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Obama and the L-Word

By Peter Baker
It may no longer be surprising to watch so many young people, African Americans and well-off Democrats fall so hard for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as he battles for the Democratic presidential nomination, but it has been fascinating to see so many conservatives swooning over him lately.

Peggy Noonan, the Reagan-Bush speechwriter, calls him "thoughtful" and praises his "classy campaign." George Will, the columnist and television pundit, describes him as "an adult aiming to reform the real world rather than an adolescent fantasizing mock-heroic 'fights' against fictitious villains in a left-wing cartoon version of this country." Peter Wehner, the former Bush White House aide, calls Obama "a well-grounded, thoughtful, decent man" whom Republicans "would find it hard to generate much enthusiasm in opposing."

And that goes to the heart of Obama's appeal -- the notion that he is "post-partisan," somehow above the ideological wars that have consumed the last few decades of American politics. Yet when the infatuation wears off, if Obama gets the nomination, will Republicans still think so highly of him? If Obama delivers the knockout blow to the Clinton dynasty, the bete noire of so many conservatives, would they still find reason to think of him as a knight in shining armor? Lost amid all the dramatic primaries and debates of recent days have been a few moments that voters are likely to hear more about in the fall should Obama win the nomination, moments that will remind Republicans that in many ways he is a pretty conventional liberal.

First, of course, was the endorsement of Sen. Ted Kennedy, a powerful moment for Democrats longing for a new-generation Camelot but also a picture that no doubt will be recycled in the fall by Republicans whose base ranks the Massachusetts senator in the same league of despised lefty scoundrels as the Clintons. Less noticed was a vote compendium by National Journal last week that ranked Obama the most liberal United States senator in 2007, more than Kennedy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chuck Schumer and even Bernard Sanders, the independent socialist. And then there was the endorsement of Obama by MoveOn.org, a group that has reenergized the American left and become a force loathed by the American right. Republicans have found MoveOn.org to be a useful rallying point -- and fundraising draw -- for their base.

So how will Obama's post-partisan style match up against his liberal record? If he wins the nomination, how would Republicans use that record against him without appearing too negative against a man even their own find hard to dislike? That phrase, "most liberal," is a handy television advertisement, and Republicans skillfully used it against Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry in 2004 after he earned the same rating from National Journal. And yet how would Republicans navigate the tricky racial shoals in mounting a case against Obama? Would the sobriquet "too liberal" be interpreted as code for "too black"? Even Bill Clinton, once dubbed America's first black president, found it hard to attack Obama without crossing lines that touched off charged emotions within the Democratic Party.

For the moment, Obama's appeal does not seem especially ideological. Exit polls from key Super Tuesday states found no strong pattern of philosophical support. In Missouri, for instance, Obama earned 58 percent of the vote among self-described liberal Democrats compared with 48 percent among moderates. But he also got 58 percent among conservative Democrats. In New Jersey, he did better among conservatives than among liberals -- 51 percent compared with 42 percent. But in Massachusetts, he was much stronger with liberals than conservatives -- 46 percent compared with 31 percent. Intriguingly, though, he racked up wins in many states that tend to go Republican in general elections, while Clinton won traditional blue states such as California and New York.

If Obama were to face off against Arizona Sen. John McCain in the fall, of course, it would be a contest between two political figures who have defied easy labels and whose appeal has crossed the normal boundaries. McCain, in his own way, was post-partisan before the term was invented, often working across the aisle on important legislation. But in his case, as he forged bipartisan compromise, he adopted positions more commonly associated with the left, at least on issues such as immigration, campaign finance and climate change. Obama has some bipartisan partnerships to point to as well -- including with McCain -- yet he has no similar examples of defying party orthodoxy. Instead, on substance, he has hewed closely to the Kennedy-MoveOn ideological line.

It may not matter. It may be that Obama has captured that magic moment when politics changes. It may be this is the year the old rules no longer apply. But maybe not. The only Democrats who have won the White House in the last four decades have done so by running away from the liberal label. And Obama is certainly a student of history.

Posted at 11:45 AM ET on Feb 7, 2008  | Category:  Morning Cheat Sheet
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I don't understand how "too liberal" can be code for "too black".

Posted by: rdklingus | February 11, 2008 12:56 PM

The most pre-posterous argument is to claim experience based on the fact that someone has been the spouse of someone else who held a certain public office. It is like Bill Gates's wife claiming experience based on the fact that she is married to him and say, Warren Buffet's wife claiming experience by living in the the same family circumstance and household as he over the years.

Let us see apples as apples and oranges as oranges and view the record straight. A Senator is a Senator and a President is a President and a President's wife is a President's wife.

Posted by: mdsubramonia | February 10, 2008 12:19 PM

I can't believe ANYONE, at this point in time, thinks that it was the right decision to invade Iraq. It was a TERRIBLE decision. McCain still says it was a good decision--he is delusional and shows a narrow-mindedness that should disqualify him from being President. Please, do not vote for McCain!

Posted by: don6 | February 9, 2008 3:53 PM

When a person, such as Obama, speaks Truth, the Heart hears and remembers! When a person offers hope and a better, brighter way spoken from the depths or heights of Truth,or Soul, the heart hears and Believes!
___________________________________________

This is the empty talk along with an engaging smile and a nice voice that people fall for.
If your going to put people under further bondage to government in the form of ultra liberalism, this is the type of rhetoric that fools a lot of people. When I was younger, I always wondered how a true Hitler could come into power...on top of his evil was a layer of "charisma".

Posted by: ekim53 | February 8, 2008 9:36 AM

When a person, such as Obama, speaks Truth, the Heart hears and remembers! When a person offers hope and a better, brighter way spoken from the depths or heights of Truth,or Soul, the heart hears and Believes!

Posted by: wdsoulplane | February 8, 2008 5:30 AM

Obama "a well-grounded, thoughtful, decent man" whom Republicans "would find it hard to generate much enthusiasm in opposing."
___________________________________________
WHAT? MAJOR CRAPOLA!
Conservatives become liberals because he's a "decent man"?
The bottom line is this. Liberal Democrats want BIG government and programs to "help?" the people and buy votes and create social engineering and have established over the years a huge amount of these wasteful and ripe for fraud programs.... welfare for one, where only about 30% gets to the recipient...wow. The worthless Dept. of Education is another that steals billions and accomplishes nothing. Social Security was designed when there was 43 workers for every retiree and now there is only 3 and soon to be 2. Medicare and Medicaid are wrought with waste and fraud which I witnessed myself Only the tip of this extremely wasteful system. Liberalism is like a drug that appears to the user to be a good thing but is very harmful to the body. Conservatives are unhappy with Bush because he's not a faithful conservative like many in congress.
Again, are you saying that conservatives will throw away their VALUES for a "decent man"?
I'd be ROFL if this wasn't so serious.

Posted by: ekim53 | February 7, 2008 11:58 PM

murgo525 and other impassioned Clinton Supporters:

I think you may be confusing your lack of awareness for the lack of Obama's platform:

Here is a 59-page BRIEF example of the sort of information available for anyone moderately interested in finding out the individual facts about this candidate. There are websites and cross references within it if you care:

http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/ObamaBlueprintForChange.pdf

While I agree that Barack is quite liberal, there is absolutely no denying that currently, he has more moderate and conservative support than Senator Clinton does. I personally find much to like in Clinton, and I actually understand why her supporters support her and find no fault with people who have done the research, read widely and fairly, and are civil when they campaign for and endorse their candidate. However, it is interesting to note that the things for which Obama is often criticized, e.g., "being too liberal" and having "too little experience," the government's OWN statistics refute:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd

Type in each candidate's last names and look at their voting records, the names and substance of bills drafted and supported, and basic biographical info .

Hillary is considered a "radical liberal" on the senate information website, while Obama is considered to be a bit right of that as a "rank and file" democrat. This designation is based upon their votes.

Although Obama has 11 years of legislative experience (5 more years than Hillary) his critics cry "no fair" only the national legislation counts. O.K., Obama has passed into law in 3 years (with bills that he authored or co-authored) 5 pieces of substantive legislation, while Hillary has passed into law in 6 years time, 6 substantive bills that she has authored or coauthored. He essentially has accomplished the same job in half the time. Although Hillary has about 26 bills that have become law, 20 of them are things like "name post office after Thurgood Marshall" and "Congratulate the Syracuse Univ. Orange Men's Lacrosse Team on winning the championship."

Here are the substantive legislation each has passed:

Hillary:


1. Extend period of unemployment assistance to victims of 9/11.
2. Pay for city projects in response to 9/11
3. Assist landmine victims in other countries.
4. Assist family caregivers in accessing affordable respite care.
5. Designate part of the National Forest System in Puerto Rico as protected in the wilderness preservation system.

Here is Obama's:

1. the Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006 (became law),
2. The Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act, (became law),
3.The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, passed the Senate,
4.The 2007 Government Ethics Bill, (became law),
5.The Protection Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill, (In committee)

Now, if there are any Clinton supporters who would like more hard facts, or any McCain supporters who would like specifics, I can send you to several more places to visit, but quite honestly if you look up the stats on the gov site in a thorough fashion on BOTH Obama and Clinton, and read the 59 page booklet and don't see exactly why people are supporting him, then you either do not understand what you are reading, or you are voting from a very personal, emotional place. Again, this is your right, and I defend your right to vote this way, but let's stop pretending that Obama supporters don't know what they are talking about.

Posted by: ifnotwinter | February 7, 2008 8:15 PM

Fact of the matter is that there is a lot that both parties need to work on together. Being more sustainable within one's own borders and less dependent on the middle east, should be an issue that Democrats and Republicans can come together on, creating new jobs within America, new innovations. With the tremendous size of the deficit - in the trillions - it's almost a moot point - how would it ever be paid back? There is a need to look beyond the mantra of profit margins and growth that we have been socialized to prioritize above all other things, because that is a beastie that eventually consumes itself by consuming those that it feeds off because the only direction it has it to take more and more and more. Well, there is a finite 'more' to be had, and there is a tipping point where it just becomes plain unhealthy and destructive and I think we are there now.

Both in America and around the world, we need to be thinking about 'how do we strengthen our own countries, our independence from others, our sustainability?'. America has boxed itself in to a most unfortunate position, sending so many jobs overseas in order to heighten profits, and leaving it's primary export as war and war machinery. But the people that profit of war are few and concentrated relative to the total population and when America engages in war the American people pay to those few both in tax money, incurred debts and in blood. In this regard, the effects on all Americans, regardless of party affiliation, are the same.

America needs more jobs within America that nurture and enrich the American people and distribute wealth equitably. Obama has talked about incentives for business people who keep their business in America and for shutting down these tax havens that further starve American of it's equity. Republicans can do much positive and beneficial work with Obama to create such scenarios.

Posted by: JayKay2 | February 7, 2008 8:08 PM

jlw509 - I think the reason Obama didn't come out in support of that bill you mentioned was because the definition of keeping the fetus alive was too broad, i.e. "beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles". Perhaps a more viable ruling would be that if the fetus showed it would develop normally, without major defects or ending up a vegetable, or live a life in pain, or would otherwise be kept alive to eventually die in a matter or weeks because of serious issues, then the child should be incubated and then adopted once full-term if the parents or extended family did not want to, or were unable to, care for the child. I just think it should take the suffering issue into account.

Posted by: JayKay2 | February 7, 2008 7:44 PM

Obama is most liberal senator in 2007, because 2006 elections approved liberal ideas. Remember, Obama did not want to be photographed with San Francisco mayor Newsom in 2004, during when mayor's gay marriage recognition was viewed as a kind of sinful act. However, he accepted the fund the mayor raised twice for his US Senate run.

We do not need a liberal, who is a liberal just because it is trendy. As Robert F Kennedy Jr puts, we need a person who can "engage in a fistfight to safeguard and restore our national virtues." We do not need a trendy liberal with Republicans in the cabinet to continue to give in, for 4 more years.

Posted by: kadavul | February 7, 2008 7:20 PM

Liberal/Conservative.
Black/White/Latino/Asian.
Male/Female.

The pundits are falling over each other to interpret this in terms of the standard language of demographic and race. But it is exactly the 1-dimensional liberal-conservative axis that is challenged by the Obama candidacy. And guess what: we do live in a higher-dimensional world in which issues such as how one approaches political fundraising, bipartisan conflict and 'the integrity factor', as well as the hunger for a break from the recent ruinous past, are dominating in the voters' minds.

Posted by: tony848 | February 7, 2008 7:08 PM

Well, what exactly is Obama's platform aside from being black and saying things like "yes we can"? Do people actually "KNOW" what he plans on doing?

Let's face it. He is likable and charismatic though he is an extreme liberal and has a voting record to prove it. McCain is a RINO and a warmonger, like Bush. Obama, Clinton, and McCain are all open borders advocates.

This country is screwed as we have no real options.

Posted by: murgo525 | February 7, 2008 6:15 PM

tony2, I second you.
because health care insurance is now so heavily consolidated, mandated health care would be big favor to subsidize in insurance companies. except it wouldn't be paid directly to them, it would be paid first into pockets of subsidized individuals who will not be able to afford rising premiums. But rise they will because if it will be mandatory with no control on affordability, insurance giants will collude in a price cartel. That is why insurance and drug special interest money is supporting Mrs Clintons campaign. In this respect this is how the "they represent real American people" stated by Mrs Clinton plays out.

And for all of those who think Obama's campaign is elitist I second blondiegrrl007.
And I am a republican (nature's republican)
But I've following threads on Barackobama.com and the astounding thing is that only two things that connect those who contribute: passion and generosity. This may amount to nothing in your eyes, but it is the glue there: - folks ask each other voluntarily and gently to contribute. With whatever they can. The recent 'money bomb' of $7M in less then 5 days was also raised this way. Folks asked each other to donate $5-$10 bucks. Across threads the message spread and comments swell to over a thousand per blog entry. This is how the money was raised. Not by the well off at all. The most I could find were $25 to $100 donations. Here is the link to see just how much they have right now: http://my.barackobama.com/page/contribute_c/sincefeb5_email/graphic
It jumps every 5 minute or so. This is groundswell folks. As Bill Clinton said: " You feel the ground shake." So true, but not for the reason he meant. lol

Posted by: Leddie | February 7, 2008 6:04 PM

cjohnman,

If America is still not ready to vote for a black person or a woman to be President, then I can't see why God would have reason to bless such an ignorant, backwards nation.

Luckily, though, we are ready. God bless America indeed.
____________________________________________

The dumb line forms right behind cjohnman.
I love people that vote on substance...color and a vagina.

Posted by: ekim53 | February 7, 2008 5:48 PM

I agree with julieds from Utah; there is absolutely nothing elitist about Barack Obama. I'm a 36-year-old married white female in West Virginia. My husband and I have a COMBINED income of $50,000 and we both support Obama. We're impressed by his energy, ideals, honesty and integrity. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is just another big business Republican in Democrat's clothing. We've had more than our share of Bushes and Clintons ... who wants more of the same? I vote for CHANGE. I vote for a leader who can pull this country together instead of divide it even more than it is already.

Posted by: blondiegrrl007 | February 7, 2008 5:39 PM

cjohnman,

If America is still not ready to vote for a black person or a woman to be President, then I can't see why God would have reason to bless such an ignorant, backwards nation.

Luckily, though, we are ready. God bless America indeed.

Posted by: whatmeregister | February 7, 2008 5:17 PM

I don't like Hillary's "mandates" on her health plan. No one has considered the consolidation of the health-care insurance industry in recent years. Health insurance has gone up 78% since Bush took office. The only power consumers have over cost is choice. Mandates will lead to consumer abuse. Reform first, forced customers later. Vote Obama.

Posted by: Toni2 | February 7, 2008 3:22 PM

MKK0918 should pass that 'water bong'.

But yeah that made no sense, what so ever.
I think he was saying something along the lines of 'colored people' (really PC) are in the majority worldwide; actually I have NO idea what he was trying to say.

----------

Is this Obama's "Matt Santos" moment when he 'picks up that label [liberal], wipes it off, and wears it as a badge of honor'?

I hope so b/c Liberal is good. All major social changes happened b/c of liberals.

Founding Fathers = Liberals (they overthrew their well established legal gov't - conservatives don't start revolutions)
Bill of Rights = those Liberal Founding Fathers assured Liberties
Abolisionists = Liberals (ended slavery)
Teddy 'Bear' Roosevelt establishing Nation Park System = Liberals (saving the enviroment)
Women Suffrage'ists = Liberlas (granted women the vote)
Scope's Monkey Trial = Liberals (ACLU) put removed religion from science classrooms.
FDR's Neal Deal = Liberals (created Social Security, got America out of the Great Depression, Defeated the Nazis and Japanese)
Civil Rights Act = Liberals ushered it into law.

Every major break through, was pushed through by Liberal minded individuals.

Liberal is Great and Forward Looking.
Conservatives are not.

--------------

Obama would make a great president.

"CAN YOU DIG IT!" ("The Warriors" - what a great movie)

Posted by: mcgrupp10799 | February 7, 2008 3:02 PM

I am especially interest in the comments made by aljrnyc.

It is interesting that hundreds of men and women with great "experience" such as senior legislators and Governors have publicly endorsed Obama. If "experience" is thus to be judged, who best to judge it?

I find the comment that a Democrat would choose "100 Years of War" McCain over the prescient judgement of Senator Obama, who not only wants to get us out of Iraq, but supports rescinding the tax breaks for the rich, is pro-choice, and does not use derogatory words for other people.

I will have a difficult time voting for Clinton if she is the nominee. I don't care to see another Clinton presidency--Travelgate, Filegate, Pardongate, among others--and I am appalled at the level of dirty tricks played by their candidacy thus far (the attempt to scare women by claiming Obama is weak on pro choice issues is well-documented at this point--just a google away for major news source coverage). BUT I know if HRC is the only Democrat on the ballot in November, this voter will hold her nose and pull that lever.

Posted by: carolinwoodstock | February 7, 2008 3:02 PM

ekim53

It is baffling to see that folks with your point of view tend to have so little skill in articulating your views in an intelligent way.
__________________________________________

What a joke? I'm one of the few with ANY substance here. Maybe in this Obama love fest, you fail to recognize substance.

Posted by: ekim53 | February 7, 2008 2:52 PM

MKK0918

that makes NO sense

put the water bong down and try again

Posted by: cjohnman | February 7, 2008 2:38 PM

If you want our next president to revive our economy, start counting the global consumers of US products which also include media and pop culure products. Which race does compose the major consumer group? We are selling most of our products, regardless of manufactured ones or service industry ones, to colored people.
Be a racist as much as you want and as long as US economy affords you to be a racist.

Posted by: mkk0918 | February 7, 2008 2:22 PM

I personally like both candidates on the democratic side, and I will support either one who emerges as the candidate. However, I found it very disturbing that many vocal Obama supporters inject so much anger and hatred into this race. See how Salty1 argues against Bill Clinton - it just shows how weak your position is if you had nothing to use but the sex scandal. You - Mr. or Ms. Salty - may be a saint. But the rest of us do make and also forgive mistakes in life - why Bill Clinton still enjoys very high approval rating among all americans. Please be a bit civil in your arguments!!!

Posted by: michaelzla | February 7, 2008 2:04 PM

cjohnman
That is great that you have already done your soul-searching. Understand this, though: about 46% of the voters in this country are going to vote Democrat, whether it is Obama or Clinton (those Dems have already shown that they are comfortable with a woman or black man on the ticket), and another 46% are going to vote Republican, even if the candidate is McCain. The only question is, who is the 8% that flips back and forth and who will they vote for? You seem to think that 8% is the racist sexist element of our society that will be driven into the arms of the Republicans. A lot of people suspect that whatever racist, sexist voters are out there are already in the 46% Republican core, and that the 8% swing voters are moderate, hip, sensible middle class Americans who, like you, will vote for who they think will be the best president regardless of age, sex, or color. So just relax, don't worry about the "silent statements" (whatever those are), and vote your conscience.

Posted by: Salty1 | February 7, 2008 1:55 PM

ekim53

It is baffling to see that folks with your point of view tend to have so little skill in articulating your views in an intelligent way.

Posted by: pkhalichi | February 7, 2008 1:54 PM

Obama "a well-grounded, thoughtful, decent man" whom Republicans "would find it hard to generate much enthusiasm in opposing."
___________________________________________
WHAT? MAJOR CRAPOLA!
Conservatives become liberals because he's a "decent man"?
The bottom line is this. Liberal Democrats want BIG government and programs to "help?" the people and buy votes and create social engineering and have established over the years a huge amount of these wasteful and ripe for fraud programs.... welfare for one, where only about 30% gets to the recipient...wow. The worthless Dept. of Education is another that steals billions and accomplishes nothing. Social Security was designed when there was 43 workers for every retiree and now there is only 3 and soon to be 2. Medicare and Medicaid are wrought with waste and fraud which I witnessed myself Only the tip of this extremely wasteful system. Liberalism is like a drug that appears to the user to be a good thing but is very harmful to the body. Conservatives are unhappy with Bush because he's not a faithful conservative like many in congress.
Again, are you saying that conservatives will throw away their VALUES for a "decent man"?
I'd be ROFL if this wasn't so serious.

Posted by: ekim53 | February 7, 2008 1:49 PM

Anybody claims to be Democrat especially (aljrnyc) and vote against Hillary or Obama, is not just Republican, he's right wing neoconservative.

Posted by: tqmek1 | February 7, 2008 1:47 PM

These comments boards are fascinating freak shows - I cannot resist joining my kind and getting into the middle: it is true Obama is, on a policy-level, a "liberal" and he would never deny this. But the reason he is becoming a political juggernaut that in the long run will be unstoppable is because of something different - his assessment of the American political landscape and the window of opportunity he sees. The two-party system has resulted in a sort of red-blue stalemate in which each side worries only about advancing its own agenda at the expense of the other, a political trench warfare in which little gets accomplished. Sen. Clinton is a great partisan politician for the dems, but her "change" message is "let's replace the Republicans with the Democrats so we can shove our agenda through the system." Obama fundamentally rejects this idea, as he as demonstrated in his YEARS of EXPERIENCE as an elected official. For Obama, it is not about trench partisan warfare.
Obama's opportunity is the view that policies reflect values, and somewhere, below partisan bickering, there is a common set of American values that we can all tap into and agree upon in the development of policy. If we can build our policies off of those values, we have a greater chance of getting real results out of government. George Will and Peggy Noonan understand this. The longer Obama has to hammer home this message, the more American voters will understand it as well.

Posted by: Salty1 | February 7, 2008 1:46 PM

to Salty1,

I will vote for who I think will be the best president regardless of age, sex, or color. I brought this up because I hear the silent statements from alot of people indicating come crunch time they will never be able to vote for a woman or black man. This will in the end decide this election. Get mad and think what you want but it will hold true. I am not ignorant to the real factors involving politics like some.

God Bless America

Posted by: cjohnman | February 7, 2008 1:44 PM

WASHINGTON POST

Will you please knock off this whole line that Obama's supporters are all well off Dems?

I am middle class (on the lower end of it) and i support Obama. I am a married, 36 yr. old white woman. I live in Utah. I have donated $25 and $50. It's all i could afford, but i've also volunteered as much time as i could. Please stop trying to pigeon-hole Obama as some elitist.

For goodness sake, Obama is the ONLY CANDIDATE who, within the last 5 years, actually had debt, credit cards, student loans and a mortgage to pay off. It's ironic that you'd try to peg Obama as the hoity-toity candidate, when compared to the other candidates, Obama is downright poor.

It's not a bunch of well to do people who like Obama.
He draws support across the board.

Posted by: julieds | February 7, 2008 1:43 PM

I have more respect for an outright racist than I do for some of the idiots that post here. To believe that this country is not ready for a black or female president is utterly absurd and absolutely anti-American. Were all the people that have layed down their lives for us only white?
Was this country built only by whites?
You call yourselves "Americans" and yell out "God Bless America" yet you think so little of your fellow man. Don't insult our intelligence with your neanderthalic ramblings.

Posted by: aliboy_t | February 7, 2008 1:41 PM

"Less noticed was a vote compendium by National Journal last week that ranked Obama the most liberal United States senator in 2007, more than Kennedy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chuck Schumer and even Bernard Sanders, the independent socialist."

Interesting that when they did this same "study" last time a presidential race was on, it had John Kerry being the most liberal liberal that ever liberaled. That's quite a coincidence, don't you think?

Posted by: ModestProposal | February 7, 2008 1:40 PM

cjohnman asks "Is America really ready to vote for a woman or a black man?" to which I respond: are you, cjohnman, ready? If so, don't worry about how the rest of America votes, vote your conscience and know you did your part in the democratic process. If the answer is "no"... well then, I think that whole "I am not a racist but.." preface to your remarks is as sincere and honest as Bill Clinton's claim that he never had "sex' with "that woman"...

Posted by: Salty1 | February 7, 2008 1:32 PM

Now Mitt Romney has stood aside and John McCain is the republican nomination BARACK OBAMA is the only real choice for the Democrats, their must be a real alternative to McCain.

As you right say many conservatives will back Barack Obama!

Posted by: jaybs1 | February 7, 2008 1:30 PM

McCain has a VERY big issue working against him -- he voted for the war and says it might take 100 years before we get out of Iraq. How dumb do you think the American people are that they would vote for him for president given this? I think they certainly have wised up since the fiasco when Bushie was re-elected. They won't make that mistake again especially since the Republicans voted down the economic plan that would give more money to the elderly, disabled veterans, and the unemployed. We always knew the Republicans didn't give a damn about the populace and this just confirms it. Anyone who vote Republican is a moron.

Whoever said the Republicans think they can beat Obama is wrong. The Republicans want Clinton as the candidate because they think she is the most easily beaten.

Whichever way the wind blows, the Democrats are the leaders in forward thinking in even running a woman and a black and they will be the first to have one or the other in the White House.

Go Dems go. Kick butt.

Posted by: catpurrson | February 7, 2008 1:28 PM

It's very prevalent that hidden racism will always exist with wordings such as: "It may no longer be surprising to watch so many young people, African Americans and well-off Democrats." It's writers like Baker compels me to strive to be the best I can be to influence all my brothers and sisters, Black, Hispanic, Chinese, even Whites to vote and vote Obama!!!! This will be the only way that racism can finally be noticed and dealt with.

Posted by: agreen | February 7, 2008 1:28 PM

So far the Republicans have only run against each other and in some weird Harry Potter universe George Bush has been "he who cannot be named". Once the general starts they wont be able to play that game anymore. Take every single unpopular Bush policy and replace the words "George Bush" with "The Republicans." Hillary Clinton aint the only one with negatives to overcome!

Posted by: MarcMyWords | February 7, 2008 1:27 PM

Leadership is always a consideration when selecting a president. Here's how I see the leadership styles of the current candidates in alphabetical order.

Hillary Clinton: Leads by analyzing specific problems and deciding on solutions. Assumes that people want her to fix their problems. Social Worker.

Mike Huckabee: Leads by adhering to a personal set of core principles. Exhorts followers to convert to these principle as the right thing to do. Preacher.

John McCain: Leads by personal conviction. Gives orders and expects obedience. Soldier.

Barack Obama: Leads by enlisting people to participate in solutions. Asks them to sacrifice and change their behavior. Community organizer.

Ron Paul: Leads by intellectual analysis of the underlying cause of a problem. Announces the solution and assumes followers will accept the obvious. Professor.

Mitt Romney: Leads by looking for opportunities and crafts messages to fit the issues. Presumes that followers are predisposed to accept his solutions. CEO.

Posted by: polotka | February 7, 2008 1:26 PM

I find it interesting (if not bizarre)that the Senator with the most liberal voting record in Congress is winning primary victories in primarily "red" states by garnering votes from independents and the supossedly more conservative elements of the Democratic Party, while the Republican Party has clearly focused the lion's share of its criticism on Ms. Clinton, basically because they know she'd be very tough to beat; could it be that the Republicans (and their sympathetic "independents") want Senator Obama to win the Democratic nomination precisely becasue they figure he'll never win the national election? How many of those "independents" would actually vote for Obama in the national election? The fact is, Ms. Clinton clearly has broader support, covering more different groups of voters, among registered Democrats.

Though I don't mean to sound paranoid, the Republican Party's conduct during the past 2 Presidential elections has shown them to be capable of just about anything. And, this wouldn't be the first time the Republican Party has sabotaged the Democratic nomination process.

Posted by: dbodenstein | February 7, 2008 1:25 PM

Republicans sure are scared of Obama; to the point of making up these terrible lies that thir sheep-like followers like "jlw509" blindly listen to.

Read the truth about this accusation here:
http://mediamatters.org/items/200802050010

Before you believe stupid statements like "Obama kills babies" or "Obama is a muslim terrorist", perhaps you should evaluate whether you are being manipulated by your political leaders. To blindly follow these "leaders" is to invite the tyranny you so despise in Al-Queda, under the guise of "security".

I'm not saying vote for a liberal- I'm suggesting you not vote so far to the right that we lose what liberty we have left.

Posted by: monchanger | February 7, 2008 1:24 PM

The perception of naturalness and non-partisanship when he has a gazillion dollars worth of advisors is a statement to how powerful and politically savvy Obama's team is. They managed to not only outmaneauver the Clinton machine without looking like they were playing crass, dirty power politics, but made it clear that any derogatory statement about the candidate would be labelled racial.

If he is the Presidential candidate, all McCain is going to be able to say is that he is from Chicago without Sharpton leading a march against him. Now that's power politics.

Posted by: tommariner | February 7, 2008 1:23 PM

I can't remember in my 44 yrs of actively voting, ever, before considering voting Republican. And now it's not just a passing thought. IF Hillary Clinton is Not the nominee I and many of my Democrat friends will bite the bullet and vote Republican. Going from Bush to worse is not an option.Obama has NO experience and with the mess this ountry is in now -Iraq-economy etc it would be like suicide to hand it this Presidency to him. This is from a NYC Democrat. AlJrNyc

Posted by: aljrnyc | February 7, 2008 1:23 PM

lol regarding seeing the big picture. You may want to review the latest census before you claim white male republicans have enough votes to go it alone. But why stop the go it alone mentality now?

Posted by: tomhirt | February 7, 2008 1:21 PM

cjohnman: I'm a libertarian, a former Republican congressional staffer, and southern-raised and happy to support a black man or a woman for the Presidency. I think the seriousness of the issues today call for the best person with the best ideas, regardless of what they look like, and I've found most people feel the same way. In short, you're overstating racial and sex bias a LOT.

Finally, anyone who starts a statement with, "I'm not racist, but...", usually is, even if you're not a card-carrying member of the klan.

Posted by: BABucher | February 7, 2008 1:20 PM

I did not vote for McCain.
McCain is not conservative.
He might as well join the Democratic party.

If McCain is nominated by the Republican Party, I will either sit-out this election or cast my vote for the Democratic nominatee in which case Obama or Clinton would be a better choice than McCain.

Posted by: parkeringsljus | February 7, 2008 1:20 PM

JLW509 - 15 seconds in a google search brings up the actual text of the speech he gave on the floor about the very issue you're talking about: http://www.ilga.gov/senate/transcripts/strans92/ST033001.pdf

It took me longer to register on this damn site than it took to find the exact comments he made. Read what he said yourself and don't believe every FW:FW:FW:FW:BARACK HUSSEIN OSAMA email you get.

Posted by: brockasher | February 7, 2008 1:18 PM

The conservatives had their big chance, controlling both Congress and the White
House, and they completely BLEW it. They did NOT downsize government, they increased it! They made it more invasive of personal and states rights, AND they destroyed our economy while lying their way into a disastrous illegal war against a country that was no threat to us! Also they were convicted of more corrupt behavior than any group of politicians in history! Maybe, just maybe, Americans could care less about labels like "conservative" and "liberal" when those tell them NOTHING about what will happen after the election! We need to find someone we can TRUST, not someone who adopts the correct label.

Posted by: Arjuna9 | February 7, 2008 1:17 PM

there will come a time when the public will see that Obama is like a comet, with time it will be a fading memory. his popularity is based on his ability to deliver speech but without substance, his enthusiam but without experience, his call to change but without direction, all of which in time will be his downfall. trust me, it is not because he is liberal to the bone that will end his rise but that in the end, people can be trusted to make the right choice.

Posted by: finleyspinto | February 7, 2008 1:17 PM

McCain won't win anything. Obama has the young vote. And the average young person I talk to thinks that McCain is out of touch with what's going on. Living in the past. Young voters don't feel Clinton and won't show up to the polls with such enthusiasm. There are so many Democrats that don't like Hillary, they may also go to McCain. Obama is our only hope.

Posted by: ne_voice | February 7, 2008 1:15 PM

About the only way the Republicans can win is to put Condi Rice on the ticket as VEEP.
Now THAT would REALLY raise hell with the American electorates' imagination!

McCain/Rice...has a nice ring to it. If McCain goes with Huckabee or Romney, then he'll lose just as Dole lost.

Posted by: feudi | February 7, 2008 1:13 PM

I guess I'm one of those "well off" or "educated" democrats who has "fallen" for Obama - but I can tell you the reason is extremely simple - he might actually win the presidency while Hillary Clinton stands no chance at all in the general election - it's really that simple - if a democratic victory in November is important to you he's the only "real" option (I also happen to think he'd probably make a good president). I think Hillary would probably be a decent president (if it was an actual possibility, which it is not), but Democrats who support Hillary Clinton in the primary are seriously misguided because they are putting energy into what amounts to an effort to hand the white house back to the republicans

Posted by: kingluma | February 7, 2008 1:12 PM

This article has to be one of the most nieve articles I have seen in print. Of course the conservatives are going to say nice things about Obama. The reason is they feel that they can defeat Obama easily in a general election. The conservatives do not want HRC nominated. I think that Independents and conservatives are even voting for Obama in the Democratic primaries. Thereby these additional conservative votes will ensure HRC defeat in the primaries. Don't you think it a little strange that O'bama won the Red States and lost the Blue States. I think it a very suspect state of affairs.

Posted by: politicalobserver1 | February 7, 2008 1:10 PM

Hey, wait a minute! Maybe all kinds of people want a President who will address the problems they're facing--the deaths in war of loved ones and other people's loved ones; a future with a secure job and house; universal healthcare, etc. And maybe they think that Barack Obama is the guy to deliver it.
After all, GWB & Co. have hardly kept government small and all those other Conservative ideas that seem so ill-suited to today. So why shouldn't people of all political persuasions vote for Obama--or for McCain, for that matter?
Truth-telling seems to be winning.

Posted by: dearab | February 7, 2008 1:10 PM

To jlw509:

I am an Obama supporter and thought that the vote in question you are referencing was odd as well. Until I did about 5 minutes of research which is what I encourage you to do, then it made complete sense.

Since you are probably a conservative and are just looking to push a social agenda and paint Obama as a baby hater, I will be happy to explain my findings to you.

The bill in question was sponsered (by a republican state senator) and proposed three years in a row to the Illinoise Senate. The first two years Obama voted present as he and other dems in the state legislature wanted an amendment added to the bill that it would not infringe on the landmark case Roe v. Wade, thus, voting present gave the bill sponsers and opportunity to add on said amendment.

In the third year the bill was proposed the sponsers had still not added on the amendment and simultaniously a bill was being pushed through (and passed)in the national senate with the same agenda and the very amendment Obama had requested the Illinoise proposition add. It passed on the national level so Obama voted no, as any student of civics knows, national law trumps state law so it was a moot point anyway. Which is why he refused to sign off on a state sponsered bill that had no validity and did not add the amendment that all dems requested in the state senate in the two previous years of it's proposition...

Do some research man!

Posted by: hurdle27boy | February 7, 2008 1:08 PM

I find it very odd that no one sees the big picture. It is either fear of being called a racist or complete ignorance. I myself am not a racist and find it very difficult to relate with people who are BUT the republican party has to feel very confident about the chances for re election this year. We now know either a black man or woman will be representing the democratic party. John McCain a white man who does not upset democrats as much as others (Bush) will be representing the republican party. Think people. Is this country REALLY ready to vote in a woman or black man when push comes to shove. If you are honest the answer is no. Because of this you can bet your house John McCain will be the next president. He will get most of the white man's vote and all the republicans. That adds up to a Victory.

God Bless America

Posted by: cjohnman | February 7, 2008 1:04 PM

WHEW, I thought you heaeer meant he was anti-Lesbian!

Posted by: deeptime | February 7, 2008 1:02 PM

In 2002, President Bush signed into law the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which stated that a "homo sapiens" wholly emerged from his mother with a "beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles" was to be recognized as a "'person,' 'human being,' 'child' and 'individual,' and was entitled to medical care just like any other baby. It had passed the House overwhelmingly, and the U.S. Senate 98-0.
A year after that, the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee, (where Obama served) considered an almost identical state version of the bill. On the Illinois Senate floor,Obama was the only senator to speak against the baby-protecting bill.

He did not want to concede -- as he explained in a cold-blooded speech on the Illinois Senate floor -- that these babies, fully outside their mothers' wombs, with their hearts beating and lungs heaving, were in fact "persons."

"Persons," of course, are guaranteed equal protection of the law under the 14th Amendment.

I want Obama to be questioned about this vote every day for the rest of his life.

Posted by: jlw509 | February 7, 2008 12:46 PM

Hillary and Team Clinton are never cooked, until the people refuse to nominate her, and release the stranglehold the two have on the democratic party, and the country, in which half despise the Clinton's and their flat-bed trailer full of baggage and shady connections. Republicans need to assist in this effort by supporting Obama and crossing over where possible. Democrats need to attract republicans to do just that - to cross over. Even democrats see that knotted up in Hillary's politics is her clinically proportioned compulsion to personally enrich herself to the point of conflict of interest on every real issue, both foreign and domestic.

Posted by: Rita2 | February 7, 2008 12:38 PM

It's a movement of American people behind Obama. Real people wanting real change,people that are sick of a house divided and a do nothing congress.

Listen , Obama has raised close to 8 million dollars just since the polls closed the other night , and he is doing this with regular folks donating under $200.........that ia a lot of people.

These people could care less what you try to label this man , he hasn't been in Washington long enough to become tainted and that is a huge asset.

Hillary Clinton is like George Bush on steroids , she brings with her a House divided , a do nothing congress , and SCANDAL.
Time to Turn the page
YES WE CAN

Posted by: cakemanjb | February 7, 2008 12:14 PM

It's almost like Peter Baker is trying to tell us something.

Posted by: zukermand | February 7, 2008 12:13 PM

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