Saturday, October 11, 2008

Acting White: How Liberal is Obama?

I keep hearing how Obama is the second most liberal Democrat in all of Washington, a bad thing, and how John McCain is a 'maverick' within the Republicans. Now being labeled as very liberal is suppose to taint you with bloated government, ear-mark spending, over-regulation, and bureaucracy. Being a maverick, on the other hand, is suppose to mean that you somehow do not run with the big-business, special-interest crowd, whether to right or the left of center.

So with all of this, I searched and found this interesting graph prepared by Keith T. Poole PhD., Professor of Political Science, University of CA, San Diego. Poole presents that Obama, McCain, and Clinton, are all much closer to the average voting ideology of their respective parties, compared to what they, or others, want us to believe. His work utilizes DW-NOMINATE, a system which measures Congressional legislators’ ideological locations over time.

If McCain was the maverick that he claims, we would expect him, over time, to be on either end of his party's ideology, rather than near the middle. If Obama was the flaming liberal-socialist his opponents say he is, why does he not show up at the far left of his party voting?

This is just one small exposé of the magic show we are watching called election 2008. Food for thought.

James C. Collier


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Mitch said...

Over the past four years, the one thing I remember McCain being a maverick about was when the topic of torture came up. And with him being a former POW, I actually liked how he totally went against his own party on that one, and how not a single Republican could openly disagree with him. But that's the only time I remember him doing it.

As for Obama, I think he pretty much has gone with the party line, but it's still anti-Bush no matter how you slice it, so his call for change against the leadership still works, to a degree.

Anonymous said...

Bush is no conservative. He is a liberal/internationalist. The conservatives I know hate Bush.

Anonymous said...

Bush is no liberal. Liberals care deeply about their fellow man( rich or poor) and are strong defenders of individual civil liberties. Bush is just a failure, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

The term liberal has morphed into non-meaning, but traditionally, the focus was on size of govt and govt budgets. Bush increased the size of the govt dramatically, and increased govt spending to an incredible amount. Using the classic definition of liberal, Bush is a flaming example.

Obama came out yesterday with a plan for a billion dollar transfer to the states to rebuild our infrastructure and create jobs. That billion dollars has to come from somewhere, and that ultimately and eventually leads to higher taxes somewhere, for someone. Bad idea for those of us who believe that taxation is theft.

Judging on the tax and spend criteria, there is no doubt that the unholy alliance of Pelosi, Reid, and Obama will dramatically increase the size and cost of govt and therefore taxation, and this country will continue on its downward slide...

It surprises me that those who seek to improve things would fall back on the exact patterns that have proved to be so disappointing, expensive, and ultimately crippling. I would have thought you knew better...

James C. Collier said...

Big Steve: So how do you match a billion from Obama to states for infratstruct. and jobs vs. $700B out of our pockets to bail out wall st. and bad mortgages? Where is your indignation about right now vs. what you fear coming?

Anonymous said...

Jim, go back and look and you will see that the entire genesis of the credit disaster was Barney Frank and the whole effort to provide 'affordable housing' by forcing Fannie and Freddie to make loans that they would not have otherwise made.

It was the liberal misconception that the full faith and security of the US Treasury could be put at risk with no cost or ramification that created this ruin. There is a naive and foolish notion among these political lifers that rules, regs, and programs can somehow change the basic ways that people act with their money, and in fact, these efforts are always doomed to fail.

From the 9/9 WSJ:

"In January of last year, Mr. Frank also noted one reason he liked Fannie and Freddie so much: They were subject to his political direction. Contrasting Fan and Fred with private-sector mortgage financers, he noted, "I can ask Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to show forbearance" in a housing crisis. That is to say, because Fannie and Freddie are political creatures, Mr. Frank believed they would do his bidding.

And this is exactly what Mr. Frank attempted to prove when the housing market started to go south. He encouraged the companies to guarantee more "affordable" mortgages, thus abetting their disastrous plunge into subprime and Alt-A loans. He also pushed for, and got, an increase in the conforming-loan limits to allow Fan and Fred to securitize and guarantee larger mortgages. And he pressured regulators to ease up on their capital requirements -- which now means taxpayers will have to make up that capital shortfall.

But the biggest payoff for Mr. Frank is the "affordable housing" trust fund he managed to push through as one political price for the recent Fannie reform bill. This fund siphons off a portion of Fannie and Freddie profits -- as much as $500 million a year each -- to a fund that politicians can then disburse to their favorite special interests.

This is also why Mr. Frank won't tolerate cutting the companies' MBS portfolios. He knows those portfolios (bought with debt borrowed at taxpayer-subsidized rates) were a main source of Fannie's profits before the housing crash, and he figures that once this crisis passes they can do it again. And this time, his fund will get part of the loot.

Mr. Frank has had many accomplices from both parties in his protection of Fan and Fred. But he was and is among the most vociferous and powerful. In any other area of American life, this track record would get a man run out of town. In Washington, he's hailed as a sage whose history of willful error will be forgotten faster than taxpayers can write a check for $200 billion."

It is noteworthy that when this was written, the amount was 200 billion, then the bailout was $700 billion, but by the time it was passed, it had actually grown to $850 billion with all of the pork that was added.

Again I say, taxation is theft, no matter which side does it...

And no one is more outraged than I, you know that...

James C. Collier said...

Well put Steve, however when I compare your eloquent prose against Mr. Frank up next to your Reagan-esque 'unholy alliance' of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid I get hit with a 'tilt'. While I agree that Fan & Fred are major culprits, I don't see a lot of affordable evidence of fraud. I do see a Bay Area bevy of $300K-1.5M homes that non-first time home buyers grabbed in speculation. The backing bankers dumped those bad loans into piles of bad mortgages scooped up by greedy wall st. The poor should not take more than their fair share of the blame and I'd say they are about fifth in line.

macon d said...

Score! Excellent answer there to Steve just now, James. Blaming this crisis on the poor is a canard promulgated by the neoconservatives and other Republicans still in power, who are trying to cover up the results of the deregulation they've passed on to their cronies. As I think you're basically saying, deregulation let THAT greed run rampant, not too many loans to poor folks. Yes, Democrats are complicit in the craze for deregulation, but the idea is fundamental to those "conservatives" in power who've been pushing it since the trickle-down days of St. Ray Gun.

Phil 314 said...

the graphs would indicate McCain is closer to the political center as compared to the "mean" of his senatorial party "mates" vs Obama. In other words, among senate Republicans McCain is less conservative whereas among senate Democrats Obama is more liberal.

Anonymous said...

Barney Frank belongs to a destructive tribe living in the US.

Their plan has been to destroy the US and make it into something more to their liking. You libs on here should be dancing in the streets but many of you don't even know that your side has won. The thing is though that what you have won is a lower standard of living.

As the US becomnes more diverse it becomes weaker.

This article gives background on the mess but does not name the group involved in planning the downfall of the US.

Hint they are not white.

Joe Friday said...


Liberals, Dems, etc. will never help the poor and oppressed, it's want keeps them in a job.

The grassroots may be sincere, but those who wield the power will never let true reform happen.

get a grip.

Joe Friday said...


school systems dumbed down to help the poor. Now that's really working!

and Obamas freudian slip in the same ideology of dunbing down the schools. Let's reward bad, lazy behavior.

"It's not that I want to punish your success," Obama told him. "I want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success, too.

Then, Obama explained his trickle-up theory of economics.

"My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

Critics said Obama let the cat out of the bag.

Anonymous said...

I am really concerned that when 44% of Americans don't pay income taxes, then they will have no reason to care about how the money is spent, as it isn't their money.

We are getting very close to the tipping point where the majority of the citizenry has no financial stake in how governmental policy is set, and thereby will always support more numerous, larger, and more expensive programs. "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that other fellow behind the tree..." This is a recipe for out-of-control spending and waste. I can easily predict that the remaining tax payers will quickly figure out ways to defer income, move it offshore, or otherwise protect themselves from the rapacious and confiscatory programs now being cooked up by Pelosi, Reid, and Obama...

The terrible result will be very difficult for those we all want to help -- contrary to popular belief, wealth transfer does not help anyone.