November 10, 2008

The U.S. clearly elected Obama…but doesn’t want liberal politics? Huh?

Posted in mass media, politics at 10:00 am by LB

So I’m still on a little of an election, kick.  I promise I’ll get back to more gender-y stuff soon ;-)

I am thoroughly confused about the media arguing that the election of Obama does not mean Americans want liberal policies or that Obama should pursue them. Say what?

via Media Matters:

Then there’s CNN’s John King Wednesday night. Just try to follow his logic:

KING: Without a doubt, the electorate voted for Barack Obama, but still perceives him to be a liberal. And one thing you don’t want to do when you win an election like this, a sweeping election like this, is alienate the people here in a place like Cincinnati. Why? George W. Bush carried that county four years ago. You don’t want to drive them away.


So, Barack Obama is making inroads in communities that not too long ago voted Republican. The last thing you want to do if you want to keep them four years from now is to alienate them with a liberal agenda.

Right…people voted for Obama, but don’t really believe in his platform. They perceive him to be a liberal, but don’t actually want liberalism? Communities who previously have believed in conservative politics voting for a liberal politician could possibly have changed their minds about what direction we need to take, could they? Especially since the last 8 years have been sooo successful! And you wouldn’t want to alienate them by enacting the changes you said you would make. Is this even any sort of logic?

Don’t forget, after Bush’s 2.5% victory spread in 2004, he claimed (indeed, he insisted) he had earned political capital and that he was going to spend it. After Obama’s 6 point win, it’s rather audacious it to suggest that Americans do not support liberal politics, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been suggesting:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Saying over and over that we are a “center-right” nation will not make it so.

And if Obama’s administration is successful, perhaps “liberal” and “progressive” can change from being dirty words and as labels that politicians don’t want to embrace.

(Cross-posted to The Reaction)



  1. Brianna said,

    I think that you’re giving the media too much credit. They’re not arguing these things because they actually believe them; rather, they hope to influence things by claiming they know what people think, and why they voted. By saying that people will be alienated by a liberal agenda, they hope to convince the politicians to listen to those who are being alienated (and who likely didn’t vote for Obama in the first place!). They are conveniently ignoring the fact that those people are not the majority.

    As I see it, it’s a calculated ploy, not bad logic!

    “And if Obama’s administration is successful, perhaps “liberal” and “progressive” can change from being dirty words and as labels that politicians don’t want to embrace.”

    I do hope so!

  2. lindabeth said,

    Yes, of course you’re right–I was in part being facetious. I didn’t mean to imply that those insisting on America’s Center-right-ness necessarily believe it. I just find myself confounded every time I hear it. And it may be a ploy on their part, but they’re counting on us (the viewers/listeners/readers) buying their odd reasoning.

    Some of it, though, I don’t think is in fact a deliberate plot. I think some of it is a resistance to the “liberal” label that has been dragged through the dirt, and that has been so important to how we distinguish ourselves and our perfect freedom from “other” countries and their government intruding and what not. What will our identity be without this all-important distinction? And our country’s ego won’t allow us to admit that our way might not have been the best way, anyway.

    The way McCain said about Obama’s health plan is a good example: if you like that, you’d love Canada and England, he said. Never mind that the health policies of those two countries are very different–they are the difference between real socialized medicine and a medical system a lot like our Medicare system.

    I find it interesting because when Bush won re-election by a much smaller margin, no one was calling on him to be moderate. But it also seems like this also has something to do with American self-identity: that we have to admit that most of us no longer believe in 100% unrestrained market or that the government should stay out of absolutely everything. And admitting that gives us a bit of an identity crisis.

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