07/21/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Learning that Politicians Aren't Messiahs

CHICAGO - The New York Times writes today on Barack Obama's recent policy shifts. The headline (not surprisingly) distorts the frame of debate, calling the Illinois senator's critics the "far left." I'll be writing on why that is such a distortion in my upcoming newspaper column this week. But beyond that distortion, let's consider the substance of what's going on. Here's my take, as quoted in the article:

"I'm not saying we're there yet, but that's the danger," said David Sirota, a liberal political analyst and author. "I don't think there's disillusion. I think there's an education process that takes place, and that's a good thing. He is a transformative politician, but he is still a politician."

2581824136_fec1f79696_m.jpgThis follows a lot of the underlying message of my book, THE UPRISING: namely, that politicians -- whether Obama or others -- are not messiahs, but mere vehicles for the change we do -- or do not -- force them to embrace. If Obama's moves force more people to learn that truism, then I think that's a positive silver lining to his disappointing shifts.

Jeralyn Merritt over at TalkLeft says I'm wrong -- that Obama isn't a transformative politician. What do you think? Do you think what I told the Times was right, and that Obama is transformative, but that his moves potentially undermine his brand? Or do you think I'm wrong, that Obama isn't really transformative, and that his moves prove that?

This is an ongoing series from the national tour for THE UPRISING. You can order The Uprising at or through your local independent bookstore.