Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Obama the Moderate

While Obama makes his abrupt ideological U-turn, a move that pretty much any serious presidential candidate knows he has to make in the general election, those in the left hemisphere of cyberspace are not happy.

Anyone who follows presidential politics closely is aware of the post-nomination shuffle. It's a little ditty that any serious presidential candidate has to learn if he/she is going to win a national election. During the primary, you court the party base - those who are faithful supporters of your particular party - these people want the red meat. In Obama's case, he had no problem with this part of the process. What little record he has is extremely liberal, so he had no problem convincing the very liberal base of the Democratic Party that he was one of them.

The tricky part comes after you've secured the base. Neither candidate can win nationally as a hardcore liberal or conservative. There are just too many squishy apathetic types who don't pay any attention to politics, and want a candidate who at least appears to be moderate. The trick is to appeal to these moderate voters without angering the base. Obama seems to be having a bit of trouble with this, as he's clearly been moving to the center over the last few weeks...

During the primary, Mr. Obama was a fire-breathing critic of free-trade deals, condemning the North American Free Trade Agreement as a job-killer that he vowed to renegotiate or scrap. He opposed renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which would give telephone companies immunity from lawsuits when they help the government tap phone lines.

He was a leading gun-control advocate as an Illinois state senator and backed the District's gun ban. He was a sharp critic of President Bush's faith-based services program to help the poor that was blocked by Democrats. He told Planned Parenthood he "would not yield" on abortion and denounced a Supreme Court decision upholding a ban on partial-birth abortion.

But in the past few weeks, Mr. Obama has, at a minimum, nuanced if not outright flip-flopped on all of those positions in a race to the political center to reposition himself for the general election. He told Fortune magazine he believes in free trade and does not want to overturn or pull out of NAFTA. He endorsed the pending FISA bill, saying "the issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security interests of the American people."

He's also come out in support of the Supreme Court's decision striking down the D.C. gun ban, despite his previous positions. It'll be very interesting to see how the fruit-loops react as he continues his rightward turn. They're already beginning to see that their "messiah" is just another politician. It just goes to show how naive liberals tend to be - not just about the viability of their socialist policies, but about the way most people in this country think.

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