Clinton, Obama and Edwards Need to "Put Up Or Shut Up"
January 12, 2008
Dan Froomkin raises an important question -- if the Democratic frontrunners all want to be considered agents of change, what exactly are they doing to change anything?
[R]eporters should be asking them a simple question: What kind of leadership are you showing right now? Why should we believe you have great leadership ability if you're not showing any on critical issues currently facing Congress and the nation?
By contrast to the Republican presidential candidates who talk as if President Bush doesn't exist (see my recent piece for NiemanWatchdog.org, Rating Bush on a scale of 1 to 10), the Democrats talk about him a lot. But they act as if he wasn't still very much in charge, still ramming legislation through Congress to fund his war in Iraq and generally subvert other key Democratic goals.
It's understandable that the presidential candidates themselves want to focus on what they would do once elected. And sure, being president is awfully different than being just one member of a political party whose majority, at least in the Senate, is tenuous. But to the extent that part of their promise to the American people is that they will be strong leaders, that they will have the courage of their convictions, and that they will reach across party lines and build working political coalitions - why shouldn't journalists ask for evidence in the here and now?