Race To The White House: Obama's Bipartisan Appeal

(h/t Heather for video)

The Bizarro-World of the punditocracy has the world so shifted askew that in their view, John McCain, who has voted with President Bush 95% of the time in 2007 and 100% of the time in 2008 is a bipartisan who reaches across the aisle and Barack Obama, who has only the 40th most liberal voting record, is a flaming liberal with no record of working on a bipartisan basis, despite co-sponsoring legislation with ultra-right wingers Tom Coburn and Dick Lugar. Catch that logic?

Stephen Hayes and Tony Blankley are foisting this incredible bit of specious syllogism, based on The Weekly Standard's article naming Obama the most liberal Senator. Because we all know The Weekly Standard (founded by neo-con William Kristol) never makes things up, right? Rachel Maddow, once again casting pearls of wisdom before porcine truthiness, tries to set them straight:

MADDOW: ...Barack Obama has only been in the Senate for one term. In that time, the bills that he‘s sponsored have been with people like Tom Coburn on more than one occasion. He was the guy that extended the Nunn-Lugar bill so that it wasn‘t just about weapons of mass destruction. It was also about dangerous conventional weapons like shoulder fired missiles. He did it with Dick Lugar. He has.
When you‘ve only been in the Senate one term and you‘re a freshman, you don‘t have a huge legislative record. But what he‘s got is actually extraordinarily bipartisan.
HAYES: David, I think Rachel may have exhausted the list. I think that may be it. He clearly doesn‘t have a bipartisan record. The "National Journal" survey found he was the most liberal senator.
MADDOW: Come on. Come on.
(CROSS TALK)
MADDOW: And Bernie Sanders is obviously taking it to the refs on this one and Russ Feingold too. If Tom Coburn and Dick Lugar don‘t count as reaching across the aisle because we‘re rounding that down-
(CROSS TALK)
HAYES: I‘m perfectly happy to count them. There‘s just two. What other examples are there. The fact remains that "National Journal" poll-you can scoff at it, if you want. Other people don‘t seem to scoff at it. I guarantee that the McCain campaign is going to be using it liberally.
MADDOW: Let me ask you though, in 2004, that "National Journal" poll, who did they say was the most liberal senator in 2004?
HAYES: I don‘t know.
MADDOW: It would be John Kerry.


↓ Story continues below ↓

Transcripts below the fold:

GREGORY: I want to move on to number two here, but I do think there are two realities in this campaign. One is the bush years have given Democrats a bigger voice, a stronger voice to take on the tactics and the methods of the war on terror. There‘s also a Republican record where we have not been attacked in this country since 2001. That also is going to mean a lot to people. It will be difficult to take that away from the Bush administration, even if you attack them on the war on Iraq or on methods and techniques of dealing with prisoners. It‘s going to be a complicated and intense debate.

Let‘s move on to number two. One of Obama‘s calling cards here is that he can play across the aisle, that he has bipartisan appeal. What is that appeal? Does Obama have an actual track record, Tony Blankley, of bipartisanship?

BLANKLEY: I don‘t want to claim a comprehensive knowledge of Obama‘s record, but my impression is that he does not have a track record of challenging the interests of his own side. He challenges the interests of the Republican side. This is the argument McCain‘s making. If it‘s makeable, it‘s a powerful argument for McCain, because it goes to the very nature of how Obama describes his campaign and the reason for it, that he‘s beyond politics.

If you can show that he has the weaker record, decisively from McCain, who clearly has a bipartisan record-that‘s why he doesn‘t have base supporters, because he‘s been on the wrong side for a lot of us for many years. I think it‘s a powerful issue, if he can make it. Part of that will be advertising money, where Obama will be out-spending him two or three to one.

HARWOOD: That‘s one of the reasons he gave that speech to the African American on Sunday, though, was to provide some examples, contemporaneous examples, of him talking to people on his own side and saying you have to shape up too.

GREGORY: But has he done it in Washington? Rachel, this is the flip side of the argument that being in the Senate is a vulnerability for McCain, because he does have area‘s where he can say, whether it‘s gang of 14, campaign finance reform, other issues. Look, I‘ve done it. I have worked on the other side of the aisle.

MADDOW: In fact, he does. Barack Obama has only been in the Senate for one term. In that time, the bills that he‘s sponsored have been with people like Tom Coburn on more than one occasion. He was the guy that extended the Nunn-Lugar bill so that it wasn‘t just about weapons of mass destruction. It was also about dangerous conventional weapons like shoulder fired missiles. He did it with Dick Lugar. He has.

When you‘ve only been in the Senate one term and you‘re a freshman, you don‘t have a huge legislative record. But what he‘s got is actually extraordinarily bipartisan.

HAYES: David, I think Rachel may have exhausted the list. I think that may be it. He clearly doesn‘t have a bipartisan record. The "National Journal" survey found he was the most liberal senator.

MADDOW: Come on. Come on.

(CROSS TALK)

MADDOW: And Bernie Sanders is obviously taking it to the refs on this one and Russ Feingold too. If Tom Coburn and Dick Lugar don‘t count as reaching across the aisle because we‘re rounding that down-

(CROSS TALK)

HAYES: I‘m perfectly happy to count them. There‘s just two. What other examples are there. The fact remains that "National Journal" poll-you can scoff at it, if you want. Other people don‘t seem to scoff at it. I guarantee that the McCain campaign is going to be using it liberally.

MADDOW: Let me ask you though, in 2004, that "National Journal" poll, who did they say was the most liberal senator in 2004?

HAYES: I don‘t know.

MADDOW: It would be John Kerry. In both cases, I think Bernie Sanders was really-

GREGORY: Quick comment here because I want to get-

BLANKLEY: The Nunn bill was not a big partisan fight. McCain, on the other hand, is was paired up with Kennedy, with Feingold. He picked on the Democratic side on great fight, great partisan fights.

(CROSS TALK)

BLANKLEY: No, but it‘s not a big bill.

GREGORY: Let me wedge in here. The third question, John Harwood, your take on it in 20 seconds, desperate to drill, where are the votes in the oil debate, John, quickly?

HARWOOD: There are blue collar votes to be had in this debate, for a candidate to say we have to do something different, because you‘re paying more than four dollars at the pump. That‘s who McCain is talking to today.

GREGORY: OK, we‘ll take break here. Three questions, always lively here. Your play date in our remaining moments with our panel. Don‘t go away.

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.