Commentary Magazine


Far Left

In this unintentionally amusing account, the New York Times finds some liberals dismayed about Barack Obama’s lurch to the center and then disparages them as a bunch of left-wing kooks, far out of the mainstream. Well, it would have been nice if the Times had so identified such voters during the campaign, when they were swooning at rallies and touting Obama’s virtues. Moreover, the Times nicely omits mention of its own reporters and columnists who have lambasted the flip-flopping. Can they also be discounted as hopelessly out of the mainstream?

The problem, of course, is not just that his far-left fan base is peeved. Yes, that is a potential problem which may adversely affect small donations, enthusiasm and volunteerism. But the real issue is those voters who are in play — the moderate and nonideological voters who thought Obama was new and different. The death of the New Politics meme is potentially more damaging to Obama’s ability to attract those voters than to keep die-hard liberals in the fold.

And indeed his plunge in the Newsweek poll is largely based on his collapse in support among independent voters. Noteworthy is that the large number number of voters who see his flip-flops as politically motivated.

So, rather than find far Left supporters, insult them, and marginalize their importance, the Times might do better to interview some genuine undecided voters and ask them if all the flip-floppery has been a turn off. That might be a more helpful way to measure the degree to which Obama has poisoned his own well of goodwill with voters.