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Monday, March 31, 2008

Is Barack Obama a centrist, or not? 


Is Barack Obama manifestly left of the center of American politics, or is he the centrist that he sounds like? Amazingly, at this stage in the campaign nobody can really be sure, which is why, I think, relatively minor episodes (the Rev. Wright kerfuffle, for example) take on such significance. We really do not know where his heart is on important subjects, carefully edited pie crust promises position papers notwithstanding. So, here is yet another clue.


21 Comments:

By Anonymous QuakerCat, at Mon Mar 31, 02:39:00 PM:

Do Centrists actually exist in the Democratic party? I believe one of the biggest issues the Republican's had when they were in power was that their Centrist wing did not/would not triangulate with the Hard Right wing.

As for Obama his commercials are on non-stop in PA. In each of the commercials he talks of an "excess profit tax" for big oil or roll back government subsidies on any big company that sends jobs overseas (which I just need to know who is getting the subsidy and how do we know whether a job was taken from an American?)

In the Democratic party how Centrist can one be if the labor unions, teachers unions, the American Bar Association and other slime have you by the short hairs? Furthermore, has the idea of things like "excess profits tax" for big oil become standard fare? Whenever a liberal speaks they always seem to blame the same people and say it is because of big oil, pharma or some other big company without actually having to explain such twisted logic. It has become liberal conventional wisdom, and you are a complete dumbshit if you dare ask a simple "why?"  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 31, 03:13:00 PM:

You are obviously not the Centrist that the Obama campaign is targeting. :)

-David  

By Blogger DEC, at Mon Mar 31, 04:20:00 PM:

I must have missed the memo. When did we start believing what politicians say?

Obama is a liberal. Hillary is a liberal. (She is far to the left of Bill.)

You have seen the incompetence in Hillary's campaign. You have seen the Democratic Party's absurdly complicated nominating process. Very few liberals can run anything bigger than a school.

I wouldn't hire Barack or Hillary for a position higher than middle management. Obama might make a great PR guy.  

By Anonymous Intelligencer, at Mon Mar 31, 05:26:00 PM:

I don't believe in unicorns, virgins, or Democratic moderates.

Particularly not when they went to Harvard Law and hung with radicals, married an anti-American, went to work as a "community organizer" for the radical group ACORN, have the most liberal voting record in the Senate, and attended a radical liberationist church for 20 years.

It's a quirk of mine.  

By Blogger Donna B., at Mon Mar 31, 06:25:00 PM:

I can't quite get past thinking that Obama has internalized the Marxist roots of Black Liberation Theology. Why else would he have stayed in that church for 20 years?

So, no... he's not a centrist. He's further left than Hillary, which is saying a lot.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Mon Mar 31, 07:50:00 PM:

Regardless of whether the notes scrawled on the questionnaire from 1996 accurately reflect his views, my sense is that Obama would be the most politically progressive modern Democrat ever to be elected POTUS, should he win in November.

He could be among the most politically conservative members of TUCC (and he might just be that, aside from, who knows, the one or two closet Republicans there), and the above statement would still be true.

The fact that he is a serious candidate that may possible win it all shows: a) how far the political mean or median in the U.S. has moved left this decade, presumably as a backlash against a sitting POTUS perceived to be too conservative and running an unpopular war; and b) Obama's tremendous personal appeal (lawyers who knew him at HLS and who now self-identify as conservatives say he was good guy and could get things done on the Law Review; I have friends who are politically moderate who went to small campaign breakfasts with him during the first half of 2007, when his campaign did not look like it would amount to much, and they said that he was quite charismatic even in small groups).

McCain is closer to the kind of forward-leaning national security leader that I would vote for (though I kind of liked Obama's debate point when he said he might consider going into the Pakistani Tribal Areas unannounced; perhaps he would consider it and then say, nahhh, maybe not), but Obama is undoubtedly at least as talented a politician as any of the candidates who ran or are still running, if for no other reason than he was able to ruin HRC's easy walk to the nomination.

It is interesting that race has become such an integral part of the discussion, not necessarily on this blog, but generally in the Democratic campaign. Centrists of both parties probably would better receive somebody like Harold Ford, Jr. (current head of the DLC) as a possible nominee from a policy standpoint, but Ford is young, perhaps too conservative for many of the base or primary voters in the party, and failed to make the jump from the House to the Senate, losing to Corker by three points in 2006. I am guessing that he does not have a Rev. Wright in his history.  

By Blogger The Ghost, at Mon Mar 31, 07:53:00 PM:

There are plenty of moderate Democratic voters. But as far as the actual politicians go, there's a special name for the moderate Democrats: Independents.  

By Blogger M. Simon, at Mon Mar 31, 08:06:00 PM:

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Obama is not a liberal. He is a communist.

Obama's Communist Mentor.

He is (like Hillary) a Saul Alinsky acolyte.  

By Blogger M. Simon, at Mon Mar 31, 08:07:00 PM:

Did I mention Black Liberation Theology and its Marxist roots?  

By Blogger Joshua, at Mon Mar 31, 08:21:00 PM:

One of my biggest factors in weighing presidential candidates is the company they keep. These are the folks who have the candidate's ear, and from whom his Cabinet nominees and advisers are most likely to come.

The company Obama keeps, and has kept over the years, tells me he is at best a racial-leftist in centrist clothing.  

By Blogger Yachira, at Mon Mar 31, 08:34:00 PM:

And these are the views of a "Centrist"?

http://www.politico.com/static/PPM43_080328_obama_iviquestionaire_091096.html

Do you support state legislation to:

a. ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns? Yes.

b. ban assault weapons? Yes.

c. mandatory waiting periods and background checks? Yes.  

By Blogger pst314, at Mon Mar 31, 08:38:00 PM:

"Obama is not a liberal. He is a communist."

But if he really has embraced Black Liberation Theology then he would be not an internationalist but a racial nationalist, and thus a fascist. Something to think about....  

By Blogger Will, at Mon Mar 31, 09:04:00 PM:

Take away the pretty face and the smooth voice and what remains? Just another left-wing political hack.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 31, 10:10:00 PM:

I think all you commenters today have some real anger issues to deal with in respect to Barack Obama. Really. :)

He could very well be our next president. Let's not set ourselves up for another four years of anger and political hatred. Frankly, I can't take all the stress involved, myself.

Give the guy a real chance to screw up once elected, then unload on him. Geez, show a little patience.

But seriously, he is pretty far to the left. It will be interesting to see if he moves to a 'centrist' position once he wins the nomination from Hillarity.

-David  

By Anonymous Dawnfire82, at Mon Mar 31, 10:43:00 PM:

"But if he really has embraced Black Liberation Theology then he would be not an internationalist but a racial nationalist, and thus a fascist. Something to think about...."

Wow, you're right. Ought to forward that to the Hillary and McCain camps.

"Give the guy a real chance to screw up once elected, then unload on him."

I think we'd just rather he not be elected at all.  

By Blogger pst314, at Mon Mar 31, 10:54:00 PM:

"you commenters...have some real anger issues"

Yeah, disapproval of racism and radical leftism means "anger issues". I can see why you keep your comments totally anonoymous. I wouldn't want to be associated with that sort of imbecility either.  

By Blogger Fat Man, at Mon Mar 31, 11:50:00 PM:

every time I have listened to He Who Must Not Be Middle Named, I have heard very liberal stuff. If I had to summarize the conclusion the Greatest Speech Ever Given, I would say it is that capitalism has created alienation among blacks and whites and that socialism will unify us.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Apr 01, 08:55:00 AM:

pst314,

That was supposed to be sarcasm.

The stupid little symbol at the end, " :) " is grin.

Lighten up. Really. As if a handful of posters at one blog is going to turn the election one way or another. Many of you seem to have an overweening sense of your own importance.

I frequently hear all manner of unfiltered hate directed at George Bush. It's pretty ugly to listen to. Don't make the same mistake and create monsters out of other human beings, the way the Bush haters do.

But then I guess I'm an anonymous imbecile. so what difference would that make?

-David  

By Anonymous Dawnfire82, at Tue Apr 01, 01:07:00 PM:

"Many of you seem to have an overweening sense of your own importance."

All I've seen is people sharing political opinions with one another.

I think you're seeing what you expect to see.  

By Blogger pst314, at Tue Apr 01, 10:10:00 PM:

Anonymous,

So you can say anything, no matter how foolish, and you are immune from criticism if you finish it with a smiley?? Yeah, sure.

So you can say anything, no matter how foolish, and as long as you finish it with a smiley you must not be criticized? Yeah, sure. But really, you can't have it both ways. Either you mean what you say or you don't. And since you make it clear that you do, then we are entitled to disagree and to point out why you are wrong.

And as for your assertion that we should all shut up, stop raising objections, and embrace the idea of an Obama presidency, well, which Maoist theorist did you get that one from?  

By Blogger pst314, at Tue Apr 01, 10:14:00 PM:

Dawnfire82,

Anonymous, in his/her risibly clumsy attempts to psychoanalyze us, illustrates an old tactic of the left: Marginalize or even silence opponents by portraying any dissent as evidence of a psychological disorder. It's more common to simply smear opponents as racists and sexists whose motives must always be assumed to be evil, but when that tactic fails lefties will often resort to the slimier psychobabble slanders.

Isn't it charming how lefties, those archetypal advocates of free speech, persist in using dirty tricks to silence those they disagree with? Charming.  

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