michael Moore's criticisms are worth paying attention to, but I said that already.
What worries me more is the way that the rightish and centrist commentariat are falling in love with him and saying that other candidates are toast before this is clearly the case. Here is a hint - it is not his idealism they love or share.
Everyone from Sullivan to Martin Kettle is talking about him as a conciliator, who will bring the US back together. I don't for a second think that the culture wars can be solved that simply or that people who believe in killing queers and Muslims and are waiting to disappear into the sky and back the state of Israel whatever it does because someone they read claims to have read that in the Bible are going to say 'gosh, we have a nice middle of the road African American president so we don't have to be mean and nasty any more'.
What worries me is that, if there is no clear closure on the Bush years, and the truely evil stuff that came out of the Right during the Clinton years, Obama will make nice with everyone, forgive everyone and in four or eight years, after everyone has been lulled, the crazy wing of the Republicans will be back trying to fix elections, declare war on random people and generally making a nuisance of themselves.
Personally, I would like to see Names Taken and Arses Kicked even if it meant you had to put up with Hillary to do it - woman does have a vindictive streak and has bottled up a lot of anger because her triangulators told her to...
If people really really want conciliation, it is not enough to just announce that the war is over and we can all sing 'Kumbaya'. I have a certain history of forgiving people who have done pretty terrible things to me and it is not as easy as that - you have to make a solid accounting to yourself of just what it is you are letting go of. And not forget, even if you decide that the people who did those things have really changed, because you need to watch out for other people doing the same stuff, including yourself.
South Africa made a decent stab at the process with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Obama shoud bring in Desmond Tutu and let him loose on the situation. If we can't have Rove and Cheney in the hoosegow, we can at least have them answering some awkward questions.