Thursday :: Jul 10, 2008

Same Old Same Old You Can Believe In


by Turkana

As described by The Hill, there are a couple of serious problems with the current dynamic of the presidential race.

House and Senate Democrats are taking a centrist path this election-year summer, following the lead of Barack Obama, who has increased his coordination with congressional leaders.

Democrats have decided to focus on economic and security issues designed to appeal to a wide range of voters, especially independents who are concerned about soaring gas prices and the slumping stock and housing markets.

The centrist strategy reflects the thinking of Obama, the Illinois senator who has tacked toward the middle of the political spectrum since clinching the Democratic nomination in early June.

And the article then mentions the obvious: FISA. Some of us were hoping the candidate of Hope and Change would actually push an agenda of a new and better politics. Of course, I never took Obama's schtick seriously, but I didn't expect him to be such a perfect fit with this perfectly horrendous Congressional "leadership." This perfectly horrendous Congressional "leadership" that has, according to Rasmussen, given Congress its lowest ever approval rating.

The symmetry between Obama and congressional Democrats contrasts with Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive GOP presidential nominee who has broken with his party on several high-profile issues. An economic plan McCain unveiled this week included a proposal to allow cheap prescription drug imports from other countries, something that most Republicans oppose.

McCain has split with the majority of his party by favoring immigration reform that would create a path to citizenship for illegal residents. McCain is also at odds with his party over drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Which is such a perfect political framing. Obama's leading his party's Congressional failures. McCain's setting his own path. It's almost as if one is setting himself up to be defined by the corporate media as a typical Washington insider, while the other is setting himself up to be defined as a "maverick."

Obama has done more to help Democrats on the Hill raise money for their reelections. He has drafted fundraising letters for the Democratic House and Senate campaign committees, while McCain has not made similar appeals on behalf of the Republican campaign committees. He also skipped a major fundraiser headlined by President Bush to benefit Republican congressional candidates.

Terrible policies. Terrible politics. But the money's good. This is transformational?

The article goes on to list some issues on which Obama has led the Democrats towards the middle- some might even say astray. Not that Congressional Democrats need much help in being led astray.

“Our base is just fine,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who said Democrats are concentrating instead on bills with broad appeal among Democrats, independents and centrist Republicans.

Sure. We're fine. Because we don't care about the issues. It's the pretty speeches that matter.

Both digby and Big Tent Democrat discussed this Democracy Corps analysis, which points to dampening enthusiasm for Obama, among core Democrats. The best thing Obama has going for him is that his opponent is John McCain. So, while most Democrats are still very much ready to go, fewer and fewer are feeling fired up.

Turkana :: 11:22 AM :: Comments (85) :: Digg It!