Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Arianna and Others “Huffed” at Obama

Now that Senator Obama has all but officially been declared as the nominee of the Democratic Party, he has begun to move his political stance to the middle. In the last couple of weeks he has spoken up in favor of national security interests, indicated his interest in continuing support of faith-based social services, and voiced his objection to the Supreme Court ruling against the death penalty for rape of minors in Louisiana. This is a natural move if he wants to become the next president of the United States. The ultra liberal wing of the Democratic Party has taken exception to these moves. They want the purest of liberals to lead Democrats out of the wilderness back into power.

The headline in the Huffington Post, under Arriana Huffington’s byline, was, "Seven Things Barak Obama Should Do to Keep from Blowing It. Ms. Huffington went on to outline seven steps Senator Obama should undertake to assure his victory in the November election. Ms. Huffington's advice is well worth reading, and most of it is good common sense. However, one wonders whether she is talking as a reporter/journalist or as a presumed leader of the Democratic Party. The Huffington Post quoted Will Marshall, president of the centrist Progressive Policy Institute as saying, "I've been struck by the speed and decisiveness of his move to the center."

The Los Angeles Times expressed its concern with the headline, "Obama is shifting toward the center.” This was followed up by a statement that recent changes by Obama carry some risk that he will diminish the image he has sought to build as a new type of leader who will change how Washington conducts business. Unless I misremember my history, seizing the center is how most candidates have gone on to become president. It is likely that Obama is focusing on the broader electorate which he will need to win over in order to secure a victory in the electoral College. For those of us who have forgotten, but certainly not Al Gore, in order to become president you need to win the majority of electoral College votes, which is different then getting the most votes on a nationwide basis. In any event, it is unlikely that Senator Obama will shift so far right that he will become indistinguishable from Senator McCain, solely on political issues.


Dana said...

Actually, they'd both do well to swing a bit towards center ...

Anonymous said...

Actually...I often wonder where exactly "center" is located. Clearly there is a difference between a (American) libertarian, a stereotypical centrist, an occasional "isle crosser" (i.e. McCain), a flip-flopper, a log cabin republican, those who claim to be "open minded", ect. In other words, drifting toward the center in one-way may alienate other so-called 'centrists' who have different views.

The world of the center is quite fuzzy and arguable why it is dangerous to tread in these murky waters...and a lot of fun to observe candidates who do.