Democratic pundits are falling into line


As much as I wanted to link to this post by Paul Krugman to emphasize the actual point that he’s making, I also wanted to bask in the fact that the planets are back in the right alignment.

No longer is a pundit like Krugman put in the position of having to criticize the Democratic nominee that he’s not supporting.  No longer is an activist like Atrios forced to sit on the sidelines and hold back on saying anything about the Democratic nominee because he doesn’t want to force himself into choice.

Now, the conservative commentators and supporters are behind their guy and the liberal ones are lined up behind their guy.  Let the battle begin.

Unfortunately, the press is doing their best (or worst), as Krugman points out, in misrepresenting where the candidates themselves are on the liberal-conservative spectrum:

As a numbers guy, I’m particularly upset that the piece contains this assertion:

With a Republican president experiencing some of the worst approval ratings ever, it’s no shock that the party opted for an unusually centrist candidate.

So where are the candidates on this spectrum?  As per Krugman’s suggestion:

…we can turn to the Poole-Rosenthal-McCarty analysis, which is based on a systematic, no fiddling technique using rollcall votes.

And they tell us that, based on his voting record, McCain is the eighth most conservative member of the current Senate. That’s right: he’s been voting on the right wing of the Republican party.

But has he just moved right to curry favor with the GOP base? No: he was the second most conservative member of the previous Senate.

Add: Barack Obama, by contrast, while more liberal than the average Democrat, is considerably closer to the center than McCain.

Unfortunately, press seems like it’s already figured out the storyline of Republicans go with a centrist to get out from under the boulder that is the “conservative” Bush legacy.   Having chosen that storyline, they’ll conveniently ignore any facts that don’t reinforce it.

They are forgetting, of course, that it was press themselves that called Bush a centrist the first time around.


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