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In this case, the only possible opposition that matters would come from other Democrats.
Yes, of course moving to the Left would arouse opposition. But dealing with opposition is exactly the measure of a politician.
You define leadership not by being clever and making meaningless speeches but by leading - which means setting an agenda, and controlling what people are talking about, what they're spending their time on, and how much attention they're paying to you and what you value. Leadership means facing down challenges and imposing your will on the values of a country.
On that measure, Obama is an epic failure. He's dithered about financial reform, he's dithered about health care, he's dithered about the morality of wiretapping and torture. He could have transformed the US with an epic green revolution, reined in the finance industry, ended a pointless war, and restored pre-Bush moral values. He has done none of these things, and his actions prove that he's more interested in supporting the rightward shift than in promoting any kind of progressive renaissance.
Bush was more successful as a politician, because although his values were loathesome, you always knew what he stood for.
Obama isn't a leader, he's a PR machine. His job is to fill media space with platitudes and promises, while making it possible for business to continue with as little change as possible.
Some minor concessions to the voters who supported him will happen along, but the reality is that Obama isn't really interested in what his popular supporters think, feel, or want.
And in the final irony it's John McCain, not Obama, who's promoting new legislation to return finance to pre-Glass-Steagall conditions.
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