October 24, 2012 9:24 P.M.
Let the pre-criminations begin! Clive Crook asks why on earth Obama ceded the center to Mitt Romney by running a class-warfare-based campaign. Crook sees Obama as a centrist mysteriously cowed by his party’s leftist base. I think we can clear this mystery up. Obama ran a leftist class-warfare campaign because…well, he’s a leftist class-warrior.
I’ve been struck by commentators on both right and left treating Obama’s leftist campaign as a matter of strict necessity. For a couple of years, conventional wisdom has held that the weak economy left Obama little choice but to turn this into a base election. Then conventional wisdom was upended by the conventions. Bill Clinton’s questionable but effective attempts to exonerate Obama from economic blame could easily have been combined with a centrist campaign–and presidency. Obama’s class-warfare campaign was a choice, not a necessity. But to see that is to suggest that Obama is a leftist by conviction, and many have been reluctant to do that.