It’s How You Go About It

There is some confusion out there, succinctly illustrated by, but not limited to, Michael van der Galien, as to the nature of the National Journal’s ranking Obama as the most liberal senator of 2007, and how that meshes with strong support among centrists, moderates, Indpendents, and even some Republicans and libertarians.

It’s true, on the surface, the two concepts don’t seem to add up all that well, but there are some factors to take into consideration that I think might clear this all up.

The very first thing to take into account is that the National Journal may not necessarily be the end all, be all of objective scientific analysis of a senator as Steve from the Carpetbagger report aptly points out.  Specifically, we are talking about how missed votes didn’t count against Senator Obama when perhaps they should have.

Still, I’m not overly bothered by the fact that Obama is in fact a liberal.  In a primary when far too many voices question his progressive bona fides, it’s kind of nice once in a while to be reminded that, yes, Obama tends to be in our camp.

Further, I don’t think Obama has pulled the wool over the eyes of a huge swath of people out there that don’t traditionally identify as progressive or liberal which is important in and of itself.

I think the big difference is how he goes about it, an attribute to his political style and philosophy that is perhaps contrasted in the greatest degree by John Edwards’ now bygone campaign.

Edwards, was a solid progressive, and he was combative about it.  So too is Hillary, and for many progressives this is seen as a positive given the warfare-like nature of American politics.  What attracts conservatives and centrists and indies and moderates to Obama is that he, at the very minimum, portrays a different perspective, one that isn’t so entrenched in right and wrong.

And this is a very decent and adult way to go about politics.  Yes, sometimes there is simply right and wrong, and there can never be an capitulation to that effect, but what people on all sides can seem to forget is that far more often things aren’t so black and white.

Some times people can be sorta wrong, or sorta right.  More often than not there really isn’t a right or a wrong, simply differing ideas and opinions and strangely enough sometimes those differing opinions are equally valid.  Other times, it is best to take parts of one idea, and mix it with parts of another idea.

This more adequately characterizes the kind of a liberal Obama tends to be.  Yes, there are instances when he draws the line and says this is right and this is wrong, but he also very rarely holds someone’s opinions or even ideology prohibitively against them.  For the most part, this is reserved for the current administration where a whole lot of people will tend to agree with him.

This is perhaps most important for crossover voters considering that Republicans still don’t think they have a chance at the White House.  There is still the floating meme out there, even though perhaps now it is not as loud as it once was, that George W. Bush doomed the Republican Party’s chances at the White House.

If you are looking from the perspective of the Republicans, at a situation where you know you are going to lose the White House and it’s a matter of picking between which ideological foe you would rather have in the Oval Office, wouldn’t you at least prefer the one that will give you a seat at the table?

One Response to “It’s How You Go About It”

  1. mick says:

    The idea that Barack Obama is a liberal is patently absurd. He is nothing of the sort, as Paul Street proved convincingly as early as last year and as I have been saying for months. He also explained concisely why both sides could be counted on to claim O as a lib:

    If the Democrats’ candidate in 2008 is Obama, we can be sure that the right-wing Republican noise machine will denounce the nation’s potential first non-white male president as a dangerous “leftist.” The charge will be absurd, something that will hardly stop numerous people on the portside of the narrow U.S. political spectrum from claiming Obama as a fellow “progressive.” Certain to be encouraged by Obama and his handlers, this confusion will reflect the desperation and myopia that shaky thinking and the limited choices of the U.S. electoral system regularly instill in liberals and some squishy near leftists.

    Obama is and has proven himself to be another DLC poster boy: friendly to authoritarians, dangerously naive about the real potential for “bipartisanship”, and yet another Dem corporate bootlicker. If you’re going to vote for either of these two phonies, you might as well be voting for Bush. Again.

    The US election system is now officially a joke, like something out of Paul Mazursky’s Moon Over Parador.

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