Monday, July 28, 2008

Who's the Most Liberal? Who Cares!

The New Republic today displayed a long article about the National Journal's much-ballyhooed rankings being deeply flawed.

One fact jumped out at me. One of the reasons Obama wasn't ranked more conservative is the fact that he missed 33%, ONE-THIRD, of his votes in the Senate. If I missed ONE-THIRD of my days at work, I'd be FIRED. Once Senators get this far (being the party nominees, we assume) they should resign from their jobs.

So where does Obama really fall on the spectrum? No vote-ranking system can capture it perfectly, since ideology is as much about legislative priorities and emphases as it is about votes. But here's a rough idea: In his first two years in the Senate, when he didn't miss many votes, Obama ranked 16th and 10th on National Journal's "most liberal" list. A separate and more elaborate ranking system, developed by highly regarded political scientists Jeff Lewis and Keith Poole, found him to be the 11th most liberal senator in 2007 and 21st most liberal in the previous Congress. Obama clearly belongs to the party's liberal wing rather than its centrist contingent--he's essentially said as much--but he's not close to being the Senate's left-most member.

Second of all, I don't care if Obama is the most liberal Senator ever. I just don't know what he's going to do. McCain is a more known entity. Obama is not. I watched Obama during the primaries, and he said many things, pandering more left than center. Now that he's in the general election, not only is his arrogance coming to light, be he's now changing his policies.

I don't mind if a politician changes his mind based on new information, but Obama is changing based on the same information that has been available all along.

That worries me. Inexperience, the willingness to pander for political gain, and arrogance is what Obama has. He needs another 15-20 years in government before he's even close to ready.

You should be worried too.

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