Newsweek's Wolffe: Obama a 'Centrist'

What would you call a candidate whose interest group ratings include:
  • 100% from Planned Parenthood
  • 100% from NARAL
  • 0% from the Illinois Association for Right to Life
  • 0% from Americans for Tax Reform
  • 100% from the NAACP
  • 8% from the American Conservative Union
  • 100% from the NEA [teachers union]
  • 100% from Children's Defense Fund [Hillary's old group]
  • 100% from NOW
  • 88% from the American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • 0% from the Federation for American Immigration Reform
  • 100% from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees
  • 100% from Americans for Democratic Action [gold-standard of old lefty groups]
  • 0% from NRA
  • 'A' from Illinois Citizens for Handgun Control

Again, what would you call such a candidate? Well, if he's Barack Obama, and you're Richard Wolffe, you'd call him a "centrist."

View video here.

Wolffe is Newsweek’s Senior White House Correspondent. The Keith Olbermann fave turned up on "Morning Joe" today to discuss his Newsweek story on the Hillary-Obama dust-up. Wolffe argues that experience in presidential candidates is generally over-rated and that Hillary's in particular isnt all it's played up to be. He observes that whereas Hillary touts the number of countries she's visited, Laura Bush has also visited 68 countries and no on is mentioning her name as a potential Commander-in-Chief.

Wolffe certainly seems to have something for Obama. Not only did he downplay Hillary's experience, he also categorized the Illinois senator's politics this way:

He's basically a centrist politician. He's annoyed the teachers union. He went to Detroit and annoyed the car industry. But [his record of opposing] the war gives him a lot of cover to take very centrist positions.

It's true that Obama did express support for merit pay, anathema to the teachers unions. But he has otherwise toed the teachers' line, as reflected in his 100% NEA rating. And when it comes to annoying the car industry, he did so from the left. An article in Wolffe's own Newsweek noted that Obama:

castigat[ed] Motown's big wheels for driving our dependence on foreign oil. "For years, while foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, American automakers were spending their time investing in bigger, faster cars," Obama told an audience stunned into silence after greeting him with a standing ovation."Whenever an attempt was made to raise our fuel efficiency standards, the auto companies would lobby furiously against it, spending millions to prevent the very reform that could've saved their industry. Even as they've shed thousands of jobs and billions in profits over the last few years, they've continued to reward failure with lucrative bonuses for CEOs."
How does that make Obama a centrist?

But Wolffe's characterization fits the pattern. While the MSM regularly labels Republicans as "conservative," "hard-right," etc., there is virtually no Dem the MSM can't declare "centrist" or "moderate," from Al Gore, to John Kerry, and now to Obama.

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.