February 17, 2008

"Republicans are out to crush Barack by painting him as a leftwinger..."

Headlines the TimesOnline. The text of the article features these quotes from Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich:
Grover Norquist, an influential conservative tax reform lobbyist, said: “Barack Obama has been able to create his own image and introduce himself to voters, but the swing voters in a general election are not paying attention yet. He is open to being defined as a leftwing, corrupt Chicago politician."...

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and Republican guru, recently described Obama as the “most leftwing candidate to run since George McGovern”...
This article is collecting a lot of blog links. Firedoglake is just laughing at the lameness of those 2 geezers saying what they always say about Democrats. Buck Naked Politics also thinks the part about leftiness is the same old thing, but frets about the ticking time bomb that is the Rezko real estate deal. But in the rightosphere, they're perceiving Hillary Clinton's fingerprints all over this. Protein Wisdom writes:
Bob “The Prince of Darkness” Novak reports:
Strategists for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign believe it is imperative to identify her high-flying opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, with the “McGovern wing” of the Democratic Party — but they want to keep their candidate’s fingerprints off the attack.
Presumably, leaking it to Novak would be considered counter-productive to that sort of secrecy.

Now that her cover is blown, perhaps Clinton ought to be more overt about comparing Obama to McGovern.

She can say that the Right is going [here, Protein Wisdon links to the same TimesOnline article] to compare Obama to McGovern — and the Clintons cut their teeth in national politics working for the McGovern campaign — which compels her to raise the subject.

She knows better than most the story of how Edmund Muskie was the “inevitable” nominee in 1972, only to have the more anti-war McGovern campaign surge past Muskie to capture the Democratic nomination. She can talk about how McGovern did this by winning caucuses in normally Republican states — just like her good friend Barack is doing now....

She could point out that nominating the most dovish candidate, even during an unpopular war, generally does not win elections....
Aptly put.

Anyway, how big of a lefty is Barack Obama? I know there's this theory he's whatever you want him to be:
"I would like today to announce a tentative decision — I’m still thinking about it — to endorse Barack Obama,” [Rush Limbaugh] said, his head cocked slightly toward his 18-karat-gold-plated microphone, his hands spread wide like the wings of his sleek G4 jet.

Mr. Limbaugh then listed nearly a dozen qualities he said he found admirable in Mr. Obama. “Barack Obama is pro-life,” he began. “Barack Obama is a tax-cutter extraordinaire.”

If neither statement was descriptive of Mr. Obama, a liberal Democrat, nor was there much hope for what followed. “Barack Obama will establish a college football playoff, once and for all,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “Barack Obama will offer free-beer Fridays.”

His point, Mr. Limbaugh said, was that Mr. Obama represented “a blank canvas upon which anyone can project their fantasies and desires.”
But — and you know I'm trying to write a post called "Why I'm voting for Barack Obama in the Wisconsin primary" — I'm thinking he's less of a lefty ideologue — less left and less ideologue — than Hillary Clinton. So I focused on this part of the TimesOnline article, close to the bottom:
... Obama’s chief economics adviser, Austan Gools-bee, a professor at the University of Chicago, is a supporter of the free market. Obama has also been endorsed by Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Robert Wolf, the chief executive of UBS Americas, the financial group, is a big donor. “When I sat down with him, I found him to be unbelievably refreshing and smart and thoughtful,” he said.

Am I just projecting? "Refreshing and smart and thoughtful" resonates with me.


George said...

Kool-Aid is refreshing, too, but I wouldn't drink this flavor...

Accounts of the campaign’s “Camp Obama” sessions, to train volunteers, have a revivalist flavor. Volunteers are urged to avoid talking about policy to potential voters, and instead tell of how they “came” to Mr. Obama.


"Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands...that...we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken....I am married to the only person in this race who can heal this nation....[Barack] is going to demand that you shed your cynicism.... Barack will never let you go back to your lives as usual!"

-Michelle Obama (audio)

Mr. Forward said...

"Anyway, how big of a lefty is Barack Obama? I know there's this theory he's whatever you want him to be:"

That would make him ambidextrous.

Richard Fagin said...

It's harder to sort out the "ideologue" part, but Obama's voting record as a state and United States senator suggests he's more "left" than Sen. Clinton.

Republicans won't need all that much paint to do their painting.

Editor said...

Hi Ann,

My comments on my Blog.


MadisonMan said...

My opinion is that General Election candidates are never so out there as when they're trying to win the nomination from the very out there wing of the party. Win left then tack right for Democrats, Win right then tack left for Republicans.

Bob said...

Go by his record as a Senator. Most Leftist Senator in the Senate last year.

TROBlog said...

Obama? A left-winger? Who woulda guessed?

It's probably all that religion he is throwing around. Everyone knows only Republicans mix politics with religion, right?

TMink said...

Read his economic proposals. That will take about 30 minutes.

Then read how he will pay for his economic proposals.

That will not take any time as he does not say!

I hope you think quite highly of him, because if he wins, you will be sending him and congress a LOT more of your money!

That is the most telling messianic underpinning of his campaign. Obama will end government waste and inneffeciency with a word!


Middle Class Guy said...
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Middle Class Guy said...

Regarding the Rezko flap; Obama is an attorney. He did legal work for Rezko. So what? If she brings up Rezko, then he can dig up all the clients at the old, corrupt Rose Law firm. Whitewater redux. He gave most of Rezkos contributions to charity. That is a non-issue. If every candidate who is an attorney was judged and tarred by their clients, lawyers could not run for office.

All this talk of who is to Liberal or too conservative is nonsense. We need a president who can work with both parties. On the Dem side, it is Obama. Obama will not declare open warfare if he does not get his way. He is the adult. With Hillary, we will always be afraid to make the baby cry.

McCain has the experience working with the Legislature and knows how things work to accomplish goals.

We have a nice guy and an experienced guy. If either one is elected maybe we can have four years of domestic peace in the government.

PatCA said...

He has advisers, but he has policies too. Read his economic program--it's a blueprint for a government-controlled economy, albeit a nice, fresh, intelligent government. http://hotair.com/archives/2008/02/16/checking-out-obamas-economic-plan/

Read his letter to Tesco demanding they build grocery stores where he...er, the unions and lefties want them to. "Justice on the March!" Power to the people, some of them, right on. http://www.laane.org/newsletter/0712/JusticeOntheMarch.html

Pogo said...

he's whatever you want him to be

Sounds like Barack is just political phone sex.

rhhardin said...

"Refreshing and smart and thoughtful" resonates with me.

I think it's very appealing when applied to a man, to a woman

She wants a decision, and wants all her complexities and misgivings heard, but of course you have to give it to a man to decide.

In a way you're happy with, until the next quest issue comes up.

She can't decide it herself, because it would then just become more complexity added to the existing complexity. The past stays attached forever unless some man takes care of it.

Where are we?

1. Must listen to me.

2. Must then decide for me.

3. This cuts the complexity of the past free, leaving only a single attachment point, he who decided.

4. This is a possible attachment point for the reflex of disattachment, recrimination, should that be necessary.

Giving it to a man to decide gives women a Faraday cage against eminations of the past, finally simplifying the complexities she has accumulated.

A man, on the other hand, just says the hell with the past and sets off anew, without a misgiving in the world. The abstracing sex has it easy.

A man would be happy with a candidate with good one-liners and zingers. It shows he can abstract quickly.

Limbaugh had a nice line on Obama, He's telling the hopeless that there's hope in hope , I think from Obama's Madison speech.

tomb1 said...

Is 2008 the year of a Race To The Bottom?

Obama is just like McGovern (started by the Clintons and the Democratic Party establishment).

McCain is just like Bob Dole (started by the Conservative Talk Show Establishment).

So which candidate will be less worse????

SGT Ted said...

No need for paint. Obama is a leftwinger in the progressive tradition. Which drew its inspiration from the fascist movements in Europe in the 30s. Kinda like Ws compassionate conservatism, quite frankly.

I do love the irony of all the moonbats now denouncing Hillary! for pointing out the obvious in respect to Obamas politics. There isn't that much light to be seen between the two policy solutions. But, Hillary is now the untermenche and must be purged from the party as an apostate and made an unperson. The left always eats their own.

peter hoh said...

Where George W. Bush offered compassionate conservatism, Obama is offering pragmatic progressivism.

To win a nomination, you have to tell people what they want to hear. To lead, you have to get people to accept some of what they don't want to hear. Who is going to be able to tell people in their 50s that their retirement age (to collect Social Security) is going to be higher than 65?

M. Simon said...

If Obama's campaign fails he can go to work for Coke.

Yes we can or bottle. Your choice.


Obama did a real estate deal that looks like a sweetheart deal with Rezko when Tony was under indictment.

Chicago politics at its best.


When I read Obama's plans for our country I get hope. And inspiration.

I hope he doesn't win and I'm inspired to work against him.

Donald Douglas said...

How big of a lefty is Obama?

How big do you want? He's like a Rorschach.

He's wildly pandering to the left on Iraq, and minimum wages, and health, in his recent victory speeches. Real politics of meaning there, especially for the anti-Bush youngsters he's mobilizing.

I think O'Hanlon nailed it the other day, though, with his WSJ piece on Obama's extremist diplomacy. Not good going wide open with diplomatic arms to our implacable non-friends in nasty places.

American Power

Paul Snively said...

I saw an Obama commercial in which he promised to do three things:

1. Provide universal healthcare.
2. End the Bush tax cuts.
3. End the war in Iraq.

I give the man credit for saying what he believes, but talk about the trifecta from hell! This is the candidate who's promising to work across the aisle and end partisanship? There isn't an economic conservative or hawk of any stripe who would go for Obama's agenda!

B said...

Obama’s chief economics adviser, Austan Gools-bee, a professor at the University of Chicago, is a supporter of the free market.

Oooooo - That settles it! His CHIEF ECONOMICS ADVISER is a supporter of free markets. Why, how can Obama possibly be far to the left is his CHIEF ECONOMICS ADVISER is a supporter of free markets?

Is this an example of reasoning taught in the Law School at UW?

Please respond, because I have a nephew that has applied there and 7 other schools, and I'm certain he would like to narrow his choices accordingly.

Alan said...


Obama could do what Republicans do to pay for increased spending--cut taxes.

Too many jims said...


But cutting taxes didn't actually pay for the increased spending. Mortgaging our (and our children's) future to the House of Saud and the Chinese did.

Too many jims said...

MadisonMan said...
Win right then tack left for Republicans.

Do you think that is true this year? McCain has it locked up and I see him tacking right.

dick said...

Too Many Jims:

Care to amplify that Chinese sell-out a bit more? I seem to remember that the whole Chinese sell-out started a bit earlier - Buddhist nuns, weaponry, nuclear secrets - Norman Hsu et al.

If I were a Democrat (God forbid) I would not want to push that bit about China too far - nor would I push Saudi Arabia either (BCCI, anyone???).

With regard to Obama, I would like to hear his plans - and then I would like to hear how he plans to pay for them without taking all our money. I would also like to hear how he is going to raise taxes and bring more money is. Seems like every they raise taxes, they raise less money, not more.

Then I want to hear how he is going to reach across the aisle. If you are pushing a program that is certain to raise the hackles of the people of the opposite party, then how are you going to reach across the aisle to get that program passed and expect those senators to work with you. Ain't gonna happen unless you have someone like Ev Dirkson and Charlie Halleck to push them through or you know where all the bodies are buried. Obama does not have that advantage and so I don't see how he can accomplish anything he says he will.

Reminds me of Massachusetts and Gov Patrick. The Globe was all for him and the party regulars thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. Now he is like dirt under their feet and they are tromping all over him and his programs. Obama has the same MO and the results would be the same except on a national basis. If he went back to Illinois and ran for and became a viable governor, then I could see supporting him - executive experience, working with the other party, well-spoken, intelligent. Until then, no thank you.

Middle Class Guy said...

All this talk about McGovern reminds me of something. If I am not mistaken, after that convention, the Democrats implemented the super delegates. They did it to avoid another maverick form dominating future races again. If, by chance, a maverick became too powerful, the party could over ride him with the use of the super delegates.

joe said...

"Painting" him as a left-winger implies that he is not. His record, his views are what makes him a leftist. He is about the worst in the Senate.

rossi said...

Unfortunately for the 'look back' crowd, most of Obama's key demographic do not remember McGovern.

The silly comparisons between today and decades ago belies ration and reality. The press and punditry are looking for ample fuel to spill on whomever the darling is of the week.

I suspect Bill Kristol, once he's through writing columns on Super Tuesday as if it happened this afternoon, will be writing about this in two weeks

whiskey_199 said...

Obama on guns: he's on record as wanting to ban all handguns. He's on record as wanting to ban all semi-automatic rifles.

Since Al Gore reckoned Gun Control/Bans cost him TN and the election, this is a loser. Popular among his black/urban state legislative district, but not nationwide.

This issue alone could cost him TX, TN, GA, FL, most of the South and West.

Obama's "Global Tax on America" bill being pushed through by Joe Biden -- $845 billion in foreign aid given directly to foreign governments. In a recession? It also has provisions for a back-door gun ban and confiscation (through mandatory adherence to the UN "ban" on small arms) and signs up America for Kyoto (which WILL kill American jobs in Detroit and elsewhere) along with joining the ICC and allowing Iran to prosecute Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in Tehran for "war crimes."

His "Muslim Summit" speaks of pandering to Muslims who demand Americans and Westerners observe Sharia. Restrictions on what Americans can do or say about Islam, Mohammed, etc. After thirty plus years of hostage taking, terrorism, "Death to America!" and 9/11, this pandering to Muslims is not a winner.

All in all, this is electoral suicide. Obama's positions as a matter of record are not just left but HARD LEFT. It should shock no one. He's represented a HARD LEFT IL State Senate district. He's never run against a tough Republican opponent in a swing state. Alan Keyes does not count. Gary Coleman could beat Alan Keyes.

Gun Control ALONE will make unhappy conservatives rush out and vote for McCain. Because Obama proposes to seize their guns. MASSIVE turnout from the rural and suburban Southern and Western White voters. Add to that the job killing measures, the "Global Tax" sending money from America to "ungrateful" foreign dictators from an economically pressed middle class, and "unpatriotic" measures designed to let our enemy in Tehran replay the 1979 Hostage Crisis ad infinitum along with base pandering to Muslims (who most Americans see as our enemy since 1979) and this approaches a McGovern-style loss.

Bush and Republicans are extraordinarily vulnerable on the "right" on National Security -- i.e. a strategy of new "sticks" that don't cost much: from Delta Force targeted assassinations of guys like Ahmadinejad, to Kosovo-style Clinton bombings, up to nukes if we have to in response to attacks or threats.

The key is to tap into the resurgence of Nationalism caused by economic distress and threats from foreigners. Volvo-yuppie NPR style "lifestyle" issues will get McGovern results.

whiskey_199 said...

But Dems hate Nationalism.

Obama won't say the Pledge of Alliegance (like Dukakis before him) or wear a lapel flag pin. Doubtless this plays well in his anti-American urban black community and far-left wealthy white suburbanites in Berkeley.

But it's disaster everywhere else.

Depend on it -- Republicans WILL make this an issue because it symbolizes Obama's "conditional love" for America. He loves it (and it's people) only when America agrees with him. Call it the Ike Turner school of love. "Baby I love you but sometimes you make me so angry!"

It's a clear and easy way for everyone to understand the kind of pol Obama is. It's very effective because it illustrates his class-wealth-ethnic politics gap between him and his coalition (poor blacks who dislike/hate whites, wealthy white yuppies) and the average American (white, middle class to working class, patriotic because patriotism increases their power by expanding their social network of "trust.")

Democrats lose even when they should win against weak candidates because outside of Bill Clinton no candidate understands the white middle and working class. Instead they have contempt for them and it shows.

[I see a lot of pandering to anti-American sentiment by Obama. I see NOTHING aimed directly at peeling off white middle/working class voters from Republicans. Nothing economic, cultural, or social. No surprise -- Obama's coalition would be outraged at any such offers.]

Omaha1 said...

I am assuming that you are only voting for Obama because this is a primary. Given your previous support of our efforts in Iraq it would be surprising for you to vote for him in November, unless you think his promises to “bring the troops home” would be negated by a more hawkish attitude in Congress (at this point in time it’s not really debatable whether we should have gone there in the first place; the present issue is what a perceived retreat would do to our reputation in the Middle East and elsewhere).

I sense that this is more of a vote against Hillary, a pseudo-feminist who expected an easy ride to power on her husband’s coattails, leaving the destroyed lives of Bill’s victims in their joint wake. There is also the issue of “dynastic” politics, which I and many others find distasteful.

“Refreshing and smart and thoughtful” might make a good first impression but I don’t see any of his ideas as revolutionary. Higher taxes, socialist health care, and an anti-war mentality are nothing new. Obama as a person is more appealing than Hillary or McCain but the United States is not Europe, and I think he will have a hard time selling his policies here. Charisma alone does not make a good chief executive.

Ann Althouse said...

Omaha, he has refused to promise to get all the troops out within a year and said that as commander in chief he needs to keep his options open. I think he will be responsible about the situation once he is in power. I think it is the real doves who ought to worry that he's fooling them. But perhaps I too am a victim of hope.

I'll make my decision about the general election when the time comes. I have some concerns about McCain. His age. The fact that I think the President needs to change from one party to the other periodically. And I'm getting tired of hearing the phrase "Islamofascism." I don't think we need that for 4 more years of that, even though I'm a national security hawk.

hdhouse said...

remember it is also lush lowbrow who is pegging Obama as the "magic negro".

neutron newt and grover quisling really are, well, passe....n'est pas?

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Is it rational to vote for a candidate, hoping that he will change?

Isn't that a case of hope triumphing over experience?

Clyde said...

Obama's voting record is unequivocal: He is THE most liberal Senator, bar none. I'm sure that the Republicans will be accused of Swift Boating if they make that fact known.

(Swift Boating is when you tell vicious truths about someone.)

Jim C. said...

Althouse wrote, Am I just projecting? "Refreshing and smart and thoughtful" resonates with me.

IMO you are projecting, like everyone else. There's no way I'd vote for him, but I do feel the strong pull of his charisma.

As for the resonance, there are what I consider two code words there. "Refreshing" seems to mean "something I agree with coming from an unexpected direction." "Thoughtful" doesn't mean anything, really. Personally I came to hate the word since someone applied it to Michael Moore's despicable post-9/11 column and some of this other garbage.

rhhardin said...

Hold the presses!

Democrats are abandoning Bill Clinton — and Hillary — like rats from a sinking ship.

Like bacteriocin from a rhizosphere-colonizing plant, I would have said, just googling for an amusing possibility.

MTfromCC said...

I know a woman from Stafford, virginia, Cuban by birth, pro-life and conservative, who hated all of the GOP candidates and decided that she was voting for Obama if he's on the ballot in November (she voted in the GOP Primary last week). If Hillary is the nominee, she may not vote or she will very reluctanntly vote for McCain, but she simply does not think a 73 year old who is tied to Bush's policies should be the next President. I have explained to her how liberal Obama is and she told me that she doens't care, she just thinks that he can shake things up and change the current dynamic, whic she hates even more than she hates "liberalism"

Spitting and hissing the word "liberal" isn't going to cut it this time. All of this corrosive politics has wron out a critical mass of voters who will put Obama in the White House. Those who think it is a cult of personality are looking at this through a prism that no longer works. He is dead right when he says this election is about the past versus the future. I can;t imagine why anybody would want to change the current dynamic.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Well, McCain has seven and a half months to make his counter-case now.

He has to make this an election of stark choices in governing philosophy. (Which it is.)

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Middle Class Guy said...

Ann Althouse said...
Omaha, he has refused to promise to get all the troops out within a year

I believe he stated he would gradually reduce combat troops- infantry, artillery, armor, etc. Combat troops only represent between ten and fifteen percent of the military operation. Support and combat support make up the bulk of the military and it operations.

These troops along with some other specialized units "could" remain to ensure that the place does not implode.

Ralph said...

McCain looks just like his mother, who's 95 and still "with it". She may be crazy as a loon, however. Men's brains do mush out sooner than women's due to the drop in testosterone levels. My father at 80 is not nearly as sharp as he was a few years ago, but after 20 years with my step-monster, it amazes me he's functioning and sane.

TMink said...

Alan wrote concerning my worries where Obama would get the money for his proposed huge increase in social spending and government regulation: "Obama could do what Republicans do to pay for increased spending--cut taxes."

Spot on Alan!

The very reason I am not a Republican!


Sloanasaurus said...

I think he will be responsible about the situation once he is in power. I think it is the real doves who ought to worry that he's fooling them. But perhaps I too am a victim of hope.

Obama vocalized a thoughtful withdrawal back in 2006. He either changed his position or revealed his true feelings when joined in the Democrat's crusade to end the war in 2007 and stop the surge. So you have what Obama said in 2006 - act responsibly.... and what Obama does more recently - vote to pull out as soon as possible (just 6 months ago). The campaign by Democrats to end the war in 2007 is one of the most irresposible actions by Congress in America history and Obama was part of that. It looks even worse now in hindsight after the surge has worked.

Obama showed extreme naivete and arrogence when he argued that Democrats were responsible for the Sunni awakening. The Sunni awakening came because of 1) the valient effort of our troops and 2) the bad strategy implemented by Al Qaeda. It had nothing to do with Democrats threatening a pull out. Besides, for Obama's claim to be true, it must mean that the average Sunni in Anbar understands American politics.....As we know, not even Saddam understood America.

Also what is this talk about Obama reaching out across the aisle and working together. The fact that Obama is one of the most left wing senators is evidence that he is more of a partisan and not a centrist. Legislators who "reach-out" are those who build centrist records, i.e., they compromise with the other side. Obama has no centrist record and therefore record of compromising. He just votes as a partisan democrat with a smile.

David said...

Read the Obama tax plan. Yikes!

Sandy Koufax and Johnny Podres were righthanders compared to this.

Simon said...

MTfromCC said...
"I know a woman from Stafford, virginia, Cuban by birth, pro-life and conservative, who hated all of the GOP candidates and decided that she was voting for Obama if he's on the ballot in November (she voted in the GOP Primary last week)."

I hate to be so blunt, but if you vote for Obama, one effectively hands in whatever pro-life conservative credentials one might have had. That's really the bottom line. A vote for that guy is a vote against everything both platforms stand for. It wouldn't be heresy, it'd be apostasy. I don't resort to profanity often, this isn't the leftosphere and we do things more civilized here, but for the sake of emphasis, I'll put it this way: my friends to my right, with all due respect, need to grow the fuck up, recognize what is at stake in this election and what the other side believes, and they need to do it quickly. McCain ≠ Clinton, and McCain certainly ≠ Obama.

Kirk Parker said...


"Am I just projecting? 'Refreshing and smart and thoughtful' resonates with me."

Well, I worry that you are projecting, but then again given Obama's tabula rasa status, who could know?

It should be pointed out that looking or sounding smart is not necessarily the same as actually being smart, and things he's said in the foreign policy arena sound powerfully stupid and naive to me.

And as far as getting tired of hearing the phrase "Islamofascism"--take a tip from Mr. Limbaugh and don't fall for the Symbolism over Substance trap. There is something genuinely going on there, and worrying about how we talk about it more than how we act in response is a recipe for failure.