Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC: “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.” Demonstrating that this is no mere spring fling, he has appointed the 37-year-old Jason Furman, one of Wal-Mart’s most prominent defenders, to head his economic team.
On the campaign trail, Obama blasted Clinton for sitting on the Wal-Mart board and pledged: “I won’t shop there.” For Furman, however, Wal-Mart’s critics are the real threat: the “efforts to get Wal-Mart to raise its wages and benefits” are creating “collateral damage” that is “way too enormous and damaging to working people and the economy … for me to sit by idly and sing Kum Ba Ya in the interests of progressive harmony”.
Furman won’t last long with the campaign or (hopefully) the Obama administration. Not with talk like that. As for the Senator’s “I love the market” quote, what else was he supposed to say on CNBC where everything is about crazy insane rich white guys and the only other time a black man has been seen on that network was… frickin’ NEVER?
Regardless, the Senator is going to say some things during the general that you and I might not always agree with. Senator Obama is a liberal, but he’s also a pragmatist. His pragmatism is going to be frustrating sometimes, but it’s mostly a good thing. It allows him to be more honest than most politicians of recent memory (see his Philadelphia Address on race, or this, or, “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”).
But don’t lose sight of the larger picture. He’s rewriting the way politics is played — for the better — and continuing the goals of Howard Dean from four years ago (he’s less liberal than Dean, but so what). He’s creating a new paradigm for transparency and accountibility and respectability. No-one in our lifetime has been better suited to accomplish these goals, and no-one is better suited to wipe away a considerable amount of the stink left behind by the Bush administration.