Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Obama as Typical Politician

This unfriendly NEW REPUBLIC article actually gives McCain some good advice. It’s a mistake to brand Barack as a "typical politician." If that’s what he seems to be, he’ll easily win the election, given all the advantages of merely being a Democrat right now. If Mac seems an honorable man of character and Barack seems just a typical Democrat, Obama wins. The Republicans have to convince Americans that Obama is, in fact, too ideological to be mistaken for a typical politician or a typical Democrat.

Discussions - 6 Comments

I see what you're driving at, Peter, but I don't think that "typical politician" and "ideologue" are (necessarily) mutually exclusive. I think Obama is both. The ideologue part of him hurts him with conservatives and center-right Americans who have conservative instincts, but don't identify strongly as conservatives. But the "typical politician" label hurts him with his base. I'm not particularly concerned with the entrenched among his base, but conservatives ought to be concerned with the younger and newer members of his base. They think he is a "new kind of politician" and "post-partisan"--all of which is, demonstrably, bull. Showing them this may persuade them. I don't think waiting for them to grow up or be disillusioned on their own is going to be enough this time. At least it won't be enough in time.

Julie, Good point, although my own view is that Obama is not a mere politician but has a very definite "radical" agenda. Consider, for example, the ways he's both exploited and carefully distanced himself from the Daley machine. This guy knows what he's doing.

Agreed. I said, essentially, the same thing last week in a comment under my post on the DC gun ban. He is (if he pulls it off) more insidious than Clinton ever was.

...and it's his {Obama's} very insidiousness that's going to - pretty soon - cause me to stop throwing away the fundraising appeal letters from the McCain campaign. I'm not so sure that McCain *must* be elected, but I *am* SURE that Obama must not be.

I think TNR is largely right on this one. God knows why they would give Republicans honest advice, but it does seem correct.

David maybe TNR is giving republicans good advice because such advice is of the character of Darwin's discoveries. What I mean to say is that the advice is obvious. The generic democrat numbers are a great obstacle. They do in essence mean that republicans will have to convince people that Obama is too ideological. But "To believe McCain can nonetheless get away with labeling his opponent a typical pol without having the charge boomerang on him reflects a gross misunderstanding of campaign journalism".

Unless McCain does something very upsetting to the base like nominating Lieberman. A McCain Leiberman style ticket is the only one that will be capable of deflecting the campain journalism boomerang.

A McCain Lieberman style ticket is the most likely to allow McCain to paint Obama as something other than a typical pol, because it is the only one that provides the sort of overall package coherence that can hold up to constant scrutiny. Because it puts into play the question of why a lifelong democrat is running with a republican if McCain is really McSame and Obama is really a typical democrat.

In other words painting Obama as something other than a typical democrat will require a perspective from which McCain can do so, that perspective to the glee of TNR is actually to the "left" of where McCain is running.

On the other hand it may be that such "good" advice is simply a deterministic account ment to discourage republicans, but it seems to me that such a deterministic account is about the only thing that would bring together all the various wings. If what they would otherwise desire is not possible, then the story changes. From a centrist McCain position Obama is capable of looking like an ideologue, and the mentality becomes that of comment 4.

In other words it is impossible for McCain to run or position himself to the right to a sufficient degree to achieve assurances from the components of the Republican party that they are voteing for him because he *must* be elected. Such a McCain would produce a typical Obama that would crush him on the integrity of the generic numbers alone.

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