More than a year before he decided to run for president - before he was even considering it, based on what I've read - Barack Obama as a new US Senator in his first year in office was criticized by some people on Democratic-leaning blogs, regarding the confirmation of Justice Roberts to the Supreme Court.
Obama voted against Roberts, but he spoke out in support of some other Democratic Senators who voted for the confirmation, and he did not attempt to organize a filibuster. Because of the way Congressional Democrats had acquiesced to so many bad things the Bush administration had done in the previous five years, many people were upset at anything they saw as not fighting hard enough, not standing up to Bush and trying to stop him as he made yet another bad decision that would harm the country. Obama's actions seemed to many (though far from all) people on the lefty blogs to be part of this pattern.
Barack Obama, it turns out, was carefully reading the major blogs. In response to the criticsms of his conduct on the Roberts confirmation, he created an account for himself on Daily Kos, and wrote this essay - not only explaining why he did what he did in this instance, but his larger political outlook, his views on political strategy, and how his actions fit those views:
In his followup post, where he answered some of the comments, he added,
"Finally, some of you wondered whether I wrote the post myself. I did."
Now that he's become president, and his term begins with a high-profile "negotiation" with Congressional Republicans, and everyone's looking at what he says and does and commenting on it, I think it's well worth going back to this post for some context.