Friday, May 16, 2008



The highest priority talking point the RNC has given the shills it uses on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and even on the broadcast networks that once had journalistic standards, is that Barack Obama is the "most liberal" member of the Senate. They even managed to put together a few pre-selected votes that, when compared to other senators, make him look more liberal-- a lot more liberal. However, a comprehensive look at Obama's voting record shows, unfortunately, the opposite. One of the reasons we were late in endorsing Obama here at DWT is because Hillary, like him a moderate, has a more liberal, more progressive voting record.

But no matter which way you slice and dice Obama's entire record, he comes up towards the bottom of the Democratic pack when it comes to being a liberal. That doesn't stop Republican shills from brainwashing the American public with their Big Lie and it doesn't ever cause fact checkers at CNN or MSNBC (Fox has no fact checkers, for obvious reasons) or at the networks to actually take a look.

But let's do that. Here is the comparative ranking of all 100 senators-- across the board on all votes, not pre-selected votes-- for the '07-'08 session. As you can see, Obama comes in at #40, just ahead of conservative Max Baucus (D-MT) and moderate Jon Tester (D-MT) and not quite as good as moderates Tom Carper (D-DE) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND). Compared to a die-hard neo-fascist like Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jim DeMint (R-SC) or John Cornyn (R-TX), Obama seems progressive but his voting record paints a clearly and unmistakably mainstream, moderate picture. By way of comparison, Hillary's rank is #29

OK, you may say, did he turn right in the last session because he wanted to trick Americans into thinking he isn't a flaming liberal? Take a look at his lifetime Senate voting record. It's a bit better, but still very far from "the most liberal." He ranks at #24 (Hillary is #18). Most telling of all, however, since it cuts out party-line procedural votes, is the Chips Are Down score, which ranks senators based on substantive votes based on partisan divisions. This is the one that separates the liberals from the right-wing loons. I wish Obama were more liberal but this shows him to be a dead center moderate: #43, worse than Max Baucus, although at least somewhat better than McCain ally Joe Lieberman. Liberman's voting record-- which includes supporting every single Bush-Cheney policy item regarding endless war in Iraq-- is 7 points more conservative than Obama. Actual Democratic liberals like Dick Durbin (D-IL; who else represents that state?), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) have more than 20 points of separation between their scores and Obama's, a chasm that even CNN's, CBS', NBC's, ABC's and MSNBC's research department's ought to be able to find... if they bothered to look, instead of allowing the public airwaves to be used in a systematic campaign to deceive the American public.

So while handsomely paid Republican shills on all the networks, not just Fox, are allowed to go unchallenged as they make it conventional wisdom that Obama is the most liberal senator in America-- an honor that would be rightfully claimed at various times by Durbin, Lautenberg or Whitehouse-- a report by Reuters about 3 former chairmen of the Securities and Exchange Commission endorsing Obama this week, went virtually unmentioned by TV news. The Reuters story made the point in the first paragraph that the endorsements bolstered his "economic credentials and bipartisan appeal as he closes in on his party's nomination. Former SEC head William Donaldson, who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, joined Arthur Levitt and David Ruder in backing Obama." Although an argument could be made that Levitt, who was appointed by Clinton, is a liberal, David Ruder was Ronald Reagan's SEC head. Between them, the 3 represent a solidly bipartisan, mainstream perspective on the economy and "all three commended Obama for his approach to regulation."
"Each of us has been committed to prudent economic policy and effective financial regulation for many years," they said in a joint statement along with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, also an Obama supporter.

"We believe Senator Obama can provide the positive leadership and judgment needed to take us to a stronger and more secure economic future."

In the statement they praised Obama's "reasoned approach" in analyzing "the current financial crisis and the need for balanced regulatory reform."

"We believe that such a constructive approach can be extended broadly in the economic area as well as elsewhere," they said.

Obama has distinguished his economic policies from Clinton, a New York senator, and Republican candidate John McCain, an Arizona senator, in recent weeks by opposing a reprieve on a gasoline tax over the upcoming summer months.

On Tuesday, he compared conditions during the Great Depression to the current U.S. housing crisis, blaming both in part on poor financial regulation. He has promised better regulation of mortgage lenders and other financial institutions.

It's a lot easier for the networks to just allow the GOP shills to spin away and convince voters that Obama is some kind of wild-eyed liberal than to insist of examining facts. I guess it's more palatable for them than going along with the lies about him being a Muslim or a backer of Louis Farrakhan or whatever the lie du jour Rove has cooked up for them. Less icky and irrational... but no less effective.

This morning I watched Obama on CNN respond to Bush's partisan attack on him. His response in South Dakota was strong and factual but a statement from a real uniter, not a real divider. Take a look:

Labels: , , ,


At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ding Ding Ding Ding!

I couldn't have said it better myself.

My only hope is that Obama will turn out to be better on that score than he seems. It's pretty clear that Hillary never would - she would have been worse than she seems.

Why is it that most women in American politics seem to think they have to out-badass the worst of the men? It reminds me of Dems moving to the right in a vain attempt to appease repub voters. First, it doesn't work, and second it makes the overall situation worse.

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So why endorse Obama? I'm for Hillary mostly because I've perceived her to be more liberal. I'll vote for Obama in the GE, but he's my third choice. (Was for Edwards first).

At 6:18 PM, Blogger McKinless said...

(Meant to sign in as McKinless, not "Anonymous")

At 10:42 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Because there is this stupid perception that women have to out-Thatcher Thatcher. It is stupid and dumb. Hell, Elizabeth Edwards would make a pretty damn good President because she stays informed, unlike Commander Codpiece. If John had listened to Elizabeth, he would have never voted for the Iraq fiasco. Besides, what woman in their right mind would run for Prez only to have to listen to Tweety's anti-woman rants day after day? The other thing that suprises me about those ratings is that Feingold was no where near the most liberal. How weird is that?

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barack Obama is the "most liberal" member of the Senate.

They said the same thing about Kerry in 2004. And Kerry is still a senator. These are the same rightards who screamed that Obama was a Muslim...until they started screaming about his Christian minister. Logic isn't their strong suit.

It's about injecting a propaganda line into the media bloodstream -- being caught telling a blatant lie won't get them fired.

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so, went and read through the vote counts on Progressive Punch and the only reason Obama ranks where he does is because of missed votes on close calls which are counted against his progressive rating and rightly so.

Frankly, that's a little troubling. I'm sure it's to do with missing votes because of campaigning.

In essence, I don't think there is any point to this 'protest' of labeling Obama as 'most liberal' because if it weren't for the missed votes, he very likely would be.

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

stmmi is correct. At progressivepunch, they show 470 votes, 450 of them progressive. 96%. Same number you see at washingtonpost.


Post a Comment

<< Home