The WaPo offered a laugher of an editorial Sunday, as they tried to figure out Obama's true political leanings:
When the Illinois Democrat talks about bringing together red and blue America, does he mean that he will persuade the red (Republican) part to come around to blue (Democratic) policies -- or does he mean that he will forge a new, centrist answer that will bridge the red-blue divide? Is he a liberal at heart who tacks occasionally to the center or more of a centrist capable of suppressing leftist instincts when political circumstances demand?
It's telling, at this relatively late stage in the nominating process, that the answers are not clear -- at least not to us.
Well, if the answer is not clear it is because the WaPo is in denial of the evidence in front of their eyes. Let's press on:
It is possible to draw conflicting lessons from his record. As New York Times columnist David Brooks has pointed out, Mr. Obama was not part of the bipartisan Gang of 14 that tried to avert a showdown on judicial filibusters; he was not among the 68 senators voting for a bipartisan agreement on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; he dissented from the part of the bipartisan immigration deal that displeased unions. His campaign platform is orthodox liberal Democratic fare. So is Mr. Obama a standard liberal clad in the soothing language of inclusiveness?
Perhaps, but one could read the record and arrive at a different conclusion. Mr. Obama not only declined to filibuster Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.; he was initially inclined to vote for him, according to The Post's Perry Bacon Jr.
Whatever Obama’s supposed initial inclinations, the relevant facts are that he voted against Roberts’s nomination, that he voted to filibuster the Alito nomination, and that he voted against the Alito nomination. No senator was to Obama’s left, and in all these actions he went against the Post’s editorial recommendations. It’s passing strange, and particularly telling, that the Post would find in Obama’s approach to the Roberts nomination the strongest evidence of Obama’s possible centrism.
To be fair, the WaPo offers other evidence of Obama's centrism:
Even in the heat of a primary campaign, he has shown some brief glimmers of divergence from the party line: He dared to mention the notion of "merit pay" in an appearance before the teachers union, and he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board that, although he is a "skeptic" about school vouchers, "I will not allow my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn" if research shows that they work.
Bold. If the day comes when social scientists deliver an unambiguous result, Barack will be ready!
Meanwhile, David Brooks continues to promote McCain's bipartisan record, and The Politico makes a point on which I have been a broken record - Obama, for all his apparent eloquence, is afraid of the national traveling press; that worked OK against control-freak Hillary but does not compare well with McCain.
Finally, this NY Times poll is full of good news for McCain:
When all voters are asked to look ahead to the general election, Mr. McCain, the likely Republican nominee, is seen as better prepared for the presidency, better able to handle an international crisis and more equipped to serve as commander in chief than either of the Democratic candidates.
Obama scores best in ability to unite the country, although as the WaPo points out, it is impossible to figure out what that means.