Carl Bloice: The words of a party’s platform and the declarations of its candidate don’t mean much in the real world of political wheeling and dealing.
Mary L. Dudziak: The no-change-during-wartime argument is an example of conventional thinking about war and American society. “Wartime” is imagined to be a temporary condition. It is a special kind of time. Wartime, by definition, is preceded and followed by “peacetime.” American history is thought to consist of the movement from peacetime to wartime and back again. In this conceptualization, wartimes always comes to an end.
Obama’s central concern is to be re-elected in 2012, and he appears convinced that to do so he must play ball with the forces for maintaining the status quo in domestic and foreign policies. Thus his key appointments are from the old guard of the Bush and Clinton administrations. He, he thinks, will carry out his “change we can believe in” during his second term.