Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama the Liberal: More Bricks in the Wall

By now it's abundantly clear that to judge him solely on the issues, Barack Obama is as liberal as any candidate the Democrats have nominated for president in the modern era. George McGovern, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis would be proud. As the campaign unfolds, we are likely to see more evidence of this. Today brings several items to bolster the claim.

Scott Mirengoff unearthed this video, which by itself would have ended Obama's campaign in the Cold War era:

Greg Mankiw points to this analysis of Obama's Patriot Employer Act, which has earned strong criticisms from economists and fiscal conservatives:

Barack Obama, the likely Democratic presidential candidate, has proposed tax breaks for US corporations that invest at home rather than abroad. This column argues that his proposal is protectionist, reactionary, and economically unsound.

That puts it firmly in line with the modern liberal tradition. Dorothy Coleman also comments on the problems with the proposal.

John Hinderaker considers whether, in light of Obama's liberalism, we are taking him too lightly. He argues that Reagan won because American voters saw how liberalism failed as a governing philosophy. He finds that times may have changed:

Today, the benefit of that experience has largely been lost. A generation of American voters has not experienced the failures of the Great Society, the near-collapse of American cities, double-digit inflation and unemployment, seventy percent tax brackets, or the disaster of Jimmy Carter's foreign policy. In the absence of historical memory, and with a powerful assist from the ever-forgetful press, liberalism is once again emerging as the philosophy that sounds good...

This is true. But it's also worth considering that no one on the national stage is willing to embrace the label 'liberal.' Obama avoids it, and Democrats are still trying hard to rebrand themselves as 'progressive.' If McCain can convince the people that Obama really is an old line liberal, that label alone may still be powerful enough to win him the election.

No comments: