The notion that somehow changing the tone means simply that we let them say whatever they want to say or that there are no disagreements and that we’re all holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya’ is obviously not what I had in mind and not how I function. And anybody who thinks I have, hasn’t been paying attention. ~Barack Obama

When you get down to it, I guess I’m sympathetic toward Hillary but really, really wishing that Obama would give me a good reason to change my mind and support him instead. But he just never does. Domestic policywise he’s been fairly cautious and mainstream. On the foreign policy front he’s better than HRC, but only by a couple of notches. And his Kumbaya campaigning schtick leaves me cold. Worse than that, in fact: it leaves me terrified that he just doesn’t know what he’s up against with the modern Republican Party and won’t have the instinct to go for the jugular when the inevitable Swift Boating commences. ~Kevin Drum

Then there was this bit from Ryan Lizza’s mid-September article on the leading Democratic candidates:

Edwards dismisses Obama’s argument that more consensus is needed in Washington. The difference between them, Edwards told me, is the difference between “Kumbaya” and “saying, ‘This is a battle. It’s a fight.’ ” When I asked whether he’s a populist, he lifted a riff from his stump speech: “If it means you’re willing to stand up for ordinary people, the kind of people that I grew up with, against very powerful, entrenched interests, then yes, I am a populist.”

There seem to be a number of people, whose job it is to pay attention to and be engaged in politics, who think that there’s a bit too much Kumbaya-ism in Obama’s campaign.  As I’ve said before, you can hardly blame people for coming away with this impression when Obama has offered such a vague and non-descript vision.

In fairness, most people, including myself, who use the word Kumbaya as a way of mocking someone’s ridiculously optimistic worldview are doing a disservice to the song in question.  The song itself is a perfectly unremarkable spiritual folk song.  The drippy, saccharine nonsense that Obama offers is so much worse that it demeans the song to link the two together.