Running to the right on health care and social security combined with the anti-gay gospel singer, taking Robert Novak smears at face value, repeating Jeff Gerth lies and now going after Paul Krugman, leads me to the niggling awareness that this is a conscious, if subtle, strategy. Any one of those things could be an accident, and perhaps some of them are. But taken as a whole, conscious or not, liberal fighters in the partisan wars are being sistah soljahed. Unlike the big issue of Iraq where being on the right side is being on the left side, these little digs and policy positioning are all sweet spots for the Village --- and sore spots for the base.
I'd add a couple ore incidents to the list, such as Obama calling Daily Kos boring, the Joe Anthony MySpace incident, triangulation on religion, Iraq and Iraq, and an, um, frosty relationship with the blogosphere, This sort of thing has happened often enough that it certainly seems like a pattern. Personally, I don't think it is a strategy, but rather simply who Obama is and what his campaign is. This was always how Obama acted, even before his campaign for President began, and even before he entered the Senate. As Steve Benson has pointed out, this is actually what Obama's famous 2004 convention speech was like. Obama hasn't changed, his public record was just comparatively thin before the campaign began allowing people to interpret him in manifold ways.
Of course, as Digby also notes, there is something to be said for all this. Subtle digs at the DFHs do help candidates in the eyes of the media clan within the Village, and Obama is easily the favorite candidate of that clan. At the same time, it hasn't really hurt him all that badly among the DFHs, who remain the cornerstone of his supporters at both the (record breaking) activist and rank and file supporter level. Whatever Obama is doing, it seems to be working, at least right now. Perhaps, for others, the very good things about Obama are outshining the negatives I see. His background before politics, his opposition to the war, the promise of cultural change he appears to embody, his excellent energy, media, and election reform policy proposals--indeed, there are quite a few things to like about Obama.
However, it is clear that all of the good things about Obama come in a package that views contemporary American politics from a fundamental different perspective than does the new wave of progressive activism that has risen in the last decade. It isn't just about his apparent opinion of the DFHs, either. If Obama really believes that he is somehow post-ideology, post-partisan, and capable of bringing contemporary Republicans to actually engage in real compromises over legislation in good faith, then I can't help but think that, despite his background, he is oddly naïve. Rather than believing that the contemporary manifestation of the Republican Party can be brought to the negotiation table in good faith, I think the best way to negotiate with them is to reduce them to below pre-1994 levels in Congress and without the aid of the Bush Dogs, which means 42 or fewer US Senators and 175 or fewer members of the US House. There are lots of other things that need to be done to clean up the Democratic Party, improve progressive infrastructure, and set positive, progressive feedback loops in motion, but a series of crushing election results is my main, short-term strategy for dealing with Republicans. Render Republicans so small as to make them temporarily inert, leave the rest of the arguments as internal Democratic and progressive affairs, and get a lot of good done really fast.
The village keeps telling us that DFHs are bad for Democrats. I don't believe them. The Village keeps telling us that Republicans are willing to truly compromise in good faith. I don't believe that either. I think the non-policy differences I have with Obama are pretty well expressed in our divergence on those two cultural concepts. It is a sort of Soljah cultural gap. Not only do I think Edwards is closer to me on those two points, but I'm also certain that Clinton is closer, too. Just as they do for Digby, these concepts make a difference to me when it comes to figuring out who I will vote for in the presidential primary (and I will vote). It is certainly odd that, among the "top three" Democrats, the candidate with whom I share the most educational (I've spent time in academia, too), occupational (I've been a teacher and organizer, too), age (Obama is only 13 years older than me) and place of residence (my neighborhood is much like the one Obama worked in) similarities is also the candidate among the top three with whom I diverge the most on our cultural approaches to contemporary politics. I wouldn't have expected that, but here we are, none the less.