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Creeping socialism -- and I do mean creeping

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday July 19, 2008 10:42 AM

So McCain is in trouble again -- this time for saying that Barack Obama is more Left than the only self-proclaimed "Socialist" in the Senate, Bernie Sanders (shown above in colorful native costume). This may say more about Sanders than Obama, actually.

The back story to this otherwise insignificant dustup is moderately interesting. The National Journal every year ranks Senators for leftiness on the basis on a set of 100 "key votes", or votes NJ considers "key" at any rate. In 2007, Barack suddenly zoomed to the head of the pack, after having been 16th and 10th in his previous two years. Hillary also lurched to the "left" in 2007, or to what passes for a "left" in the US Senate, going from 32d to 16th (neatly enough, the spot Barack held in 2005).

It's pretty transparent what's going on here, right? This is the old base bait-and-switch: seduce the party activists, who are largely left of center, during primary season, then return to business as usual -- and I do mean business, specifically big business -- once you've clinched the nomination (or failed to, for that matter).

And it works every time. The base never seems to catch on, no matter how often they see the trick done. Once you plant the hook you've got 'em for good, and they'll follow you through fire and water -- or rather, through FISA and Waziristan.

Comments (5)

The NJ's methodology is suspect at best; Steve Benen's commentary is worth a look.

By happenstance, I just posted a related piece over at Pragmatos. Poole's methodology is rather more objective than NJ's, and the results are more plausible.

Nicholas Hart:

Incidentally, here's a good article on Bernie Sanders' brand of socialism.


JL -- You are of course entirely correct to point out the bogosity of NJ's approach.


The ol' gasbag fraud did wear some of the worst footwear ever sported for a senatorial debate( Hush Puppies), and likes to vote with the guns 'n Jesus crowd to keep 'em from sacking him, as the link mister Hart supplied showed. However, I am scared to ask where the photo came from, and think the headline you chose is Pulitzer-worthy.


Actually, some of the "base" catches on. They just don't talk about it with those of the "base" who are still drinking the Kool-Aid because they are past the point where they care to get bombarded by the same old wet-noodle arguments yet one more time.

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