Friday, December 14, 2007

Obama: the Democrats' Goldwater?

The Wyoming Democratic Party chairman says Wyoming voters dislike Hillary Clinton. He goes on...

If Barack Obama is the democratic presidential nominee, we will be the party of new ideas that understands that a united America will be much better able to address the serious problems facing our country than a divided America. If Hillary Clinton is our party’s nominee, every democratic candidate in Wyoming will be painted with that same liberal, big government brush.

I detect a certain naivety in Obama's policy formulation, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. But it's clear his values and principles are broadly shared. It's equally clear that many people admire his style and approach to politics.

I'm not old enough to remember Goldwater, but I see some parallels. Goldwater rose to prominence through local politics and then the U.S. Senate. His views found great sympathy among (for the time) radical members of his political party. He championed civil rights.

Obama has also risen through local politics and the U.S. Senate. He has a lot of support among the Democratic base. He's taken a fairly hard line against corruption in general and earmarks in particular.

Of course, Goldwater got creamed by Johnson. I don't think Obama would necessarily lose, let alone lose in a landslide. But win or lose, I wonder what impact Obama will have long-term on the Democratic party.