WTMA commentary broadcast 6/17/08:

I likely won’t be voting for Barack Obama for President for the same reason I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton – as conventional liberals, they promise to maintain and sustain the growth of government. This should be reason enough for any conservative to oppose them.

But it’s not. It has been said by many on talk radio and elsewhere that Obama is not simply a liberal, but the most Leftist person to even run for president, that he’s a socialist, and even an extreme, black nationalist. Pretty scary stuff, right?

But I can remember a time in the not-so-distant past when Hillary Clinton was the imminent threat and was portrayed as the most Leftist person to ever run for president. The same goes for John Kerry in 2004, Al Gore in 2000 and Bill Clinton in 1992. When I first started listening to talk radio here on WTMA as a teenager, Rush Limbaugh told me that if Bill Clinton was elected president, Americans would lose their cars, their homes and their country. Clinton would equal doom, we were told.

So tell me. Exactly, how was Bill Clinton significantly worse than either George H. W. Bush or his son? Needless and expensive foreign wars? Check. Open borders? Check. Growing government? Also check, but at least Bill Clinton balanced the budget one year, something neither Bush ever accomplished. So if Clinton was the extreme Leftist Limbaugh claimed he was, what does that make either Bush?

In 2000, we were told, time and again, that Al Gore was even more Leftist than Clinton. We never found out.

In 2004, the standard line against John Kerry was that he was the most liberal Senator in Congress. The Massachusetts liberal was never elected, so we don’t know what kind of president he might have been, but we do know that the same thing is now being said about Obama. In regard to Kerry, how could he have possibly been any worse than Bush?

And how can Obama possibly be any worse than Bush? If the Republican cheerleaders on talk radio talked as much about the gross incompetence of their own president as the alleged secret “socialist” agendas of any future presidents, I might be able to take them seriously. But they don’t. Republican failings – some of which, as of late are considered to be some of the worst in American history – are completely ignored so that Sean Hannity can talk about Jeremiah Wright for three hours.

Are John McCain’s positions radically different from those of your standard Democrat? The only significant difference I can think of might be on foreign policy, and as the 2006 Congressional elections taught us, you can’t even count on the Democrats to get that right. It seems the only thing Republicans can do to cover up the failings and inadequacies of their own candidates is to pretend the Democrat is the devil or worse. And it works.

But this is a parlor trick, not honest politics. Without question, the most villainous figure to the mainstream Right for the last few years has been Hillary Clinton. The average Republican voter has long been led to believe that a Clinton presidency would lead to hell on earth. The bell-ringers and whistle-blowers who drove the “Stop Hillary Express” knew no boundaries and showed no mercy for the former first lady.

But now they are telling us Obama is even worse. How is this so? Why should we believe that Gore, Kerry, Hillary and now Obama really were or are hardcore communists, when Bill Clinton, of whom they said the same, was no more socialist than his predecessor or his successor? And what are the chances that each Democratic candidate every four years is somehow more liberal than the last? What is the likelihood? Or is someone lying?

That each election becomes a concerted effort by the Right to cover up the flaws, faults and misgivings of crappy Republicans by making Democrats look even crappier is absurd, when in reality both Republican and Democratic presidents have given us the same sort of bloated and intrusive government that conservatives are supposed to abhor.

I don’t have to make up imaginary, extra reasons to show how Obama would be undesirable as president. His basic liberalism works just fine. And I don’t have to make up imaginary, extra reasons to show how McCain would be undesirable as president, as his platform, party and current president aren’t much to brag about. Portraying Obama as some sort of “boogeyman” is but the latest calling card of a mainstream conservative movement that seems to have run out of ideas – and portraying McCain as the lesser of two evils grossly ignores the devil not hiding in the details, but front and center, and in plain sight.

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