In case you were wondering why his message is 10 parts gassy “change” to every one part specific policy proposals, here’s why. So successful has the Messiah been in focusing attention on his own charisma, oratory, and “narrative” and away from his actual record that even 20% of the readership of a site like this is willing (momentarily) to vote for him over McCain. How doctrinaire is he? He’s to the left of Russ Feingold. And moving leftward every year relative to his colleagues: He was the 16th-most liberal senator in 2005, 10th-most in 2006, and number one with a bullet now. Election year pandering to outflank Hillary among the base or is he really “evolving” in office, as the left likes to say of politicians who drift this way? Whatever the answer, it ain’t good. In fairness, he’s only very marginally worse than Hillary, the difference coming in her commendable willingness to take a hard-ish line on the Revolutionary Guard. Pick your poison:

Overall in NJ’s 2007 ratings, Obama voted the liberal position on 65 of the 66 key votes on which he voted; Clinton voted the liberal position 77 of 82 times. Obama garnered perfect liberal scores in both the economic and social categories. His score in the foreign-policy category was nearly perfect, pulled down a notch by the only conservative vote that he cast in the ratings, on a Republican-sponsored resolution expressing the sense of Congress that funding should not be cut off for U.S. troops in harm’s way.

“Perfect liberal scores” will be a nice talking point this summer when it comes time to remind independents that his oft-stated willingness to listen to conservatives carries the footnote of never, ever voting with them. The MoveOn endorsement can’t be far behind. As for our own nonpartisan avatar of hope and change, he didn’t cast enough votes this year to qualify for a ranking. But if you missed last year’s scorecard, have a look at the 20-year trend. McCain wasn’t always Maverick, but he is now.