Barack Obama: I’m Not a Liberal

by Jim Geraghty

Here’s how Obama will deal with accusations that he’s too liberal to be president: by insisting he’s not really a liberal.

“Oh, he’s liberal, he’s liberal,” Obama said, mimicking his critics. “Let me tell you something. There’s nothing liberal about wanting to reduce money in politics. That is common sense. There’s nothing liberal about wanting to make sure [our soldiers] are treated properly when they come home . . . . There’s nothing liberal about wanting to make sure that everybody has healthcare. We are spending more on healthcare in this country than any other advanced country, but we’ve got more uninsured. There’s nothing liberal about saying that doesn’t make sense, and we should so something smarter with our healthcare system.”

Obama has invented a phrase for actions that smack of politics-as-usual: okey-doke. Of the liberal charge, Obama thundered: “Don’t let them run that ‘okey doke’ on you.”

Where to start?

Having the government dictate how much money you can spend to promote your political views is extremely liberal.

Veterans care isn’t liberal, although I note that it hasn’t been the centerpiece of Obama’s campaign, nor has it been the primary goal of the Democrats in recent years. Raising taxes, blocking Bush’s judges, leaving Iraq to the insurgents, scuttling trade agreements, opposing the construction of a border fence and promoting amnesty… those are the key efforts of Democrats in recent years. And you know what? They’re all extremely liberal.

Trying to get as many people as possible enrolled in a government-run health care plan is extremely liberal. (Although I give the Illinois Senator a smidgen of kudos for berating Hillary’s mandates.)

And now we get to the core of Obama’s challenge in 2008. He’s run successfully on a campaign that sounds like self-help and happy talk – hope, change, yes we can. He’s got an extremely liberal voting record. So he’s got to cherry pick the least liberal-sounding items on his agenda and hope voters don’t pay attention to the rest.

By the way, the contrast he wants to make with McCain is campaign finance reform, health care reform without mandates, and veterans care? Really?

At that point, why not bring up time spent in Southeast Asia in the late 1960s?

The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.