Sunday, April 13, 2008

Obama in Wikipedia: "staunch liberal" no more

Looking at Obama's Wikipedia page from late July 2004 (when he first burst onto the national and international scene with his speech at the Democratic Convention), essentially all it says about his politics is that he is "regarded as a staunch liberal".

Fast forward to today and the word "liberal" appears just once, in an Obama quote, and with the words "not a" in front of it. Never mind that the National Journal identified Obama's 2007 voting record as the most "liberal" in the US Senate.

Now one cannot just go and grab any old version of a Wiki article and call it meaningful, since it could be idiosyncratic to the last edit. But in this case the "staunch liberal" description persisted for AT LEAST 1500 edits and more than two years (I gave up looking for the time of its removal after that point).

What sort of issues do I have with the fact Obama told a well heeled San Francisco audience that downscale Americans turn to guns and God and "antipathy to people that aren't like them" for visceral reasons? Not many, and not just because Obama added "anti-trade sentiment" to his list. When I was running for office myself back in February I said ideologues don't cause me as much worry as their more flexible counterparts because it least they are in politics for a reason. A gaffe, as defined by Michael Kinsley, "is a politician telling the truth, or, in this instance, saying what he really thinks." Clinton doesn't make gaffes and that is precisely why I, and many others, have long since curbed their enthusiasm for her.

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