Rebutting a Newsweek Story on Obama

Sean Wilentz wrote in NEWSWEEK that he would like to see Barack Obama "succeed in fulfilling his promise" by winning in November. But nothing that follows in Wilentz's lengthy article suggests that he is sincere about that. Instead, Wilentz reveals himself as a bitter Hillary Clinton supporter, who has yet to come to terms with his candidate's defeat; and who is now completely out of step with Clinton, who told the Democratic convention, "No way. No how. No McCain! Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president."

As a respected Princeton historian and a committed Democrat, Wilentz should know better than anyone that now is the time when all Democrats must come together to defeat our real enemy: a Republican candidate who is pro-war, anti-choice, and so out of touch with the common man, he doesn't even know how many houses he owns. Otherwise, we will repeat one of the greatest tragedies our party has suffered in the last forty years: the razor-thin victory of Richard Nixon in 1968, which occurred after thousands of anti-war supporters of Eugene McCarthy refused to rally around Hubert Humphrey, after another exceptionally bitter primary season.

Instead of offering useful advice that might increase Obama's chances of winning, Wilentz has written a thinly disguised hatchet-job that could easily have been produced by the McCain attack machine. Consider these examples:

It's time for Wilentz to start focusing on the real Barack Obama—instead of repeating the caricature that he painted of him in the New Republic during the primary campaign. When Wilentz was a fervent supporter of Hillary Clinton for president, his distortions of Obama's positions were at least understandable. Now they can only be explained by his continuing bitterness over Clinton's defeat. Today he must follow Hillary's example, by making a genuine effort to put Barack Obama in the White House.