Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Obama, Marx, Lieberman, and His "Bitter" Pill

You all must know by now about the kerfuffle over ill-executed and disquieting comments Obama made about small town voters being bitter, and "clinging to their religion and their guns." I'm going to elaborate on this later, but I'm feeling a bit lazy right now, so I'll link to my comment from this post by Tully over at SF, about one possible explanation for Obama's comments.

As I said in my comment ( do read the post, BTW), I don't think Juliette's argument is plausible. Others, namely one Bill Kristol, have a different view, that Obama is in fact, a Marxist, who uses his religious faith as a cover. I think that charge is clearly over the top, and I'll elaborate more later on, as to why.

The thing is though, there is a bit of a controversy brewing over comments Sen. Joe Lieberman made with regards to this. (HT: Sully and ThinkProgress):

NAPOLITANO: Hey Sen. Lieberman, you know Barack Obama, is he a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case in today’s New York Times? Is he an elitist like your colleague Hillary Clinton says he is?

LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I must say that’s a good question. I know him now for a little more than three years since he came into the Senate and he’s obviously very smart and he’s a good guy. I will tell ya that during this campaign, I’ve learned some things about him, about the kind of environment from which he came ideologically. And I wouldn’t…I’d hesitate to say he’s a Marxist, but he’s got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America.

Many, including Sullivan and Think Progress took issue with this statement by Lieberman. IN fairness to Lieberman, who I've come to deeply respect more than ever these past couple of years, perhaps he felt the question of Obama being an elitist was the good question, as opposed to question of him being a Marxist. Lieberman clearly stopped short of calling Obama a Marxist, although some will argue that he was ambiguous in doing so.

The question of him having views to the left of Lieberman and mainstream America is an interesting question. Obama does in fact hold views to the left of Lieberman (and myself, for that matter), at least with regards to foreign policy. He wants to pull the troops out of Iraq a whole lot sooner than Lieberman does, and he's mentioned talks with Iran. As to other issues, Lieberman;s comments are a bit problematic, as I'm not really sure what Lieberman means here, as he and Obama are pretty much on the same page with regards to the other core Democratic issues. As far as mainstream America is concerned, many war critics rightly point out public dissatisfaction with the war, but keep in mind that a lot of those still oppose a premature withdrawal.

At the end of the day, though, I don't think this is that big of a deal, except in the minds of those on the Left who already have a beef with Sen. Lieberman.

Not that Obama being perceived as too far left of the mainstream doesn't help McCain, who Lieberman supports, a fact which really drives many on the Left crazy.

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