I was happy that Obama won the votes he needed to secure the nomination. Although I have not withheld criticism of him in the past, I imagined it would feel good to cheer him on.
What did Obama do this week? He came out in support of a bill that granted amnesty to the telecoms. And after the Supreme Court ruled against the DC handgun ban, Obama did not criticize the landmark decision.
Obama had said he was against amnesty for AT&T and other telecommunications companies that may have broken laws at the behest of the Bush Administration. Also Obama had said he backed the Washington DC ban on handguns. (Obama's hometown, Chicago, has long had a similar similar handgun ban). City-wide handgun bans have proven popular -- local citizens overwhelmingly support the bans in DC and Chicago.
Clearly, Obama's strategy here is to deprive the Republicans of divisive issues they can use against him.
However, presidential elections most often turn on questions of character. McCain has a proven track record of standing up -- frequently against his own party -- for issues he strongly supports. And there are clear parallels in McCain's political career to his open defiance of the Vietcong from the time he was taken captive in 1967.
Because electing a man of McCain's character, decency, and reputation to the White House would obviously be a vast improvement over the current occupant, Obama has to demonstrate to voters that even more than a change in character, the country needs a change in direction. To rise above McCain in November, Obama must be seen to stand up for what he believes.