Barack Obama’s climb to the Democratic nomination was given a small boost this week by Hillary “Combat” Clinton’s encounter with the footage of her not-so-hostile fire Bosnian trip. But ahead lays a problem nearly as daunting as his 20-year association with the hate-monger Reverend Jeremiah Wright: Obama would be the most liberal man to run for president since George McGovern. (Actually, George McGovern isn’t so liberal anymore; he recently penned a column in the Wall Street Journal bemoaning our country’s lack of personal accountability and warning of the unintended consequences of government meddling in the economy. Really.)
Obama’s greatest cheering section, the MSM, is painfully aware of this dilemma and is already trying to debunk the notion that Obama is an unrequited liberal. But it’s hard. Indeed it’s so hard to avoid this conclusion that we get linguistic evasions like this from the Washington Post: “In most major areas, Obama has taken positions that would seem to conform to the Republican stereotype of a liberal.” Just a stereotype, you see.
But then the Post lets on:
Like Clinton, he favors expanding the government’s role in delivering health care, and would pay for that by ending President Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. He would go a step further than Clinton by lifting the limit on income taxed for Social Security, now $100,000, to set that program on firm footing. He strongly supports abortion rights and spoke out against a Supreme Court ruling last year that upheld a ban on the procedure that some call “partial-birth” abortion. He favors allowing illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses (after some hesitation, Clinton came out against them). He is outspoken on civil rights, and he has opposed Bush’s judicial picks, staying out of a bipartisan effort to approve some nominees. While he supports the death penalty for the most “heinous” crimes, as a Senate candidate in 2004 he expressed support for strict gun control, decriminalizing marijuana and ending federal mandatory minimum prison sentences, issues he now rarely raises on the trail.
Well, it’s good to know all that adds up just to “the Republican stereotype of a liberal.” Goodness knows what a real liberal’s voting record looks like.
The Post of course is not alone in fretting that Obama, designated the most liberal U.S. Senator by the non-partisan National Journal, may be too liberal for the general electorate he would have to face in November. After all, the MSM has spent decades lecturing to conservatives that they must move to the center to win presidential elections. That is where elections are won and lost, we have been told. But wait, what does this mean then for an ultra-liberal like Obama?
The New York Times has the answer: Obama is not too liberal, he’s just “challenging the fundamental political premise that has prevailed in Washington for more than a generation: that any majority coalition must be carefully centrist, if not center-right.” That gobbledegook means one of two things: either because Obama doesn’t fit the model that the MSM decreed was a prerequisite for winning the presidency, the MSM will just change the model to accommodate their favorite son; or the Times believes that being liberal is the new norm. Don’t they wish?
The Times repeats Obama’s talking points, explaining that “he is ready for a new, self-assured era in which progressives (few have returned to using the word “liberal”) make no apologies about their goals — universal health care, withdrawing troops from Iraq, ending tax breaks for more affluent Americans — and assume that a broad swath of the public shares them.”
Well, so much for the word “liberal” — that’s passé. And what’s the basis for the assumption that the “broad swath of the public” agrees with the liberal — ooops, “progressive” — agenda? Well, Obama says so.
You see, he’s not really a liberal at all, the Times tells us:
Mr. Obama insists that while his core values are progressive, he himself is not ideological. His policy differences with Mrs. Clinton are limited, and his proposals are solidly in the mainstream of Democratic thought. In the interview, for example, he argued that his proposals on health care and the economy, which call for a stronger government role and more regulation, were really about what works.
You see, what works must be liberal so his ideas aren’t liberal, they are just what works. Got it? (And don’t bother looking for evidence that increased government control of the economy “works.” There isn’t any. And don’t be bringing up the example of western European economies which have collapsed under socialist economic politics.)
If you are dizzy from riding the roller coaster of MSM circular logic we will try to summarize. The MSM tells us: 1) Obama’s not really liberal; 2) We don’t like the term “liberal” anyway; and 3) Americans have suddenly become liberal, er, progressive so it isn’t a problem that he’s adopted every item on the far left wish list as his own.
If this sounds contrived, contradictory and lacking any factual support (did we miss the poll saying a majority of Americans favor strict gun control, open borders, government run healthcare and abortion on demand?) it is. This, after all, is the MSM trying to insulate Obama from John McCain sure-to-come attacks on Obama for being far out of the mainstream on nearly every significant policy issue. In short, the MSM is trying to prepare the battlefield for their candidate.
It’s not going to be an easy task to rebut the coming assault, which is why the MSM is starting early. They will need all the practice they can get in trying to convince Americans that Obama isn’t what he really is: Teddy Kennedy’s dream candidate.