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October 09, 2008

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But I find this whole line of argument just bizarre. McCain supposedly prides himself on "bucking his party" *because his party is wrong* on some issues. IT then must follow that he wants to "work with the democrats" across the aisle because while his own party is wrong, the democrats are *right.* The inverse of that position, for Barack Obama, is that he must/should work with his own party *because it is right* and that he should only work across the aisle *when he can bring particular republicans to realize that they should be rejecting party orthodoxy and standing up to the republican party.*

Its not a virtue to "buck your party" or to "work across party lines" in the abstract. Its only a virtue when you can make the determination that one party is wrong and the other right on a particular issue. Rather than priding oneself on bipartisanship and also rebellion against party orthodoxy we might want someone who doesn't like their own party's platform and policies to *switch parties*. A guy who "bucks his party" and "reaches across the aisle" a lot probably should leave his party and move over to the people who are making more sense.

This broderistic cry from McCain is as nutty as the continued invocation of the term "maverick" as a good thing. A maverick is a wandering, unowned, unprotected, loose from the herd piece of cattleflesh. By definition, as we've seen in practice, a maverick is a loner, not a leader. A guy who doesn't like his party is a loner, not a leader, but he just lacks the conviction or the strength to reject his party's orthodoxy altogether. He's an *opportunist* not a maverick.

aimai beat me to it.

The next time McCain breaks out the "maverick" crap, Obama should just respond with "every time you went against your party, you were joining the Democrats—why don't we just cut out the middle man."

The McCain campaign said something patently inaccurate about Obama?! WHY do you insist on running down the American Worker, Hilzoy? "They're the best -- they're most -- have best -- we're the best exporters. We're the best importers...."

Rather than priding oneself on bipartisanship and also rebellion against party orthodoxy we might want someone who doesn't like their own party's platform and policies to *switch parties*. A guy who "bucks his party" and "reaches across the aisle" a lot probably should leave his party and move over to the people who are making more sense.

That depends on the extent of disagreement. Somebody who disagrees with his party only 10% of the time- which is the figure that Obama is using for McCain- is probably in the right party. Switching only makes sense if he's crossing over more often than he's staying with party orthodoxy.

What's probably more important is when and on which issues he's disagreeing. That's an important measure of his judgment. If a candidate is willing to buck his party and work across the aisle on issues where his party is wrong and the other party is right, that's a sign of good judgment. If it's exactly the opposite, and he's working across the aisle on issues where his party is right and the other guys are wrong, it's a sign of bad judgment.

And, of course, the real world is more complicated yet. Sometimes "reaching across the aisle" means putting together a coalition on issues where both parties are strongly divided. It might mean connecting moderates in both parties to work in favor of measures that are opposed by extremists from both sides of the aisle. It might mean working to put together a veto-proof majority on issues where the President is dead wrong. Or it might mean putting together a coalition of radicals from both parties to win against the moderates. You need the details to know which one you're dealing with.

Bravo for Mr. Fury's suggestion (The next time McCain breaks out the "maverick" crap, Obama should just respond with "every time you went against your party, you were joining the Democrats—why don't we just cut out the middle man.")

It drives me nuts that McCain keeps awarding himself merit badges as "St. John the Maverick" simply for being ornery. If McCain weren't so bloody determined not to win the "Miss Congeniality" award, perhaps he would have a more substantive record of legislative accomplishment to show for all his years in the Senate.

On the Maverick front, apparently the Maverick family is upset with McCain for using their name. It turns out that the family has a history of liberal activism, and they don't like McCain stealing the label.

"On the Maverick front, apparently the Maverick family is upset with McCain for using their name."

Which I... oh, never mind.

So what was the vote on the bill? I forget.

Its not like it was 95-0 or anything right?

right?

Hello?
Hello?
is this thing on?

I keep thinking -- if your party is right most of the time, then there is no need to go against it.

what about running against the Clinton machine? Are we really to believe that running against the Clinton's last year was not taking on the party leadership.

I know its not something Obama can point to but surely surrogates can.

BP,

The final vote was massive, yes. But that final vote wouldn't have happened if not for Barack Obama and a few other Dem Senators joining the majority of Republicans.

Oddly that support is the same thing that made Obama "more liberal" than Hillary Clinton in the oft quoted National Review study.

Think about that. The National Review made many Republicans liberal in their support ethics reform. Ethics reform is a liberal issue. If that's true I'm proud to be one.

Take a look at Obama's work on taped police interrogations in the Illinois Senate, too.

I have a question: does Senator McCain "taking on his party" just mean acting in opposition to the GOP party leadership in the Senate? Or does it also require him to show positive leadership dealing with angry mobs of ordinary voters who need to be talked out of a mood which is starting to sound more like a lynching party than a campaign rally?

Anger Is Crowd's Overarching Emotion at McCain Rally:

McCain spends most of his time at his rallies and town hall meetings lambasting his rival, often calling him a "co-conspirator" with congressional Democrats in what he argues are the seeds of the financial crisis at mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"Will you assure us," one woman asked, "that, as president, you will take immediate action to investigate, prosecute and name the names of the people actually responsible?"

"I will," McCain answered.

"The same people that are now claiming credit for this rescue are the same ones that were willing co-conspirators in causing this problem that it is," he said, raising his voice to be heard over the crowd. "You know their names. You will know more of their names."

The crowds that show up for his rallies these days appear to have little appetite for the talk of bipartisan compromise that had been at the heart of his message around the Republican National Convention. During a rally outside a small airport in Mosinee, Wis., on Thursday, McCain said that "it's time we come together, Democrats and Republicans to work together. That's my record. I'll reach across the aisle."

The crowd stood silent.

This sounds to me like McCain isn't leading anymore - he is being led.

So the one example of Obama "taking on" his own party is that when House Democrats passed a bill that was stronger than what Senate Democrats wanted, Obama sided with the House Democrats? That's rather weak.

Really? All of you guys think there is NOTHING the dems are wrong on that Obama couldn't stand up against?
How 'bout ethanol subsidies? Or the ethanol tariff? Or the '05 energy bill? Or farm subsidies in general? None of those caused Obama to stand up to his party?

And that's pretty much just staying in one issue! It's hard to imagine how dyed-in-the-wool a partisan would be for the response to this question to be 'there's nothing to disagree with the Democrats on.'

I'm not saying that liberal ideology=ethanol subsidies. Quite the opposite, in fact. And the GOP are hardly blameless on any of the above issues. But quite a few Democrats, including the leadership, were on the wrong side of those issues. And Obama was with them.

"But quite a few Democrats, including the leadership, were on the wrong side of those issues. And Obama was with them."

That's true.

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