Commentator and author Eric Alterman discusses whether Barack Obama is a progressive realist or a conservative with The Real News analyst Pepe Escobar.

ALTERMAN: If you want to lose. I have so little patience for the romanticism of left-wing romanticism with defeat. I want to win. I want to do the world some good. Let the other side blame themselves for being impure. Politics is about compromise. If you don’t want to compromise, you don’t want to do what’s necessary to get power, do something else.

ESCOBAR: So what you’re saying is that Barack at the moment is holding his cards very close to his chest. Is it?


ESCOBAR: Yeah. That’s it.

ALTERMAN: Well, yeah. I mean, you know, if Barack Obama is saying, “I’m a person of good values and good judgment who is broadly progressive, and I can win.” That’s a pretty good deal. Look what this country’s been doing for eight years. Look at what this country’s been doing since the election of Jimmy Carter, who didn’t work out very well. He’s the most progressive—he’s certainly running the most progressive campaign since Jimmy Carter, you know, as a Democrat nominee. And I think he’ll be the most effective president, if he wins, since Franklyn [sic] Roosevelt. So if he’s got to say a few things that I wish he didn’t feel he had to say, first of all he’s smarter than I am. He knows what he has to do and what [inaudible] better than I can figure it out. But I’m just so sick of saying, you know, “We’re pure and they won.” You know?

ESCOBAR: Yeah, sure.

Let’s see. In just the past week, among the “few things” Obama’s said was that the FISA bill with telecom immunity was more or less OK by him, that he thought Gen. Wesley Clark was wrong when he said that Sen. John McCain’s war record didn’t automatically qualify him for the White House, and that he might just keep Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on in his own cabinet.