I don't mean to hijack the discussion going on on David Eisenthal's Obama-endorsement thread, but I'd like to state what I'm sure I *don't* know.
It is possible, I think, to acknowledge the concerns of conservatives, libertarians and other Differently-Winged folks while still advancing one's own ideas and agenda. I do think it's possible to bring people into the conversation; in fact, it strikes me as an absolutely essential political skill. That is, unless you prefer a pure Rovian style in which you slash the public down the middle and hope you end up with 51% — or less. Does anyone think that taxes (for instance) really aren't something we should be concerned about at all? Illegal immigration? Terrorism?
Furthermore, the power of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy will be brought to bear against whomever the eventual nominee and (I believe) President will be. I can very easily imagine a scenario in which the most combative of the candidates — John Edwards — would be isolated and brought to weakness by the power of special interests over Congress. Does he plan to smash the power of K Street all by his lonesome? How does that work, exactly? What's the mechanism?
As for Hillary, that last quoted paragraph from this comment about right-wing howling and a mindless, easily-led press corps — sounds a lot like the Clinton administration right on through to Gore 2000. I've been depressed by her campaign's willingness to duke it out and be aggressive on the picayune stuff, while caving to conservative ideas on grand matters of vision and strategy. (Speaking of picayune, that also goes for the Lilliputian warriors in Obama's camp.)
Anyway, I don't have enough evidence that Obama is the type to cave when the pressure comes, as come it will. His record in the legislature is mixed on that account … but legislative records are always mixed. For instance, was cutting the insurers into an Illinois health care bill a good idea — i.e. did it result in people getting health care — or was it a cave under the circumstances? Only people who are really knowledgable about the negotiations and Illinois politics would know.
So I'm just not convinced either way. Obama's language of transcendence could put him in a better position to create change, by claiming the high ground of tone and purpose; or he could set himself up for unprincipled compromise.
And this question is why I still haven't made a decision as to whom to support. By New Year's, I'll say something, but it's likely to be highly qualified either way.