It’s the Party, Stupid!

27Jun08

Poor conservatives, Time Magazine seems to be saying. With Supreme Court rulings on Guns and Death Penalty, they’d expect to be able to nail Barack for being the withering liberal that he is.

When the Supreme Court issues rulings on hot-button issues like gun control and the death penalty in the middle of a presidential campaign, Republicans could be excused for thinking they’ll have the perfect opportunity to paint their Democratic opponent as an out-of-touch social liberal. But while Barack Obama may be ranked as one of the Senate’s most liberal members, his reactions to this week’s controversial court decisions showed yet again how he is carefully moving to the center ahead of the fall campaign.

Yup, it’s sad. All Barack can be busted for now is being John Kerry disguised as a younger, more appealing candidate.

John McCain’s camp wasted no time in attacking, with one surrogate, conservative Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, calling Obama’s gun control statement “incredible flip-flopping.” McCain advisor Randy Scheunemann was even tougher in a conference call Thursday. “What’s becoming clear in this campaign,” Scheunemann said, is “that for Senator Obama the most important issue in the election is the political fortunes of Senator Obama. He has demonstrated that there really is no position he holds that isn’t negotiable or isn’t subject to change depending on how he calculates it will affect his political fortunes.”

It’s possible that Barack can survive the attacks that Kerry succumbed to. Maybe they’ll be able to swallow that he’s a guy with a spine who is so ruthless that he’ll say and do anything for power. The downside of that is obvious – if he’s so politically calculating as everyone else, then how can he be the change candidate he pretends to be?

Liberals are hoping that despite Obama’s moderate response to the Supreme Court decisions, the issues alone will rally supporters to him. “What both of these decisions say to me is that the Supreme Court really is an election year issue,” says Kathryn Kolbert, President of People For the American Way. “We’re still only one justice away from a range of really negative decisions that would take away rights that most Americans take for granted,” she says.

In reality, Change was the brand for winning the nomination. The new pitch will be – It’s The Party, Stupid! Democrats expect to win simply because they’re the Democrats in a Democratic year. Perhaps they’re underestimating just how heavy Barack’s bags are.

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