Running Against The President

Walter Shapiro recommends that the Democrats’ presidential hopefuls take Obama to task:

If you wait until late 2015 to criticize part of the president’s record, your dissent will come across as craven rather than courageous. Think of Hillary Clinton’s awkwardly distancing of herself from the Iraq War in 2008, even though Democratic primary voters knew that she had voted for it in the Senate. Howard Dean rose from nowhere in mid-2003 because he was the only major Democrat running who had been unalterably opposed to the invasion of Iraq from the beginning. Sometimes in presidential politics, when matters more than whether and right from the start trumps being correct right now.

That’s why 2013 is a perfect time to express skepticism about portions of the Obama record. If you say something now with the right tone, it will be perceived as a sincere expression of deep conviction. The longer you wait, the more poll-tested and political your critiques of Obama will be regarded.