A distinction without a difference

I’ve noted before, based on instinct that, when it comes to substance, nothing distinguishes Obama and Clinton from each other, in that they’re each extremely liberal. That, I said, is why they’ve had to fall back so frantically on their racial and sexual identities. It’s not just the “identity politics” chickens coming home to roost; it’s also the only way you can tell the two apart. My instinct regarding this matter is right on the money: according to the National Journal’s nonpartisan rating of Congress people, both are to the far left politically.  In addition, “‘The policy differences between Clinton and Obama are so slight they are almost nonexistent to the average voter,’ said Richard Lau, a Rutgers University political scientist.”

Also according to the National Journal, McCain has a lifetime rating as a conservative, although he’s grown less conservative with the passage of time.  He is something of a centrist which means, ironically, that if he’s elected, he could be the uniter, which is the mantle Obama currently claims for himself.  That is, Obama speaks unity, but operates at the fringe.  McCain really does seem to function out of the center.

Hat tip: Captain’s Quarters


3 Responses

  1. I recently read an analysis of McCain’s 83% approval rating from the National Conservative Union. Wish I could remember where I saw it.

    It was pretty interesting. It turns out that 83% sounds good, but actually is not much higher than other very “moderate” Senators such as Olympia Snow, Chafee, etc.

    It also points out that McCain tended to run up his score on bills where his vote had no effect. On several votes where he could have made a difference he voted with the Liberals. That, of course, is a favorite Senatorial trick on both sides of the aisle.

    I found the “Guvinator’s” comments in his endorsement revealing He lauds McCain as one who can reach across the aisle to accomplish things. Most of us know that when Republicans reach across the aisle, read divide, the Democrats interpret it as cave. Certainly, G. W. Bush learned how hard it is to reach across that divide in a mutually respectful manner. G.H.W. Bush lost an election after trying to reach across that divide.

  2. The only thing that matters about Obama or Clinton is how to beat em. Either would be the most liberal president in our history, and Obama is the most liberal person to be seriously considered by a major party, ever. The fact that the Democratic Party is crazy enough to consider these two is a powerful argument against trusting them with anything, and it is a loss to the country that there is no rational alternative to whoever and whateve the Republicans put up.

    As to McCain, Robert Robb has an excellent article over at Real Clear Politics this morning that makes a useful distinction: arguing that McCain is “conservative” — in the sense that he takes conservative positions on many issues (but not on some); but he is not “a conservative” in the sense that he has philosophical moorings in a conservative political philosophy. McCain’s conservativism is much more practical than ideological.

  3. I found this paragraph from the National Journal link very interesting:

    “Members who missed more than half of the votes in any of the three issue categories did not receive a composite score in NJ’s ratings. (This rule was imposed after Kerry was ranked the most liberal senator in our 2003 ratings despite having missed more than half of the votes in two categories.) Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the only other senator whose presidential candidacy survived the initial round of primaries and caucuses this year, did not vote frequently enough in 2007 to draw a composite score. He missed more than half of the votes in both the economic and foreign-policy categories. On social issues, which include immigration, McCain received a conservative score of 59. (McCain’s composite scores from his prior years in the Senate, published in our March 2007 vote ratings issue, are available as a PDF.)”

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