Ezra notices the start of one of my favorite election year tropes: sure politicians have all these goals, but how are they going to accomplish them?

But will Obama, amid the pulsating theatrics, also attempt the less glamorous and more difficult task of explaining specifically where he wants to move the country, and how he proposes to move it, above and beyond reciting his policy positions? History, as well as recent public-opinion polls, suggests that he badly needs to do so. As a lifelong Democrat who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during the primaries, I would like to see him succeed in fulfilling his promise.

It's never quite clear what this is supposed to mean, and Sean Wilentz comes to the same conclusion that people making this criticism always come to - Democrats can find their message by being more like Republicans. John McCain was tough and Obama was too liberal! And...and...yeah!

Nobody making this criticism, as of yet, has been able to articulate what they actually want from the Democrat in question to accomplish the stated goal. Stop talking about policy and start talking about how you're going to accomplish your policy - well, the educated guess probably resides in persuading the legislature to write and pass bills which the president then signs into law. During this process, he and dozens of surrogates will likely head out on the stump and into the media in order to drum up support for the measures which he's seeking. If that's the question they're actually asking (which it isn't), then there's the answer.