Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Democratic members of Congress publicly refuse to endorse Obama?

This just came into my email box from Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, I recommend heading over to read his latest, Running from Obama. While Chris points out this situation is not new and it would have been expected for some members of Congress who are running for election to have done the same had Hillary Clinton been the candidate, it's clear that some feel that the impression that Obama is very liberal could hurt their chances of retaining their seats in November:
The debate was set off by two stories earlier this week in which Reps. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) and Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) told local news outlets they would not endorse Obama.

Mahoney told the Palm Beach Post: "I'm a Democrat, but am I going to have a pep rally or something like that? No, I'm not going to do that."

Boren one-upped Mahoney by telling the Associated Press Tuesday that Obama is the "most liberal Senator in the U.S. Senate" (hello Republican talking points!) and "our nominee is not my first choice."

The post also points out that it might not be quite that easy for Republicans to use this to their advantage:
For those Republicans who see Obama as a potential anchor around the feet of Democratic incumbents and challengers running in moderate to conservative districts, the lessons of the special election last month in Mississippi's 1st District should be sobering.

In that race, a series of ads sought to link Obama (and even his controversial former pastor Jeremiah Wright) to Democratic candidate Travis Childers.

Childers, smartly, came out quickly to distance himself from Obama -- making clear that he had not endorsed the Illinois Senator and had no contact at all with the presidential nominee. Childers went on to win convincingly, despite the fact that President Bush had taken 62 percent of the vote in the northern Mississippi district in 2004.

Childers offered an easy formula for Democrats in more conservative districts: make clear that you don't endorse the nominee and, in fact, disagree with him on key issues. That is an easy bar for Democratic candidates to clear.

For more on Boren's comments, this article that states in part:
Boren, seeking re-election to a third term this year, described himself as a "centrist" and said Obama has publicly talked about being bipartisan and working with Republicans in Congress to address the nation's needs.

"Unfortunately, his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion," said Boren, who characterized Obama as "the most liberal senator in U.S. Senate."

"We're much more conservative," Boren said of his 2nd Congressional District, a mostly rural district that stretches across eastern Oklahoma. "I've got to reflect my district. No one means more to me than the people who elected me. I have to listen them."

However, Boren has said he will vote for Obama at the convention and on election day in November...


mark skeldon said...

I don't think that Obama's "liberalism" (whether right or wrong) prevents him from working in a bi-partison manner. Bi-partison by definition is going to require some level of compromise to get things done.

The question should not be how liberal or conservative is someone. The question should be has this person demonstrated an abiltity to come to a compromise on issues, and not stick to an idea even when it is clear it has no chance to work (see Bush plan for revamping SS).

Lisa Renee said...

I don't disagree with you but these are Democratic Congressmen, who publicly are stating they aren't going to endorse him yet are saying they are still going to vote for him.

That's rather phony because if they are going to vote for him making comments like: "Unfortunately, his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion," said Boren, who characterized Obama as "the most liberal senator in U.S. Senate." help McCain more than Obama.

mark skeldon said...

They definately help McCain more than Obama. Truth is, in a lot of red states the democrats have traditionally republican views and probably are closer to McCain than Obama. I understand looking out for themselves, however if elected democrats are not working to get the democratic nominee elected, Howard Dean should take whatever steps he can to "correct" this.

Lisa Renee said...

There are many Democrats who are more moderate, if they can't be won over - force won't work.

We've seen that here locally, you can't force people to support someone and punishing them for having their own beliefs makes more people turn away.

Lisa Renee said...

Since he is in Congress, I'm curious as to why he feels Obama will not work with others as promised. That of course are the types of things we never learn.