Monday, September 08, 2008

Obama Searching For The Median

"It is interesting how Obama has been evolving toward McCain’s positions rather than vice versa. Take Iran. At first, to Obama it posed little threat; now it is a danger large indeed—as McCain insisted all along. Obama used to ridicule the surge and claim it had failed; now he assures us that it has worked beyond our wildest dreams. Obama was opposed to oil drilling, and was silent about coal and nuclear power. Now suddenly he has dropped mention of inflating our tires, and is referring to oil, gas, coal, and nuclear production as legitimate means to wean ourselves off foreign oil. In political terms, all this is wise, since voters ultimately want to be reassured about centrist positions rather than worry over consistency. As Anbar quiets and we leave, expect him to suggest his pressure and criticism were responsible for the Iraqi government’s turn-about.

On matters like abortion, capital punishment, gun control and FISA, Obama again moves closer to McCain rather than vice versa. Apparently, he realizes that no northern Democratic liberal has been elected since JFK, nearly a half-century ago—an amazing fact in and of itself—and so has to follow the Bill Clinton centrist route, which can be accomplished by a variety of measures."
It is interesting, and it does seem to be happening. The simple voting model in economics that says the preferences of the median voter will determine the outcome of an election seems to apply in this case.

It has been observed that Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record in the Senate, and then he picked the 3rd most liberal senator in Senator Biden to join him on the ticket. Unless the median voter preferences in the country are very liberal, it would seem that Senator Obama has quite a ways to go to get to the median. Mr. Hanson's observations suggest that even Senator Obama recognizes that his past policy preferences aren't likely to capture the median voter's preferences.

Now I have to wonder if Senator Obama is going to be successful in his search to appeal to the median voter. Will voters decide that his past policy preferences are his true policy preferences? Or will voters decide that what he says now actually reflects his true policy preferences?

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