Not even Reagan, with whom Obama is now being compared, claimed to be above politics. So when he ducked controversies or was caught playing politics -- raising taxes, making peace overtures to the evil empire, and running up huge deficits -- he could shrug off the charge of hypocrisy. What mattered was that his supporters believed in their hearts he hadn't abandoned"the cause."
Obama's set himself a higher challenge. His cause is anti-politics. So he can't be caught playing politics. This is a difficult situation for a politician to find himself in. For at times he will of course have to play politics.
We have evidence at hand that he knows how to play the game as well as anybody. According to a report in the Houston Press, excerpted on our Breaking News page, he took credit for the legislative achievements of others in the state legislature of Illinois (including his signature bill requiring the taping of jailhouse confessions) in order to advance his state profile and make a run for the US Senate. His helpmate in the enterprise was the state senate president, Emil Jones, who bragged that he was going to make a US Senator! In return for Jones's support, Obama delivered millions in earmarks to Jones's district.
Me--I'm not upset by this in the least. This is politics baby. But it is inconsistent with Obama's rhetoric and it suggests his supporters are in for a shock. Their wunderkind is a politician after all.
(I am upset with the highflown rhetoric he employs. Get down off your high horse, Barack. You are a politician. Admit it!)