Michael Scherer of Time Magazine has an interesting piece titled “The Permanent Campaign” which describes the millions of Obama backers who are staying involved (and connected) through Facebook, Meetup, and other online tools.

There’s no doubt that Obama has tapped into social networking in a way that has changed American politics.  Note to Republicans: ignore it at your own peril.  But what struck me as odd was Scherer’s assertion that “for the first time in decades, a President will enter office at the spearhead of a social movement he created.”

He’s definitely at the spearhead of a mood for change — no doubt about that.  And he certainly rallied the American people to his candidacy.  But I’m not understanding what this “social movement he created” is all about.

You could summarize Ronald Reagan’s mandate — and his governing philosophy — on an index card:  restore America’s military might and win the cold war; unshackle the economy by cutting taxes and regulation; and recommit the United States as the torchbearer for freedom around the globe.  That was Reaganism, and the amazing thing: he pretty much accomplished all three.

I couldn’t begin to summarize Obama’s governing philosophy in a book, let alone an index card.  Does change count as a governing principle? Is hope a mandate? Is “reaching across the aisle” code for some type of policy or initiative?  I have no clue.  I’m curious to see if there’s actually an Obamaism, and what that might be.  Maybe Scherer should report on that story.


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