The "Authentic Liberal"

Digby writes about poblano's piece in the LATimes and questions one of his premises. Poblano wrote:

The GOP will nominate a candidate who is widely perceived as being to the left of the party's conservative base, whereas the Democratic Party will again pick a standard-bearer more authentically liberal than centrist.

Digby responds:

I agree that McCain was chosen because he wasn't perceived as a doctrinaire Republican, but is it true that Obama was chosen because he's more authentically liberal than centrist? I thought he was running as someone who was beyond labels --- a post-partisan whose vision was to transcend partisanship altogether. The problem is that these Independent voters still see McCain as a moderate while they see Obama as a raging liberal. The post-partisanship hasn't sold to them the way it was supposed to, at least not yet.

More . . .

It is interesting that despite the Post-Partisan Unity Schtick, Obama remains a "raging liberal" in the perception of many. In 2006, Matt Yglesias wrote:

It's been my view that Hillary Clinton is a politician whose public image is more liberal than the reality, whereas Barak Obama is more liberal than his image and that this is a good reason to favor Obama.

That is most certainly not true now, if it ever really was. In fact, in September 2007, Yglesias wrote:

Clinton is garnering high-levels of support from less-educated Democrats (as Brooks notes) through a campaign heavily focused on the theme of partisanship -- on her years of cut-throat battles with the right, on the idea that the Clintons know how to kick GOP ass, and implicitly on the notion that there aren't big ideological differences between the different Democrats in the race.

As for Obama, he has become what Yglesias says is the least desirable, his reality has him moving center while his image has him moving Left. Obama is perceived more and more as an "Authentic Liberal" and is acting less and less like one. All the while, Obama has argued vigorously for virtually no substantive policy, other than sticking to his plan to withdrawal from Iraq. He could become an "Authentic Liberal" President with no mandate to do anything actually liberal. It is interesting that Yglesias has never revisited his thesis on this.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    McCain has spent years branding himself (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by tigercourse on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:08:36 AM EST
    as a bipartsian, reach accross the isle, by God get things done sort of fella. Obama's just starting out at that game.

    Strong branding (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:19:41 AM EST
    versus weak branding.  Strong branding always wins.

    I like Al Gore because I perceive him as a known quantity.  Strong branding there, very strong.

    I like Hillary Clinton because I think I know what she stands for and will fight for.  Not as strong a brand as Al Gore, but still firm.

    I'm not fond of Barack Obama because his only strong brand was based on intangibles like Hope and Change.  Unity is somewhat measurable and...well, no one has yet branded Obama the Great Unifier yet.  When it comes to issues that are important to many people like accountability(FISA) and health care, Obama's stands are vague and shifting.  His branding on those is so weak that it is almost negative.

    The basic strategy of campaigning is to brand yourself as strongly and positively as possible and to brand your competition as strongly and negatively as possible.  Few politicians have a brand strong enough to win on positive campaigning alone.  Gore is about the only one I can think of and he's a "recovering politician".


    Almost negative? (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oldpro on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:33:12 AM EST



    You mean Gore as he is today, not in 2000... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Shainzona on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:49:41 AM EST

    At least Al Gore ran on issues in 2000 (4.66 / 3) (#28)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:50:46 AM EST
    Lockbox... (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:59:52 AM EST
    for good or bad, at least he stood up and fought for it.

    Exactly what came to mind (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:04:03 AM EST
    Well. . . (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:25:13 AM EST
    McCain frequently refers to himself as a conservative Republican, and always has.  The small amount of comity he's shown with Democrats is just the way it used to be.  He's no paragon of bipartisanship and I don't think he's ever claimed to be.

    Obama, on the other hand, has stressed his work-with-the-other side credentials since his time in the Illinois State Senate.

    I'm always surprised how little people listen to what the candidates actually say.  It happened with Obama disciples in the primary (he was always quite honest that he was a Chicago politician, with all that implies) and it's happening with anti-Obama Clintonaderites now who venture the opinion that McCain might somehow be better than Obama.  I mean, just listen to the guy.  He'll set you right.


    Don't accuse me of not listening when you (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by tigercourse on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:28:58 AM EST
    are too inatentive to know that I am not a "Clintonaderite". McCain is seen as a moderate maverick. That's just the truth.

    And Obama can say whatever he wants but that doesn't change the fact that he is only just starting out. Branding takes time.


    I know that. . . (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:07:00 AM EST
    McCain is perceived as a "maverick".  But he isn't, that's my point.  It's a media construct.  He himself is quite clear about his true beliefs and positions -- he may occasionally try to blur the difference, but if you look at his actual statements it's quite clear.

    And I didn't mean to brand you as a Clintonaderite (or as an Obama disciple either).  It's just that the issue you raised is one of my pet peeves about people who really don't listen to what their candidates actually say.  Although I disagree with you that McCain is a bipartisan maverick, I don't think you're one of those people.  Sorry for insulting you inadvertently.


    tell that to the ordinary voter (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Salo on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:21:56 AM EST
    in less than 100 days though.

    not a media construct.... (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:47:42 AM EST
    McCain's strong 'maverick' branding comes (primarily) from his 2000 race, when he ran against the GOP establishment's "chosen one", and took on the religious right.

    In other words, its not a media construct; rather its an 'earned' branding that has been tarnished by eight years of towing the GOP line on behalf of a Republican president.

    The other crucial thing about McCain that progressives miss is that they think that "maverick" is supposed to mean that he's a "liberal" or something.  That isn't what "maverick Republican" means to the general public -- rather it signifies that McCain was not identified with the GOP establishment and the worst of the GOP right-wing.

    Earned or not, McCain's "branding" is that of someone who will work to achieve bi-partisan solutions.  (and I would suggest that those who say that McCain should be attacked on his support of Bushco are making a huge mistake, because McCain can respond by pointing to his long record of 'working with the other side'.  Indeed, there are probably a lot of quotes piled up for McCain from prominent democrats praising him for his bipartisanship, etc.... and you will see those quotes the minute Obama tries to tie McCain to Bushco too closely.)


    McCain's earlier immigration reform (none / 0) (#101)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:34:38 AM EST
    stance and his campaign finance reform bill were most unpopular with the Republican politicos though and did represent "reaching across the aisle."

    Except (none / 0) (#103)
    by CST on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:39:18 AM EST
    Now he says he wouldn't even vote for his own bill.

    I really liked him on immigration reform, it was the one area where Bush also got it right.  Too bad he had to abandon that to appeal to right-wingers.


    McCain is a phony (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:37:41 AM EST
    but it takes a tough pol to rip the bark off of him.

    If Bush was not dead in the water and dragging McCain down with him, he would be winning this election.

    After a promising start, the Obama campaign is floundering. They have to get tough.


    Honestly BTD, the Obama campaign (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:44:46 AM EST
    is acting just like is was in the spring when it kept losing primaries.

    Very concerning to me.


    McCain's longterm strategy: run AGAINST Bush (4.66 / 3) (#38)
    by Ellie on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:01:06 AM EST
    First McCain will paint Obama as another Bush: an untried, uncredentialed, self-involved, croney- and sycophant-surrounded flake who's more interested in working out at the gym, having empty photo ops and schmoozing at fund raisers than doing the hard work of leadership.

    McCain will also run against (Democratic-controlled) Congress, using Obama as an example of what's wrong with it. (Obama was too "bored" to serve out his term or even bother to hold hearings on Afghanistan.)

    What he's doing now is letting Obama hoist himself on his own petard.

    The petulant whining about another perceived grievance while the country goes down the tubes? Mmm-hmmm, seems we've been down that road -- er, right now.


    i have to say the perception of (none / 0) (#113)
    by hellothere on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 05:11:05 PM EST
    complaining while "rome" burns leaves most people saying no way. i felt that way toward repubs when they ran on their gay marriage and other hot buttons and i feel that way with this continued bruhaha about race. i think it is a bad choice.

    the working-across-the-aisle thing (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by ccpup on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:42:52 AM EST
    Obama is and has been pushing may be a very, very weak and possibly dubious brand by now.

    What voters have seen in the past week is Obama playing the race card -- a recent poll showed more voters believing what Obama said was playing the race card than the McCain ad he was responding to -- as well as being reminded of how cut-throat and cruel Obama and his campaign was to the Clintons in the Primary.  

    Americans may be many things, but we do believe in being fair and honest and know the difference between right and wrong.  And what Obama did -- and what they're being reminded of him doing -- was wrong.

    With all of that in their still evolving knowledge of Who Obama Is, how are they supposed to believe he'll now be trusted as someone who will work across the aisle?  I suspect many are now seeing him as just the kind of politician he promised everyone he wasn't.  Not good for continuing his Hope and Change brand.  

    Besides, once voters feel like they've been fooled or, even worse, lied to, they begin tuning the candidate out.

    Not good if you're relatively new and aiming for the highest Office in the land.


    The problem with "working across... (5.00 / 5) (#31)
    by Shainzona on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:55:12 AM EST
    the aisle" for Obama is that what's across the aisle is so repugnant that voters don't want what they're offering.

    Look at the Dem congressional numbers - we expected that the 2006 congress would stand up to these bozos and they haven't...so all BO is offering is what congress has done...NOTHING!

    And since he is inexperienced (unqualified!) we rightly fear the things that he will propose and then compromise on...I mean, he'll cave on women's rights and then give the Repugs a little more.  We'll be back in chastity belts before too long.


    I often say (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by ccpup on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:20:16 AM EST
    the anti-Bush, anti-Republican, Change Election was 2006 when the Voters gave the Dems the House and Senate.  And the Dems failed miserably.

    I don't know that the American People are necessarily going to fall for the Dem Spin that putting the Country in the hands of an inexperienced, first term Senator with little legislative accomplishment under his belt all because he has a (D) behind his name is the way to go.

    And, judging by Obama's inability to win the Swing States during the Primary as well as the clear repudiation by those core members of the Dem Base (blue-collar and rural voters as well as women), it appears as if this is one clear case where the Voters had a clear preference which contradicted what the Party Leaders had decided.  

    And that's why they'll lose in November.  The Voters just don't want Obama.


    it seems obama wants to cozy up to the (none / 0) (#114)
    by hellothere on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 05:12:20 PM EST
    evangelical repubs. it will leave many saying "what does he support?"

    His time in the ILL State senate? (5.00 / 7) (#30)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:52:12 AM EST
    I'm always amused when Obama's IL state senate record is used as part of his set of qualifications.  As I undersyand it, since the dems were not in power in the IL state senate until Obama's last year there, he actually got nothing accomplished there in those years.  And, if the dems were not ic control, I guess he would have no choice BUT to work with the other side.

    Then, in his last year there the dems took control of the senate.  And the dem leader of the senate, Emil Jones, proceeded to build a resume for Obama by taking legilation away from those senators who had spent their time working on it and giving it to Obama to claim as his own work.

    As far as I can tell, this habit of claiming credit for work you didn't actually do continues through his record in the US Senate.  there were reports earlier in the primary about two specific incidents where Obama claimed credit for senate bills he did not work on.  And, more recently, didn't he make a claim to the Senate Banking Cmte?

    Obama's work with the other side credentials in the US Senate?  Maybe recently with his vote on FISA and his newfound support for off shoore drilling.  But, prior to his moves he has been making toward the center now in preparation for the general election, his claims of bi-partisanship have fond little supporting documentation by the media when you look at his actual voting record.  I have not read any reports where Obama was found to have broken with his party line stance to support any bi-partisan efforts other than the one he always talks up, the ethics reform, which now reqquires politicians to stand up to eat their free lobbyist food.


    you got it (5.00 / 4) (#65)
    by ccpup on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:34:13 AM EST
    and don't think for one second that this:  

    "taking legilation away from those senators who had spent their time working on it and giving it to Obama to claim as his own work"

    isn't going to find it's way into the Public's common knowledge by November.  It melds quite nicely into the fairly quiet message behind the Celebrity Ad:  Obama being given the Rewards without having done the Work.

    It's just part of the over-arching theme the McCain camp is expertly building.  One that Barack isn't going to be able to dust off his shoulder or wipe off his shoe.  

    Now, if he had the strong support of his Party and it's Base behind him, he could survive it relatively unscathed.  But he doesn't, so ...

    Guess we'll wait and see.


    Clintonaderite? (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by dianem on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:27:08 AM EST
    That's a new one to me. Could you please define it. I hope it isn't as insulting as it sounds. I hope it doesn't mean that Obama's fans are trying to conflate former supporter's of Clinton who won't vote for Obama with Nader voter's. Nader voter's were voting for "change", I'm simply refusing to vote for a candidate who promises change but practicies old school politics.

    oh, I think it's safe to say (5.00 / 4) (#69)
    by ccpup on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:36:51 AM EST
    the Unity Pony has been put out to pasture by now.

    And they still think we're going to vote for Obama after they keep gifting us with these creative names?



    A new one to me to. . (none / 0) (#94)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:55:49 AM EST
    I just made it up in that comment.

    It means someone who argues either

    - that there is no difference between Barack Obama and John McCain


    - in order to achieve real reform we have to punish voters with continued Republican rule so that they'll finally learn to vote Democratic.

    That is, it refers to someone who applies Naderite philosophy to the Obama / McCain race because they supported Clinton and she lost.


    I guess I missed those arguments (none / 0) (#107)
    by dianem on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 12:55:49 PM EST
    Most of the people I've seen who aren't voting for Obama are doing so simply because they think he's a phony, when it comes right down to it. They can generally provide a list of reasons they don't like Obama even if they also don't like McCain. Some feel that it is okay to vote for McCain because they dislike Obama so much. I don't. Of course, I only read heavily and post here and on Salon, so my views might not be complete. Both of those reasons, imo, are not realistic.

    repub rule? they didn't do it all by (none / 0) (#115)
    by hellothere on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 05:14:04 PM EST
    themselves. the king makers in the dem party were holding hands and voting yes all that time.

    You are confusing a discussion about image -- (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by esmense on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:39:54 AM EST
    -- that is, perception -- with assertions about reality.

    No one has been advocating for John McCain. They've just been noting that his political image, or "brand," is more clearly established in the public mind. Whether that image matches well with reality is another discussion altogether. (Manufactured political images rarely do match up well with reality -- but I will note this; in 2004 Democratic leaders believed enough in McCain's bi-partisan image to consider asking him to join the ticket with John Kerry.)

    The simple truth is, and I say this as a marketing and advertising professional, not a partisan, the Obama campaign used some strategies and tactics that served them well in the short term during the primaries but weren't useful in, and in some cases have worked against, creating a clear, positive brand and argument for their candidate (and his party) in the long term. And so far (as clearly demonstrated by the polls), they haven't been able to adjust and make a new, clear, strong and effective argument for their guy in the general.

    The voters want to throw the bums out and vote for a "D" this time around. And that alone may carry Obama over the threshold. People have a lot of good reasons for wanting to vote against Republicans. But the route to victory would be a lot more assured if Obama was doing a better job of giving enough people enough good reasons for putting him, personally, in charge of the country.


    it helps that he's actually (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by kredwyn on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:24:22 AM EST
    co-authored legislation with big name Libs (Feingold and Kennedy).

    One more downside (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Demi Moaned on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:13:18 AM EST
    I agree with your description of Obama giving us the worst of both worlds
    his reality has him moving center while his image has him moving Left.

    The corollary to that is that Obama's failures (whether electoral or governance) will be attributed to an excess of liberalism-- i.e., the left will take the fall without having our policies tried in any thorough-going way.

    So true (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:41:58 AM EST
    If he loses, there is no way it will be attributed to being too centrist.  And if he wins, he will attribute it to his centrism, and won't go very far out on a limb to implement liberal policies.  

    I truly think liberalism is pretty much dead in this country as a practical political force.


    Not dead but supressed (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Demi Moaned on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:14:41 AM EST
    Many of the actual policies that we who gather under the progressive umbrella advocate enjoy a wide degree of popular support according to the polls. But the political and pundit class have agreed to treat all these positions as shrill and unserious (to use Greenwald's terminology).

    This is the gist of the valid criticism embedded in Nader's quixotic and narcissistic Presidential campaigns.

    It also seems to be the theme of The Uprising, the new book by David Sirota, who seems to think that there's a great reservoir of popular feeling waiting to be tapped.


    Clinton (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by Mike H on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:21:45 AM EST
    To be honest, it seems to me that, especially in the waning months of her campaign, Hillary became an excellent voice for all those progressive policies you allude to -- the progressive umbrella.  

    Far more effective than most of the other candidates, including Kucinich or Edwards, who are usually seen as progressive faves.


    Not If The Left Fights For Its Platform (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by daring grace on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:18:46 AM EST
    I'm not suggesting it's a slam dunk.

    Far from it.

    But if we liberals (progressives, lefties) want our ideas and policies implemented we have to keep making noise and keep finding new and improved ways to influence, not only Obama, but also the timid souls, our alleged allies, in Congress.

    I want to see Obama elected because if he is, and if the Dems manage to win more seats in both houses, we have our best chance in a long time to not only turn around the excesses of the Bush Cheney era but also...maybe...enact some progressive reform.

    Uphill battle, no doubt about it. But a little more possible with a Dem executive branch, stronger majorities in the Dem legislative and maybe even a few better sitting judges along the way.

    And it's infinitely more constructive than re-living past feuds and endlessly doing the 'He's wonderful./He's abominable." two step.


    That's the spirit (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Demi Moaned on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:28:03 AM EST
    We need to keep on fighting. Frankly, if I didn't believe it was possible, I wouldn't bother even paying attention to all this stuff.

    But I'm even more skeptical of the "stronger majorities in the Dem legislative" part of your formula than I am of an Obama Presidency given the behavior of the current Congress and the likelihood that a lot of the "gains" on the Democratic side will include a lot of the reactionary types that already dominate the caucus.


    Yep, Battle Fatigue (none / 0) (#96)
    by daring grace on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:06:27 AM EST
    Battle EXHAUSTION.

    I know what you mean about Congress. Too bad there are few centrist or lefter Repubs around any more. The parties used to sometimes make intriguing progressive voting coalitions in the sixties.

    I've gone through all the variations of reaction:

    Withdraw and focus exclusively on putting my energies into making my own life and that of my family and friends better.

    Then, I find myself expanding that to my neighborhood, city etc. Trying to fix the incredibly dysfunctional local Dem/progressive apparatus.

    Eventually, every 4 years I find myself back here, trying to support a very imperfect candidate who somewhat, not much shares my values.

    I've gotten revved up for Obama, but he is still imperfect and I will (sigh) try and make the best of it. Every so often there are small victories and yes, I feel kinda pathetic clinging to those for hope. But I comfort myself that what the other side wants is for all of us good fighters to lose heart and stop.

    Don't wanna give them the satisfaction!


    Been there, done that most of my life (5.00 / 3) (#87)
    by Ellie on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:39:37 AM EST
    Not doing it anymore.

    My "reward" from the Dems has been to keep hearing that it was never the right time to stand up for these core Dem principles -- what with those mean Repugs out there.

    However, it was very very VERY important for ME to do a sh!tload of activism, raise money, give money and so on while said pointless Dem politicked with the Repugs.

    Now I'm hearing that someday, maybe when Obama's little girls are all growed up, women can have SOME of our inalienable human rights too -- if we work hard of course.

    Ah, no thanks. I'll support issues groups over this lifeblood and energy sucking political vortex. At least I know my support is going directly towards something I believe in rather than holding up an empty suit.


    Don't Support Party Or Candidate (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by daring grace on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:22:43 AM EST
    if you don't.

    I'm only a Democrat in party registration because it's the only way I can vote in primaries in my state. Intermittently, they do something I can get behind.

    I'm no Obama cheerleader. I don't want to (and will not try to) persuade anyone to vote for him or even not to vote for McCain.

    What you're saying is exactly what I'm suggesting. If you opt into the 2 party dominated process then keep working to find ever more effective ways to make them do the job you want them to do.

    If not, then, as you suggest put all this energy into the causes you believe in. What I am most against is people succumbing to despair and taking their talents out of the fight.

    So, even though we disagree about Obama., I applaud your commitment to keep fighting for issues that matter to you.


    just one more reason, (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by cpinva on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:19:45 AM EST
    as if i needed one, that i'm thankful va has a write-in option on its ballot.

    The corollary to that is that Obama's failures (whether electoral or governance) will be attributed to an excess of liberalism-- i.e., the left will take the fall without having our policies tried in any thorough-going way.

    the sad bottom line: sen. obama has no solid image, he's a shifting cipher. is this really what the democratic party wants as its official nominee?

    since Obama has a short record (none / 0) (#74)
    by Josey on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:43:17 AM EST
    and list of accomplishments and even pushes the meme he's an "unknown" quantity, perhaps he had planned to ride on the coattails of the "successful" Dem 110th Congress??

    Obama's short record coupled with a campaign based on personality, not issues, doesn't give him the luxury of changing positions he's only held publicly for a few months.

    His numerous flip flops during the past 2 months leave the public wondering what he actually stands for. It's the flipping and flopping that  troubles voters. And even though McCain has done some flipping and flopping - it's viewed as necessary "in these times" becuase he actually has a record.
    CW says - it's better to monitor a stable target we don't always agree with than a constantly moving target like Obama.
    I'm beginning to realize why the Obama campaign stressed his vague "hope and change" to his supporters, rather than a focus on issues that Obama will flip on for political expediency.


    the short answer is yes! so now what? (none / 0) (#116)
    by hellothere on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 05:16:49 PM EST
    let them get away with it? they won't change if we do. so there is the question. and just saying vote for obama because he is a democrat leaves me cold.

    Reality vs. image (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by oldpro on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:31:00 AM EST
    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    Obama convinced the anti-war and liberal/progressive left that he was their guy.  Now whiplash gives pain to this base as day by day, reality dawns on them and they are stuck with him...as are we all.

    Still, his  most rabid supporters, the true believers, insist that he's a secret liberal!  No wonder he's stuck with that label for the general election.  He cultivated it to beat Clinton.

    My head hurts.

    BTD, you pinpoint what bothers me most (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by kempis on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:32:42 AM EST
    Again, for the benefit of those who assume that if one is critical of Obama, one must support McCain, I intend to vote for Obama.

    But this is what troubles me. As BTD writes:

    "All the while, Obama has argued vigorously for virtually no substantive policy, other than sticking to his plan to withdrawal from Iraq. He could become an 'Authentic Liberal' President with no mandate to do anything actually liberal."

    I keep wondering what people who are excited about an Obama presidency expect him to accomplish. What policies are his priorities? We know he'll readily compromise, but which stands on issues are non-negotiable for him? Any? What is his bottom line?

    How can people be enthusiastic about a candidate whose positions and core beliefs are so nebulous?

    I'm truly curious about this and would appreciate hearing from Obama-supporters who see him fighting for certain issues and policies. What are they?

    Obama (none / 0) (#95)
    by CST on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:56:44 AM EST
    He came out pretty hard for the fair pay act, which he co-sponsored.  I wish that had gotten more play, but it didn't pass unfortunately.  He is actually very strong on civil rights issues, and I don't see that changing.

    I do think he is a "compromiser".  However, Bill Clinton was also a "compromiser", and fairly centrist and Bush really wasn't.  So I don't know that this is a bad thing.  Then again Clinton had to deal with a Republican congress and Obama hopefully won't.

    To be honest, I haven't been "enthusiastic" about Obama for a while, however, I do think he has the potential to be a good president, and I know McCain will continue the downward spiral this country is currently on.


    Rose colored glasses (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:35:59 AM EST
    It still amazes me that the media or anyone can call Obama a liberal. He has a very short record in the Senate but it's far from a bleeding liberal. Anyone who votes for the Cheney energy bill, FISA and has supported every bill to fund the war, isn't exactly a screaming liberal!

    I'm not positive but didn't he also vote for the Patriot Act?

    Where as: McCain, in spite of his right wing voting record, is seen as this maverick that defies party lines. (Even though he caved to party pressure on immigration, taxes and torture).

    Are we really that gullable?

    See Dennis Kucinich (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:45:38 AM EST
    if you want a flaming liberal to compare Obama with.

    I love ol' Dennis.  He was such an ally in the primary wars.  "AUMF is the hugest deal ever?  Kucinich voted against it - so you voted for him, right?".  Heh.

    I almost voted for Kucinich myself.


    yes (none / 0) (#59)
    by kimsaw on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:23:38 AM EST
    Sad Isn't it! (none / 0) (#77)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:47:36 AM EST
    I feel that way when I see polls jumping 10 or 20 points in a week. Or that now the 70% that thought the Iraq war was a great idea now think it was a big mistake!

    liberal? (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Miri on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:42:04 AM EST
    Obama is not running as a liberal or moderate or centrist. He is not running on ideas or policy. He is running on "lets get along" unattainable post partisanship.

    He has trapped himself into a corner. If he attacks McCain he looks like just another partisan politician. If he doesn't attack he looks week.

    The GOP has no such problem. They have ideas and no matter how unpopular they defend their ideas and attack their opponents with zeal. They are not trying to get along. They want to fight and win. They make no apologies.

    Of Course He's Running on Ideas and Policy (none / 0) (#90)
    by daring grace on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:44:06 AM EST
    Detroit Free Press, today.

    NY Times

    Boston Globe


    To cite just a few references. And, of course, there is the ever-popular suggestion: Look at his web site.

    It's nonsense to suggest Obama is not running on ideas or policy. Easy to get distracted by the grace notes of imagery and bio that suffuse the campaign.

    But, hey, here is (as people around here point out so often) an unknown senator who has had to run against two 'household names', Clinton and McCain. People think they know Clinton and McCain, rightly or wrongly. And here is this (Yes, I'm sorry. I have to say it) young AA man with the foreign name.

    So he HAS to package and promote an image to acquaint the voters with him. Just as every single politician has always done. But he's putting his policies out there too.


    Hard right hugging, anti-Const BO is no liberal (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Ellie on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:50:53 AM EST
    ... nor is he a friend to liberals. Stumping for weeks with anti-choice, anti-contraception deadbeats is the kind of anti-liberal hatemongering that ends up killing women, children and young people.

    Real liberals don't spend months "uniting" with the hard right as a power ploy. He's damaged liberal causes irreparably with his months of fomenting sexism and trivializing bigotry against groups (of all creeds and colors) who suffer racism, but now it's only Obama who "suffers".

    His frivolous use of racism as a cudgel for personal gain will be his undoing.

    And yes, he's arrogant. Shame on his supporters for pretending that the criticism is racist in nature, when Obama's campaign has been littered with sleazy examples of it.

    Arrogance is saying, without irony on the Daily Show, that his rival (who was running neck and neck with him at the time) was giving him a good workout and was like Spring Training for him.

    Misogynistic "Liberal" Jon Stewart admiringly gushed over this sincerely sincere moment from Obama and didn't call him out on the vomitous arrogance of this, cause bigotry against women is okay if you have a black BFF or are black yourself.

    This true blue liberal has no guilt about what this campaign has devolved into: Dems tossed me out, TeamO says voters like me aren't necessary, Rahm says stay home blah blah blah.

    I'm no longer involved in this travesty except to point out: Obama is NO LIBERAL.

    I won't stand by and let any disasters rippling from this to be blamed on liberals.

    I saw John Stewart's Daily Show (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:06:39 AM EST
    last night and was very please at his take on McCain's "Paris Hilton" ad.  He laughed at the claims that tere was any "coded message" in that ad just because it included two young white women along side a black man.  Then he showed a pic on the screen from CNN.  There were three pundits on the screen.  One black mand and two white women.  Stewart then said, that CNN must have been being sending out the "coded message" by showing two white women with a black man.  Then he showed a pic from a segment on "The View" with a black male comedian sitting on a couch with three of the hostesses, two of whom were white.  Again, Stewart said, this must be another example of coded race messages.

    Stewart moved on to criticize a different pundit who claimed that the pics shown in McCain's commercial contained phallic symbols to also make anpther "coded" message meaning that the black man was going to take all our white women.  The pundit named the two sysbols as the leaning tower of pisa and the washington monument.  The problem with his analysis, as Stewart ponited out, was the pics were not of those two described, they were of the monument in Germany.  And, they were in the shots because Obama chose to make that monument the backdrop from his speech.

    The whole thing really highlighted just how far people can go to find examples of "coded messages" when they are LOOKING for them.


    that ad (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:09:17 AM EST
    did not hurt Obama much.  but their reaction to it is killing him.  

    I think I'm commenting more (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:15:43 AM EST
    on those outisde the Obama campaign that are still trying to push the idea that there actually was a "racially coded message" in that ad.

    I believe many really believe that and they believe that even though that message was undeniably tere, it was still amistake for Obama to react to it.

    For heaven's sake, Gergen has now been on CNN claiming that including "Moses" in "The One" video clip on the net is now racial code for "uppity".  Just how many code words are there uppity anyway?

    I believe polling data shows that the public says BOTH it wasn't there and it was a problem for Obama to react to it the way he did.


    yeah (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:19:48 AM EST
    I mean his supporters reaction even more than the campaigns.  they kept playing, and laughing at, Bob Herbert last night.
    that rant by Gergen was unbelievable.  um, Im from the south, as were many people watching and being offended by that, and I can tell you he doesnt know what the hell he is talking about

    on laughing at Bob Herbert (none / 0) (#53)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:20:47 AM EST
    I never had a lot of admiration for Juan Williams until lately.  he has been a breath of fresh air.

    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:34:37 AM EST
    that Juan as been one ofthe "fair" pundits.  Eugene Robinson, on the other hand, has no credibility.  He latest article, which i readon RealClearPolitics, is still arguing that the "coded messages" were there in everything Clinton camp ever said.....

    this is the crap (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:38:00 AM EST
    that is killing Obama.  the Robinson/Herbert crap exactly.

    During the primary, many Obama supporters (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by tigercourse on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:22:56 AM EST
    were absolutely sure that the Clinton camp had darkened photos of Obama and they went around screaming about it. That's a very bad road to go down in the general election.

    Polling I've suggest that those (none / 0) (#82)
    by Radix on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:05:27 AM EST
    who believe the Hilton ad was racists is less than 25%, some as low as 18. On the other hand, those thinking Obama played the race card poll around 50%.

    LMAO! Haven't tuned into TDS for awhile ... (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Ellie on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:19:17 AM EST
    Too much of the 'humor' during Obama's extortion-based campaign rested on accepting that HRC (AKA The Clintons) and their suppoerters were clearly racist.

    (How pathetic is it that Stewart had to tell his audience it was okay to laugh at a bit that criticized Teh One?)

    If the Koolaid's wearing off Stewart, maybe I'll start watching again.


    I forgot, it was even funnier (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:46:42 AM EST
    when at te end Stewart wondered just what the people in Obama's own camp were thinking when they set up his podium.  Right there in front of Obama as he spoke were two microphones that looked, to the trained eye, like a phallic symbol with two big black balls attached.  Stewart said they were making him the black candidate with big black balls.  it went on and on and i just kept laughing....

    Sadly, I fully expect that (none / 0) (#93)
    by Valhalla on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:54:17 AM EST
    now his supporters will start writing about how CNN and The View are codedly racist, and use it of proof that the media is actually against Obama.

    I love how any supporter (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 01:45:30 PM EST
    becomes "his supporters" becomes Obama himself.

    Of course, he's so arrogant (little boy in a man's body, only interested in one thing etc) that he would just HAVE to subsume all phenomena to himself -- what he actually does or says dosnt matter.


    even better is how (none / 0) (#117)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 07:08:47 AM EST
    "his supporters" keep claiming that nothing done even by his official campaign staff is attributable to Obama unless Obama actually said it himself, in the EXACT words claimed, and we have video footage of it.

    But, on the other hand Obama supporters are allowed to infer or imply whatever they want to anyone else.


    Ellie (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by sarahfdavis on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:12:41 AM EST
    Right there with ya' sister. He repulses me at this point and the people that cheer him on aren't far behind.
    George Bush is a sadistic mother f*cker but doesn't hide it. He wears it like a badge of honor.
    But Obama pretends to be 'better than the rest' and will lead us all to some sugary undefined place that we're all longing for... the thing is he's as nasty as Bush.
    The profound deceit is some of the most cynical, ugly stuff I've ever seen in politics.

    Not all evangelicals are (3.00 / 2) (#109)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 01:36:03 PM EST
    "anti-choice", "anti-contraception deadbeats", nor are they all members of "the Hard Right"; but no sense letting a little thing like facts get in the way of another hysteria-induced McPuma rant.

    Lets see some ACTUAL EXAMPLES Of Obama "fomenting sexism" and "using racism as a cudgel" that dont derive from your Primary-traumatized fantasy life, and, or, any-old-anonymous-blogger who claims to be an Obama supporter.

    Lets face it, the REAL "arrogance" was daring to oppose, and, eventually trouncing, Our Lady of The Center Right, in the primary. Everything since is just confirmation seen through a blind rage distorted lense.


    Ideas (5.00 / 5) (#32)
    by Miri on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:55:34 AM EST
    Obama's groupies say this election is like 1980 and Obama will transform the governing philosophy of the country like Reagan.

    I remember 1980. Reagan did not run on feel good homilies like "lets all get along" "lets end partisanship" "civility". He ran on ideas like shrinking govmt, ending regulation, cutting taxes, increasing defense spending, ending welfare. He launched an all out partisan attack on Democrats and demonized liberals.

    Reagan was no uniter. He aimed to polarize and divide.

    They want Reagan's iconic stature (none / 0) (#88)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:39:40 AM EST
    for Obama.

    They don't seem to know that The Reagan Myth and Reagan, Conservative Icon were carefully constructed by the right wing noise machine (aka the Mighty Wurlitzer).  In other words, the Reagan that they talk about is a fictional construct.


    Trapped by the primaries (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Mike H on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:58:15 AM EST
    I think part of the problem is that he and his surrogates spent so much time painting Clinton as too moderate.  Heck, some of the blogs did -- and still do! -- claim that she is a neocon.  So Obama became the "true liberal" in the spin.

    McCain did similarly in the primaries, only in the opposite direction -- he was widely perceived as too moderate for the rightwing base, and spent the primaries tacking rightward.  Now that he won the nod, he's betting that most people will still think of him as the moderate, and ignore a lot of what he said and did to win the primaries.  And he seems to be right, since he spend decades cultivating the moderate, party maverick brand, most polls show that people still think of him that way, in spite of his primary campaign.

    Obama, however was too much of an unknown prior to the primaries, to most Americans anyway.  So he was defined during his fight with Clinton, and a lot of people formed their first, strongest impressions of him -- and this was as "more liberal than Hillary Clinton".

    Now -- outside of the blogosphere -- what is the opinion of Hillary Clinton?  She's been branded as a liberal, over and over, by the rightwing press.  For two decades.

    So Obama comes to the general election fight as the "Democrat who was more liberal than the very liberal Hillary Clinton".

    This will make it hard for him to recapture the moderate image from McCain, since he doesn't have the long history of branding that McCain does.

    Now, I'm not convinced that Obama was ever a true liberal, certainly not "more" liberal than Clinton -- but its the spin that makes the difference, and the branding of Obama (as the "more liberal") may have helped him win the primaries but it may not be as successful in the general election.

    In the primaries (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:10:20 AM EST
    Obama spent his time painting Clinton as the one who would "do or say anything to win".  She had no ethics or principles.

    Now, Obama has done nothing but move toward the center right in order to "win" among the independants.

    He has become, or maybe always was, exactly what he accused Hillary of and claimed was her worst trait.


    there was a segment on FOX last night (none / 0) (#46)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:14:18 AM EST
    (ok, I watch FOX now) that put together all the positions Obama has taken (read flip floped) recently that he criticized Hillary for taking during the primary.
    it was pretty funny.  it went on and on.
    some of them were pretty much word for word lifted from Hillary speeches.  Im sure it will show up on you tube.

    you mean like (none / 0) (#49)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:19:08 AM EST
    tell everyone that Clinton's "Gas Tax Holiday" was nothing more than pandering and what needs to happen is to start implementing long-term solutions, which apparently he didn't believe Clinton supported any long-term solutions.... and NOW he is saying we should release oil from the Strategic Reserves for a short-term price adjustment?

    I will look for the clip (none / 0) (#54)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:21:43 AM EST
    it got way better than that one.

    I have always thought it fascinating (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:58:24 AM EST
    that most on the left do not see Hillary as a liberal, and she is, while seeing Obama as a liberal and he is not.

    btw (none / 0) (#36)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:59:21 AM EST
    I think his VP choice will could put that myth to bed once and for all.

    An odd justaposition of "liberalisms" (none / 0) (#63)
    by wurman on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:29:25 AM EST
    Sen. Obama is rated 98 on the liberal scale.

    Sen. Clinton is rated 95 on the same scale.

    Sen. Bayh is rated 89.


    the thing is (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:34:34 AM EST
    those ratings (I assume) are based on votes and I dont put much stock in the few votes Obama has made.
    I think they show nothing more than the same opportunism that had him in that church.  watching him and listening to him in this campaign I think anyone who says they have any idea what he would do as president is deluding themselves.
    IMO he would do in the first term whatever he needed to do to get a second.

    Obama is one of the 3 most liberal senators (none / 0) (#89)
    by wurman on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:41:32 AM EST
    as per the most commonly used criteria for that type of definition.

    There are several commenters at TalkLeft who often state that Sen. Obama is not a liberal.

    He is.


    Dennis Kucinich is a flaming liberal. (none / 0) (#92)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:49:08 AM EST
    Barack Obama is no Dennis Kucinich.  

    Can't compare House & Senate votes (none / 0) (#102)
    by wurman on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:35:20 AM EST
    Here's an effort to make a comparison, which can be explained by asserting that Obama is more liberal than other senators & Kucinich is more liberal than other representatives by some similar criteria.

    Outside the Beltway, James Joyner (link):

    The lifetime liberal scores (maximum 99) for the Democrats:
    -Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, 84.3
    -Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, 79.4
    -Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, 79.2
    -Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, 78.8
    -Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, 76.8

    More to the point is that Kucinich has been a pro-life advocate for several years.  In 2002, he changed from outright opposition to choice & voted "present" on partial-birth abortion & on the abortion non-discrimination act. The ugly details are in an old 2002 comment at National Review Online (link):

    In May, 2002, when Kucinich did his U-turn on funding soldiers' abortions, The Nation carried a tiny article titled "Regressive Progressive? Dennis Kucinich."

    Rep. Kucinich is a Roman Catholic.  His NARAL rating is not good.

    Should be 'nuff written.


    Yeah. (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:42:40 AM EST
    Like you can't compare someone who voted against Iraq and Iraq funding with someone who voted for the funding.

    Obama is a flaming Conformist, not a flaming Liberal.


    You missed all the "memoes" (none / 0) (#106)
    by wurman on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 12:05:09 PM EST
    Apparently, lots of folks think that Sen. Obama opposed the war--before he became a US senator.  During the debates, though, he made clear that his voting for the supplemental appropriations was "supporting the soldier, not the war."

    As noted often, Sen. Obama has been one of the few Democrats who was able to assert a consistent position in opposition to the War in Iraq.  There are people who don't believe this, including Pres. Clinton who famously described Obama's stance on the war a "fairy tale."

    ---certainly a concept that's also lost on your political radar.  Conformist?


    And "authentically liberal" (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:59:12 AM EST
    is seen as a good thing by like, 10% of America.  

    Personally I wish Obama would do better TV advertisements.  The media is always extremely excited about him and defines him however they feel like, but his TV people need to do a better job of defining him.  The ones I have seen are all pretty lukewarm (the welfare one, the heartland one).

    liberal (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by Miri on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:23:16 AM EST
    "Reagan made the word "liberal" a meaningless term of jargon used to describe the narrow left wing of the Democratic Party"

    Reagan did it by polarization and demonization.  

    Remember "welfare queens"?

    Reagan implemented a very conservative agenda not by getting along with Democrats but by; 1)defeating them 2) demonizing them 3) threatening to campaign in their districts if they did not cooperate.

    He wasn't interested in ending partisanship or changing the tone or civility. He was interested in pushing a conservative agenda.

    wasn't interested in ending partisanship (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:25:37 AM EST
    didnt the Reagan administration invent the term "wedge issue"?  if the didnt they raised it to an art form.

    liberal (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 01:09:52 PM EST
    More specifically: a very well organized network of foundations, think tanks and media outlets primarily funded by foaming-at-the-mouth, roll-back-The New Deal billionaires who believe that thier mere existence benefites us all so much that they should never be required to pay taxes.

    Reagan was never much more than a glorified, red-baiting, celebrity spokesperson.


    Moderate (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by Miri on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:27:48 AM EST
    "I think part of the problem is that he and his surrogates spent so much time painting Clinton as too moderate."

    Hillary took general election positions during the primaries. She did not want to flip flop after the primaries. It hurt her with some voters during the primaries but it would have helped her in the general election.

    It would have been difficult for the GOP to portray her as wishy washy.

    Reagan (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Miri on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:31:58 AM EST
    "didnt the Reagan administration invent the term "wedge issue"?"

    This is the big lie by the media that a lot of voters have bought into.

    The idea that you bring about meaningful change by being non partisan, non confrontational.

    Truth is the opposite. Presidents who push through major change embrace partisanship and conflict.

    You don't get major change without conflict.

    the term wedge issue (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:36:40 AM EST
    has nothing to do with getting anything done.
    it is about stopping your opponents from getting anything done.
    I dont "buy into" anything.  sometimes I rent.  never buy.

    Depends on the media outlet (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by goldberry on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:43:24 AM EST
    The LATimes is invested in making him look like a commie while Matt Yglesias has a ridiculous notion that Hillary Clinton is a walking-talking corporate shill.  
    Ahhh, but what do they actually do?  There's only one way to tell.  Consult their voting records.  What did they vote for/against?  Where did they abstain, vote present, play hooky?  After reviewing what they actually did, the truth begins to emerge.  Clinton is a DEMOCRAT.  She is not afraid to be a DEMOCRAT.  By and large, there is consistency in what she says and what she does.  Her most notable slip was the Iraq War Resolution.  She's true blue everywhere else.  
    Obama?  ehhhhhh, not so much.  

    and, if you are actually allowed (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:51:28 AM EST
    to believe what she said in her speech at the time about her vote on the Iraq War Resolution, then you shouldn't be holding tha against her either.

    But, that's right, you MUST believe that Clinton  will do anything, say anything and that her vote on the resolution was nothing more than a calculated effort on her part to make her look strong on defense for her upcoming run for the nomination.

    But, you must NEVER believe that Obama's speech against the war to a small, local, ultra-liberal crowd was him pandering to them for their support.


    Sorry, NO one should have voted for the IWR (none / 0) (#97)
    by goldberry on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:07:21 AM EST
    It was just wrong in every conceivable way.  Even politically, it made no sense in retrospect.  We all knew what was going on and that it would be a tremendous distraction from the war in Afghanistan.  She gained nothing by voting for it.  It's a failure.  If it had been a success, the Republicans would be fabulously popular right now and she would have been forgotten.  
    She might have justified it if it had been a better resolution with absolute check points that MUST be met before going further.  But what wasn't the case.  I'm sorry.  I just see this one vote as being the thing that will haunt her forever for so many reasons.  Fortunately, I am not a one issue voter and I believe she is the ONLY one who can get us out with minimal damage.    

    Hillary was the "authentic liberal" (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by masslib on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:28:10 AM EST
    who voted for AUMF.

    Aside from that, Hillary is an excellent political framer. She has a way of making herself seem more moderate while being more liberal.  I always go back to the SD newspaper endorsement.  They said she's more moderate than her opponent, but let me tell you how her plans on energy, health care, and the economy are more "bold".

    In this context (none / 0) (#1)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:01:08 AM EST
    how do you view Obama's energy speech/policy yesterday? Steve M seems to like it.

    I think actually (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Steve M on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:18:46 AM EST
    that diary is a data point in favor of BTD's "Media Darling" theory that he was always pushing in the primaries.

    I hope to do a diary on the substance of Obama's speech later if I find the time.  I was very impressed by it, and I bet it played VERY well in Michigan.


    If he sticks to the substance and fights hard (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:37:32 AM EST
    he will finally start doing what he has otherwise almost completely refused to: running an issue-based campaign.

    To me that would be a relief.


    Obama's rejection of townhalls with McCain (none / 0) (#79)
    by Josey on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:50:05 AM EST
    makes him appear an elitist or unable to defend Dem positions.
    Why wouldn't Obama want to promote the Dem agenda since most of the public is supposedly onboard with the issues?
    Well - maybe it's not a good idea for a flip flopper to represent Dem positions. Here today - changed tomorrow.



    Obama doesn't want to debate any more (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:53:53 AM EST
    than he has to because of what happened to him in the PA debate.  That ended any desire he had for debates.

    Please do. You might even cross post it here (none / 0) (#10)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:30:43 AM EST
    I saw you were energized by the speech and the press reaction. I think you would do a good analysis of it.

    A national energy policy overhaul has the potential of becoming a signature Democratic issue as did social security and to a lesser extent the then cheap hydro energy policies of the New Deal. It would change the national economy for a long time (hopefully for the better) as energy affects the price of everything and will require a commitment to  investment infrastructure. It also has the virtue (for Obama) as something clearly new.


    You make a good point (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Steve M on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:40:03 AM EST
    Unlike, say, health care, there is very little resistance among the public to the idea that this is something the government should be heavily involved in.  It's like rural electrification or the Apollo Project.

    I think when you put thoughtful, interventionist solutions up against conservative solutions ("remove drilling restrictions and then watch the free market work its magic!") the interventionist solutions are going to win every time, on this issue at least.  That's good news in a country where the zeitgeist is still dominated by Reagan's "the government is the problem" paradigm.


    I like the blog name (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:41:54 AM EST
    "Clintonistas for Obama." Great branding. Well done.

    Hey Steve (none / 0) (#26)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:48:16 AM EST
    are you "No More Mister Nice Blog" too?

    Not me (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Steve M on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:13:35 AM EST
    This is the only name I use.  I belong to the Uncreative Class.

    Ah. Thanks. (none / 0) (#100)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:32:06 AM EST
    There is a "Steve M." who posts at No More Mister Nice Blog.  

    Great diary (1.00 / 2) (#3)
    by sher on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:08:43 AM EST
    by Steve M; thanks for referencing it.

    Have not seen it or read it (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:39:08 AM EST
    But I am not hearing how he took it to McCain in the Media so just based on that, I doubt it was effective.

    Let's see what they do with whatever it is.


    Labelling by both left and right (none / 0) (#14)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:35:06 AM EST
    As for Obama, he has become what Yglesias says is the least desirable, his reality has him moving center while his image has him moving Left.

    For months the left's wishful thinking has moved Obama's image to the left, even though he has always been centrist, with the exception of his war stance in 2002. They hung a lieral label on him basedon that. Now the Republicans have done the same thing they do with every Dem candidate, which is paint his as a raging liberal, despite the facts.

    I think his reality has always been more in the center than his image.  Both sides have create the image that suits their needs at the time.

    I disagree with BTDs (none / 0) (#25)
    by dk on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:48:05 AM EST
    opinion that Obama is holding (or will hold) firm on his Iraq withdrawal plan.  He is already slipping in the "conditions on the ground" qualifiers (the same ones that GWB uses, by the way).  And, if he does get elected, I see no evidence that he will have the political fortitude to take the tough political stands that will be necessary to keep to his stated foreign policy program.  If Obama is unwilling to show fortitude on issues like FISA, Health Care, Social Security, Reproductive Rights, and Separation of Church and State, why anyone thinks he will be strong enough on foreign policy is beyond me.  

    Don't get me wrong, I think it's possible to get of Iraq pretty quickly, and I also think that big majorities of the American public would be happy to get out.  But, obviously, majorities in the Village and in Congress (including Democrats, as is evidenced by all the votes they have taken WITH Democratic majorities) either don't want to get out, or don't want to "expend the political capital" to get out.

    To be honest, I really think the only positive policy change in an Obama administration would be on tax policy, i.e. we can shed some of the most egregious Bush tax cuts, and bring a little money back into the government's coffers.  But, of course, that is really what defines "liberal" and "conservative" in many Americans' minds, I think.  Taxes.  And so long as Obama goes around denigrating government (and that's what he does when he implies that certain organized religions of his choosing can do better work than the government, or when he implies that privatizing social security is on the table, or health care mandates is tantamount to socialism), people are going to buy the Republicans' arguments that all taxes are bad, and that Democrats shouldn't be trusted.

    Liberal = 29 years of no meaning (none / 0) (#39)
    by wurman on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:03:53 AM EST
    Reagan made the word "liberal" a meaningless term of jargon used to describe the narrow left wing of the Democratic Party--which was rapidly deserted by every Dem politician who could run away from the label.  Gov. Dean was from the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," meaning exactly what. . . ?

    When Snow White & the Seven Dwarves stepped onto the stage at Orangeburg, SC, April 26, 2007, there wasn't a "liberal" in the lot.

    Now the term is being used to describe Democrats who are somewhat to the left of Genghis Kahn & very much to the right of Jimmy Carter.

    In any event, it's interesting to look up the ratings & labels by the major interest groups. Here's the list from Electoral Vote.com (link):
    The eight groups used in this study are:
    ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union
    ADA - Americans for Democratic Action
    CDF - Children's Defense Fund
    LCV - League of Conservation Voters
    NAACP - National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
    NARAL - National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League
    PTA - National Parent-Teacher Association
    SEIU - Service Employees International Union

    And, the winner is . . . Sen. Barack Obama!!!  He & his immediate colleague from IL, Sen. Durbin, & Sen. Harkin, IA, all share the 98 score.

    Too funny.  Just like evaluating high school basketball players--only the good ones can go to their left.

    tax policy (none / 0) (#72)
    by Miri on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:40:54 AM EST
    "I really think the only positive policy change in an Obama administration would be on tax policy,"

    It won't make any difference who is the president.

    Bush tax cuts will expire and Congress will not renew it no matter who is the president.

    That is as long as Democrats control Congress.

    do you really believe this? (none / 0) (#73)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:42:35 AM EST
    do you really believe this? (none / 0) (#105)
    by Miri on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 11:48:02 AM EST

    Pls remember tax cuts were passed by Congress.

    Only Congress can cut taxes.

    Tax cuts are expiring. If Dems are still controlling Congress they will expire regardless who is president.

    McCain might even raise taxes.

    Remember St Ronnie passed the biggest tax increase in history.

    I think the tax cuts will be extended (none / 0) (#111)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 02:10:23 PM EST
    no matter who the president is.

    Oh, dear! (none / 0) (#112)
    by RonK Seattle on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 02:22:36 PM EST
    Much as I respect Nate's quant work, he should have hadthis piece reviewed by somebody who knows something.

    He starts by misstating -- and then thoroughly mis-applying -- the median voter theorem (which doesn't apply anyway in the context under discussion) ... and goes downhill from there.

    I would have wished him a more auspicious big-media debut.