Should Liberals Be Disappointed in Obama?


Ronald Brownstein at the Atlantic's blog has a nice little sit-down with leftists upset by what they perceive as pusillanimous temporizing from Obama and congressional Democrats to 'splain to them some facts of life:

….there's a structural reason why Obama and Congressional Democrats may not prove as responsive to their demands as they hope. Liberals aren't as big a component of the Democratic coalition as many of the Left's leaders believe. Moderate voters are much more important to Democratic success than liberal voters. And liberals are also less important to Democrats than conservatives are to Republicans…..

That contrast is apparent from two different angles: identification and behavior. In cumulative Pew data for 2008…only one-third of self-identified Democrats described themselves as liberals; the rest identified as moderates or conservatives. For Republicans the proportions were reversed: two-thirds of Republicans considered themselves conservatives, while only one-third identified as moderates or liberals….

Looking at Obama's actual vote in 2008 reinforces the story. According to the Edison/Mitofsky Election Day exit polls, liberals provided only 37% of Obama's total votes. Moderates (50%) and conservatives (13%) provided far more. By contrast, conservatives provided almost three-fifths of John McCain's votes, with moderates contributing only about one-third and liberals a negligible 5%.

The bottom line is that, compared to Republicans, Democrats are operating with a much more diverse electoral coalition-and one in which the party's ideological vanguard plays a smaller role.

And hey, liberals, the stimulus might not be as big as you wanted or as punitive to the fatcats, and health care has not yet been nationalized, but relax: your man Obama is spending and taking over the economy as fast as he can. Moderation gets more and more left in America every day, it seems.