This is good. The Obama accountability movement scores another victory, and this one is more meaningful than the last one. Now, Obama is refusing to condemn Clark's comments, and is making a much better response to the question:
Obama was asked by a young man, and responded calmly (with pleasant but mild indignation) about apologizing to John McCain:
"Are you going to apologize to John McCain, for what Wesley Clark Said", Obama responded, "why should I respond to something, that I never said, that happened on some Sunday morning talk show". Obama continued "I think we have more important things to talk about, and I'm not sure the average person in Ohio is thinking about this"
Now that wasn't so hard, was it? Refuse to answer the question. Deny legitimacy to the smear attacks against Wesley Clark. Refuse to condemn an important ally like Wesley Clark. Position yourself above the fray of oh-so-typical "can you believe s/he said that?" politics. This was always the appropriate response, and it is fantastic that Obama is now making it himself. It is a clear improvement upon yesterday's rejection of Clark's comments, a rejection which, I should note, was made by a Obama staffer rather than by Obama himself.
I'm starting to think that it is possible to hold Obama accountable during the general election, without working to hurt his chances in that election one bit. It is important that the Obama campaign not give credibility to right-wing smear attacks against important Democratic surrogates and activist organizations, because damaging the credibility of those surrogates and those organizations damages the Democratic and progressive cause. Now, at least in part because we protested so loudly, Obama is not rejecting Clark or condemning his comments. Problem solved. A small, but not unimportant, victory for the Obama accountability movement has been made.
The progressive grassroots might not be swing voters, but we are swing activists. Making sure that we remain excited and enthusiastic about helping Barack Obama with our activism is important to the Obama campaign. As such, expressing our displeasure with the Obama campaign can potentially hold him accountable, and change campaign behavior. If he wants effective surrogates, organizations, and activists supporting his cause, the campaign seems to be learning that it can't just throw them under the bus at the first sign of a right-wing smear attack against those surrogates, organizations and activists. We can stop the Sista Souljah-ing. While this isn't a total victory, it is a victory none the less, and a step in the right direction.