July 11, 2008

TRANSCENDENT? HE IS THE CATEGORY:

Barack McGovern Clinton (Peter Wehner, 7/11/08, National Review)

Andrew Sullivan, one of Barack Obama’s most ardent defenders, has written this:

The right doesn’t know what to make of Obama because he has transcended their Rovian categories. So he either has to be a radical like McGovern or a hollow opportunist like Clinton. He is, in fact, neither.

Obama may, in fact, be both.

Sen. Obama’s instincts seem to be, and his few legislative accomplishments are unquestionably, those of an orthodox liberal. It is not by accident that National Journal — a respected, non-partisan publication — named Obama the most liberal person in the Senate in 2007. In a chamber that includes Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, that is, in its own way, quite an achievement. Sen. Obama is arguably the most liberal Democrat running for the presidency since McGovern and, in fact, Obama’s stand on Iraq (until the last few weeks, anyway) very much mirrors McGovern’s “Come Home, America” rallying cry.

Where Obama differs from McGovern is in his style and countenance.


What's more significant in electoral terms is where Bill Clinton differed from both. He'd governed a conservative Southern state so he actually had a history of governance that jibed with middle American values and was prepared to move back to the middle after the debacle of his first two years.

George McGovern mistakenly thought that America was a liberal nation because Democrats had won so many elections during his lifetime. He was the last of the true believers. Generally, Democratic nominees have been more like John Kerry, lifelong liberals forced to run Right in the general. Inevitably, this process makes them look like hollow men, whether they are or not. Senator Obama is virtually indistinguishable from John Kerry.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 11, 2008 11:24 AM
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