OK, Let's Go Down That Road

At the Atlantic, Ambinder prints an email the RNC has been pushing around that tries (desperately, albeit creatively) to present a pattern of down-ticket Democrats who think Obama's too liberal. Or something.

The crux of citations revolve around the announcement by conservative Democrat Dan Boren that he wouldn't "endorse" Barack Obama.

Today, Oklahoma's lone Democrat Congressman joined a growing number of Democrats who are distancing themselves from Barack Obama...

"Boren, the lone Democrat in Oklahoma's congressional delegate, said that while Obama has talked about working with Republicans, `unfortunately, his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion.'" (Associated Press, 06/10/08)

Ambinder asks "does the RNC really want to get into a debate over the number of partisans in each party who don't fully support their party's nominee?"

The answer is no. Or it should be.

Despite the sloppy claim of a "growing" number of Democrats distancing themselves from Obama, in truth there's really only a small handful. And they look like mostly exceptions.

Boren, specifically, is a 35-year-old conservative Democrat serving in a district Bush won by 18% in 2004. He was one of the last to favor S-CHIP, and kept voting with Bush against an Iraq timetable long after nearly every other Dem in the House left him behind.

More generally, it's the Republicans who've really got problems with support for their ticket. DemFromCT has a rundown, but my favorite is this one from Bay Buchanan:

Since McCain has become the presumptive nominee, I have spoken at more than two dozen Republican gatherings.  The sentiment everywhere can best be summarized in the words of one of the activists, "No matter who wins in November, we lose."

McCain, for his part, won't even appear publicly with his party's sitting president for more than 45 seconds, and his own campaign considers the nominee's home Arizona turf a battlegound state.

And as Singer has discussed, the GOP strategy of tying down-ticket Dem politicians in traditionally red districts to national Democratic leaders has proven a spectacular flop.

Boren apparently didn't get the memo. He did get his headline though - and some misleading fodder for the RNC.

Tags: Election 08, John McCain, Republicans (all tags)



Re: OK-2

Exactly. Any attempt to turn this into some sort of "pattern" are bogus.

by Josh Orton 2008-06-10 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: OK, Let's Go Down That Road

The Democrats have a bigger tent than the Republicans right now.  As we've seen already this year, it's entirely plausible for a Democrat to be elected in a solid red district (usually by voting in a ridiculously centrist way, but whatever, they're still better than a Republican from the same district).  But it's unthinkable for a Republican to be elected from a deep blue district.  Heck, as of the 2006 elections there's only one Republican Congressman in all of New England.

Given the orthodoxy that characterizes the modern GOP, it's actually completely expected that Democrats would have more dissent within the ranks, and a larger number of people who don't agree with the party's nominee on everything.  I can imagine Republican candidates who would want to distance themselves from McCain (for example, hard-right immigration demagogues) but it's likely going to be a bigger problem for Obama.  While it's frustrating to watch, it's really a sign of health and a growing party more than anything.  I don't lose any sleep over it.

by Steve M 2008-06-10 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: OK, Let's Go Down That Road

Some conservative Democrats need that distance to maintain their seats - I mean this is Oklahoma we're talking about.  Not only did Obama lose every county except for Oklahoma City, the state itself is like a temple to American conservative values.  I guess you gotta survive and whatever that requires is justifiable to a politician.

Now, it's nothing to worry about though until we see Leonard Boswell, John Murtha or Yarmuth start distancing themselves that we need to worry.  Fortunately, there will probably be no need for that.

by ejintx 2008-06-10 06:26PM | 0 recs
Not Boren

He was first elected in 2004 by a 2-1 margin. Eastern Oklahoma is like Arkansas -- historically Democratic at a state level, but not on a Presidential level. He's safe for as long as he holds that seat, so his comments are not exactly necessary.

by johnny longtorso 2008-06-11 03:58AM | 0 recs
Boren still supports the Iraq war

That tells us all we need to know about his judgment.

by Angry White Democrat 2008-06-10 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: OK, Let's Go Down That Road

Boren represents a racist district.  They probably wouldn't nominate J.C Watts!!!!

by nzubechukwu 2008-06-10 07:41PM | 0 recs
Ever heard of Coburn/Obama, Rep. Boren?

Kind of embarrassing for Rep. Boren to claim Obama's record doesn't show bipartisan action when Oklahoma's own uber conservative senator passed a big piece of legislation (google for government) with the liberal Obama. '

Also, if he doesn't want to back Obama, thats his choice. However, his use of GOP talking points is very disturbing and worth noting.

by Benstrader 2008-06-10 08:03PM | 0 recs
The ironic thing...

Is that Boren's own father, a former Senator, endorsed Obama, and it was widely reported that the younger Boren wanted to endorse Obama as well, but didn't feel free to while the contest was still ongoing.  So this is quite clearly not about a conservative Democrat unhappy with Obama - It's just political posturing.  

by telephasic 2008-06-11 03:54AM | 0 recs
Nevermind that the Republican

party is in shreds!

Interesting that it's all about Obama, and not all about McCain.

by missliberties 2008-06-11 05:30AM | 0 recs
This is stupid

I think Boren is trying to make some sort of name for himself.  Of course I have no idea what that name would be.

I find it very humorous because during the campaign, a major criticism of Obama was that he was only winning the endorsements of Red-State politicians like Napolitano and Sibelius, and was not able to get people like Rendell behind him.

by monkeyga 2008-06-11 06:38AM | 0 recs


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