USA Today: Who’s the Uniter?

posted at 9:26 am on September 18, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

USA Today’s editorial board looks at the claims from both presidential candidates of bringing unity and purpose to Washington, and finds Barack Obama wanting.  John McCain has taken many more political risks, especially in opposition to his party, than Obama.  They leave one question unaddressed in this editorial, however:

McCain, in Congress for 26 years to Obama’s four, has the longer record of producing bipartisan alliances on tough issues. He has bucked his party again and again to do just that — on immigration, federal judges and campaign finance, to name three on which he enraged many Republicans by defying the party position and working with Democrats. McCain-the-maverick has reverted to party orthodoxy on taxes and other issues this year, which will put him in a bind if elected: Would he stick with those new positions, or compromise with the Democratic Congress he’d likely be working with?

As McCain points out on the campaign trail, Obama has a much thinner record of bucking his own party. With the exception of tough fights for ethics reforms in the Illinois Senate and in Washington — where he angered Democratic colleagues by insisting on the disclosure of lobbyists who bundle campaign donations — Obama has rarely challenged party dogma on the sort of big, contentious issues he’d face as president. As a U.S. senator, he has taken liberal Democratic positions on most issues. Studies by Congressional Quarterly show Obama has voted with his party almost 97% of the time, vs. about 85% for McCain. …

Obama’s bipartisan accomplishments in Washington have been on significant, but relatively non-controversial, efforts to secure nuclear weapons and establish a federal-spending database. What he lacks is a record of challenging his own party on divisive, difficult issues — the deficit, immigration, energy — that he’d have to reach out to Republicans on if he’s elected. Even with a Democratic majority in Congress, it takes 60 votes in the Senate to pass most major measures.

None of this is to say Obama couldn’t turn into a consensus-building, party-challenging president. Based on their records so far, though, it takes a greater leap of faith to believe that of him than of McCain.

Obama’s record is even thinner than USA Today notes.  The accord on nuclear weapons actually didn’t involve nuclear weapons at all; he co-sponsored a rider on a decade-old law that dealt with conventional weapons, and it was so controversial that it had no opposition at all.  Neither did the federal spending database, although I for one applaud Obama’s work on that nonetheless, because it generated almost no enthusiasm, either.

McCain clearly owns the true mantle of “agent of change”.  He’s been fearless in pursuing unpopular policies when he believes them to be the right thing to do.  The surge, and the Iraq War in general, almost killed his presidential run, and had it failed he would never have survived to the primaries.  Immigration reform continues to drag down enthusiasm among his base, and yet he has not backpedaled away from it, much to the consternation of most here at Hot Air and around the conservative blogosphere.  The BCRA (McCain-Feingold) still sticks in my craw.  Those show a willingness to take risks that Obama has never demonstrated, not in the US Senate, and not in Illinois, either.

However, this seems overrated to me.  George W. Bush wanted to be The Uniter, too, and had a track record of it in Texas.  He discovered that America didn’t want to be united.  Instead of healing the partisan divide, the divide got positively deranged.  We have serious disagreements on the nature of government and its policies, and what we need is honest debate rather than blather about Utopian unity and Kumbayah campaign themes.

Perhaps the American electorate needs to grow up a little and stop believing in fairy tales.  Political candidates should stop telling them, too.


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Comments

Anyone know how to get the picture of the One on the unicorn?

Darksean on September 18, 2008 at 9:28 AM

So USA Today supports a republican, as long as he’s an experienced and proven liberal. Way to go, McCain!

Fletch54 on September 18, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Anyone know how to get the picture of the One on the unicorn?

jibjab.com

rockdog63 on September 18, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Oooooohhh no.
.
.
That unicorn is WHITE and FEMALE.
.
.
Racists.
.

subbottomfeeder on September 18, 2008 at 9:32 AM

So in other words, Ed, we should get Charles Manson to run the GOP and implement some sort of GOP vs. Dem version of Helter Skelter?

Metro on September 18, 2008 at 9:32 AM

He discovered that America didn’t want to be united.

Well, the 15% or so of the fringe left didn’t.

jgapinoy on September 18, 2008 at 9:34 AM

Enshala Barack, enshala

pherrman on September 18, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Was Obama riding,as the good Rev.Wright would say, nasty,
on what looks like Unicorn Jones from Red Eye!!a hem!!haha.

canopfor on September 18, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Is that lipstick on that Unicorn???

pherrman on September 18, 2008 at 9:36 AM

When Bush was first elected, he named a building after JFK, he let Teddy help design No Child Left Behind, & he invited Teddy to join Bush at the White House to watch a movie that honored JFK. After all this reaching out to that Senate leader, no one has been more vicious or hostile than Teddy in his BDS.

jgapinoy on September 18, 2008 at 9:37 AM

The only way McCain/Palin are polling as close to Zero/Gasbag is that the media is keeping it close. No way – in a thinking, common-sense filled USA – does this freaking moronic ticket track as even with McCain.

Or am I just giving the American public too much credit?

AubieJon on September 18, 2008 at 9:37 AM

pointing out that McCain is the candidate of “Bi-Partisianship” and Obama is a far-left Radical should be a winner. lot of people out there do nothing but complain about “Partsianship”

jp on September 18, 2008 at 9:37 AM

How is it that Obama made it this far…..oh yeah Racism….cause if he was he white, he wouldnt be right….he would have been laughed out of the 1st primary, by claiming to be a “uniter”, while voting 97% of the time (that means he votes present 3% of the time)and NEVER going against his party on ANYTHING! Yet somehow he is 40 sum days from having a 50/50 chance to president???? Man the Dem’s should be so disappointed…..after 8 years of hating Pesident Bush…this clown is all they have???

GOPGryphon on September 18, 2008 at 9:40 AM

I’ve had the news on for about a half hour, and I’m already furious at all the politicins, (Dems, of course) who are telling me how Racist I am! What a weasel Obama is- why are we not focused on the civil war he’s trying to instigate? Thats really all it is. They feel entitled to the presidency, and they’re going to lie, cheat and steal it if they have to. With a blind eye from the press. I used to be amused by this maniacal fervor, but I think there will be riots if they don’t get their way. Thanks Obama.

anniekc on September 18, 2008 at 9:40 AM

Or am I just giving the American public too much credit?

Your giving the mob too much credit. Most people are too stupid to continue to breathe, much less be trusted to vote based on something as signifigant as “Issues”.

There are plenty of people who are going to vote for Palin because she’s cute. Or for nObama because he’s not white.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on September 18, 2008 at 9:43 AM

The kind of unity that Barack Obama has in mind is unity with the World–not with American conservatives. “Screw conservatives.”

RBMN on September 18, 2008 at 9:44 AM

Did somebody say “civil war”?
I’m ready as I’ll ever be.
How else does a nation root out the treason and sedition that parades boldly down main street?

Calm Before the Storm on September 18, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Uniter Schmiter. As long as McCain keeps Obama divided from the White House, I’m good with it.

marklmail on September 18, 2008 at 9:47 AM

pointing out that McCain is the candidate of “Bi-Partisianship” and Obama is a far-left Radical should be a winner. lot of people out there do nothing but complain about “Partsianship”

jp on September 18, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Might be good for winning an election but based on past records, bipartisanship is very seldom a good thing as it is now applied.

a capella on September 18, 2008 at 9:47 AM

You are dead, dead wrong about this, Ed, and USAToday is right. I daresay that McPaper probably has its finger on the puls of average Americans more than us kool-aid drinkers in the right-wing blogosphere.

The last six elections for President have been won by the candidate who at least credibly presented himself as a uniter and/or the most centrist on policy. From the Reagan Democrats (a divisive candidate is surely not going to win 49 states, is he?) to George H.W. Bush’s “kinder and gentler nation” to Bill Clinton’s “we have to get beyond the brain dead politics of right and left and move forward” to George W. Bush’s ‘I’m a uniter, not a divider.’ These men all appealed to voters in the middle who are increasingly sick of the partisan gridlock and know that partisanship is the biggest reason nothing gets done on our biggest problems.

Conservatives always fall into the trap at about this time in a campaign and start complaining that the republican candidate is not being conservative enough. It’s almost hilarious for me to watch it happening again now. It usually means we are going to win.

John McCain is in a position to win this election today because he is appealing to the voters in the middle who do not see themselves as partisan and want a President who doesn’t either. Barack Obama had a chance to claim that ground but he blew it, or maybe he was forced to go to the Left to beat Hillary Clinton. McCain has successfully shoved him out of the middle. Obama is making a huge mistake by responding with shrill personal attacks on McCain’s integrity which voters will not believe.

rockmom on September 18, 2008 at 9:47 AM

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on September 18, 2008 at 9:43 AM

I’ll vote for Palin because I think she is on the right track. She is absolutely dead on concerning energy. Being cute has nothing to do with it.

Calm Before the Storm on September 18, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Where is Willy Wonka when we need him?

“I want it Daddy. Give it to me. Give it to me right now!!”–Michelle O-no!

maverick muse on September 18, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Office of the Unity of Hope and Perpetual Change!

Office of Unity Fairy Tale Division of Hope!

Office of the Fairy Tale Division of Change of Unity!
ha.ha.

canopfor on September 18, 2008 at 9:50 AM

I’ll vote for Palin because I think she is on the right track. She is absolutely dead on concerning energy. Being cute has nothing to do with it.

Calm Before the Storm on September 18, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Then consider yourself smarter than the average Bear…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on September 18, 2008 at 9:51 AM

Anyone know how to get the picture of the One on the unicorn?

Darksean on September 18, 2008 at 9:28 AM

Right-click the photo and save to your hard drive.

mwdiver on September 18, 2008 at 9:55 AM

I can’t wait for the debate: McCain fills 20 minutes when asked about his accomplishments-Obama riffs for four and sits down.
I should have said ‘debates’.
Sarah Palin fills 20 minutes when asked about her accomplishments-Joe Biden says, “Man! I’d vote for her!” and sits down.

Doug on September 18, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Obama is no uniter…he keeps bringing up race, race, race. Seems he hates the whites and will say we are all racist if we dont vote for him.

becki51758 on September 18, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Studies by Congressional Quarterly show Obama has voted with his party almost 97% of the time, vs. about 85% for McCain.

I tend to lament the missing 15% from John but this is a fact that McCain should wield with some effect against Obama and his Sancho Panza.

moxie_neanderthal on September 18, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Might be good for winning an election but based on past records, bipartisanship is very seldom a good thing as it is now applied.

a capella on September 18, 2008 at 9:47 AM

agree, its a good talking point and way to sway mindless moderates.

the underlining problem is a clash of worldviews between the Secular Left and the Relgious foundation of this country on the Right. The worldviews could not be more oppossed, and as I’ve said before the Leftist(darwinian) worldview could never have produced the Declaration of Indpendence and this nation as we know it.

9/11 and Sarah Palin both, are two things that destroy the leftist worldview along with revelations in Science about win Life begins. Part of why they are so angry.

jp on September 18, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Trinicorn:

Corns like calluses develop from an accumulation of dead skin cells on the foot, forming thick, hardened areas. They contain a cone-shaped core with a point that can press on a nerve below, causing pain. Corns are a very common ailment that usually form on the tops, sides and tips of the toes. Corns can become inflamed due to constant friction and pressure from footwear. (foot.com)

Obama’s gift. High taxation and loss of liberty pressuring working feet; no relief but accumulation of hardened dead cells pressing painfully on nerves.

maverick muse on September 18, 2008 at 9:57 AM

anybody know anything about this??????

The mysterious deaths of black gays in and around Wright’s Church: Donald Young, Nate Spencer, Larry Bland could be linked to Obama.

GOPGryphon on September 18, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Studies by Congressional Quarterly show Obama has voted with his party almost 97% of the time, vs. about 85% for McCain.

Obama voted with Pelosi and Reid 97% of the time. That’s a strong case to make.

marklmail on September 18, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Obama is trying to show his base that he can be tough and it is manifesting itself as sarcasm and increasingly mean.

This is not the new politics I thought I knew.

moxie_neanderthal on September 18, 2008 at 10:02 AM

hey it what I tell my Kids….don’t talk to people who think differnt…..ARGUE with them…and don’t forget a sharp elbow evey now and then always helps……..Now I see the whole “uniter” theme…..

GOPGryphon on September 18, 2008 at 10:04 AM

The tactics of intimidation the Obama campaign uses against the free speech show the only ‘unity’ he wants.

The MSM won’t discuss this, so a 527 needs to run ads. Otherwise the dictatorship of Obama will be upon us.

Right_of_Attila on September 18, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Anyone know how to get the picture of the One on the unicorn?
Darksean on September 18, 2008 at 9:28 AM

Right click on it, select Copy, then paste into Word. Or right click on it and select Set as Background.

I gotta do everything around here…

Akzed on September 18, 2008 at 10:08 AM

The mysterious deaths of black gays in and around Wright’s Church: Donald Young, Nate Spencer, Larry Bland could be linked to Obama.

GOPGryphon on September 18, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Sounds like a form of Islamic community organizing to me. Were they found hanging from cranes?

Hening on September 18, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Your giving the mob too much credit. Most people are too stupid to continue to breathe, much less be trusted to vote based on something as signifigant as “Issues”.

There are plenty of people who are going to vote for Palin because she’s cute. Or for nObama because he’s not white.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on September 18, 2008 at 9:43 AM

There are also people who believe that the government controls the economy and will be able to get them better jobs with higher salaries. They believe that this will magically happen once the Messiah gets elected.

There are also quite a few people who are mad at Bush and willing to cut off their noses to spite their faces. I’m sure that they’ll love it when come 2011, they’re noticing less money in their paychecks. None of the Bush tax cuts will be extended because the Democrat Congress and the Messiah can just do nothing and insist that they aren’t raising taxes. It will be quite easy for them to bury.

Illinidiva on September 18, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Bi-partisanship = Do it the Dem way.

Unity = a world without conservatives.

petefrt on September 18, 2008 at 10:10 AM

GOPGryphon on September 18, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Larry Sinclair is still alive..

maybe it’s only a coincidence..

DaveC on September 18, 2008 at 10:15 AM

anybody know anything about this??????

The mysterious deaths of black gays in and around Wright’s Church: Donald Young, Nate Spencer, Larry Bland could be linked to Obama.

GOPGryphon on September 18, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Jeez… Let’s not get down into the mud with the piggies. We don’t like when the nasty lefties smear Sarah with baseless allegations and should provide Obama with the same respect. There is more than enough above the board stuff to go after him on.

Illinidiva on September 18, 2008 at 10:20 AM

There are probably lots of undecided voters who read USA Today. This article points up the fact that McCain does work with Democrats sometimes, and that Obama is a party yes-man 97% of the time–a pure liberal Democrat. The article also points up Obama’s lack of experience, and that his SHORT record is much more partisan than McCain’s LONG record.

Although those 15% of the time that McCain has deviated from conservative principles sometimes infuriate the base, that appeals to the “mushy middle”, and either candidate needs most of the mushy middle to win the White House. This article is probably very favorable to McCain’s chances, and we should applaud it.

Steve Z on September 18, 2008 at 10:31 AM

The mysterious deaths of black gays in and around Wright’s Church: Donald Young, Nate Spencer, Larry Bland could be linked to Obama.

Hey, remember where they live.
Chicago is more dangerous than Anbar.

jgapinoy on September 18, 2008 at 10:32 AM

…& McCain should point out that places where liberals run everything–DC, Detroit, Chicago–are full of murder & poverty.

jgapinoy on September 18, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Does anyone think for one nanosecond that the pompous, empty suit from Chicago would actually WANT to be bipartisan? Good grief. This guy would be the most arrogant, uncooperative windbag you’ve ever seen.

Sugar Land on September 18, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Bipartisanship may help John McCain win an election this year, but it doesn’t work in practice.

I still dream for the day when true conservatives control all branches of government, with 60+ members in the Senate.

I dream of the day when true conservatives in DC can simply steamroll over the opposition to finally do what needs to be done to get this country back on track.

Just imagine the prosperity, strength and pride as a nation, Reaganesque optimism, the freedom and liberty Americans would enjoy if true conservative principles prevailed. Faith in government would be at all-time highs.

I can dream, can’t I…?

CliffHanger on September 18, 2008 at 10:35 AM

How can you be a uniter when one side wants to stand tough and take the fight to the enemy and the other side wants to lay down and talk nice to our enemies while attacking our own country’s president with the most unrestrained vitriol imaginable? They then blame him for not uniting the country?!

An aside: Thanks sgain for your analysis, Ed. Hot Air is that much better with your contributions.

mbabbitt on September 18, 2008 at 10:35 AM

“Would he stick with those new positions, or compromise with the Democratic Congress he’d likely be working with?”

One cannot help but observe that they don’t notice that Obama campaigns entirely differently from his record and USA Today fails to ask the analgous question of Obama- would THE ONE govern the way he campaigns or the way he’s voted?

Funny about that.

drjohn on September 18, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Your giving the mob too much credit. Most people are too stupid to continue to breathe, much less be trusted to vote based on something as signifigant as “Issues”.

There are plenty of people who are going to vote for Palin because she’s cute. Or for nObama because he’s not white.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on September 18, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Someone in another thread mentioned that power is down in much of Texas. He seemed convinced that might have skewed the polls.

Count to 10 on September 18, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Count my vote for Gov. Palin – the only one not involved in the trainwreck that has been going on in DC. Congress is the problem at this point, not a ‘solution’. I really do like Richard Nixon’s quip that ‘solutions aren’t the answer’ and that really does fit quite well. If you have a Sen. or Rep. and sit in DC, then you are part of the problem.

I’m a bit tired of conservatives and Sen. McCain playing out one act from Julius Caesar, where conservatives take on the role of Caesar and McCain of Brutus… save that after each stabbing Sen. McCain then wheels around to win back some trust, conservatives swoon and then, soon, it is the daggers again. Interesting in the 80’s, part of a bad soap opera today. That was amusing very early on in the Clinton Administration but I don’t want another soap opera in the White House, although of different theme the soap opera type is well known.

ajacksonian on September 18, 2008 at 10:49 AM

“Somewhere, over the rainbow…”

m064404 on September 18, 2008 at 10:54 AM

at this point, ed, the great american electorate looks like bunch of big dunderheads and under achievers.

this ship needs to turn around. pray.

jimmer on September 18, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Perhaps the American electorate needs to grow up a little and stop believing in fairy tales.

Amen. My Dad always taught me that unity in DC was not a good thing–they are usually picking our pockets as they unite.

PattyJ on September 18, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Did you see the Drudge page, Obama says argue and get in their face. Classy.

wepeople on September 18, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Obama voted with Pelosi and Reid 97% of the time. That’s a strong case to make.

marklmail on September 18, 2008 at 10:01 AM

There are so many many incredablily good cases that can be made against Obama. Has there ever been someone running for President with stronger ties to outright convicted crooks? No!

Yet for some stupid reason no one will pursue these connections and get Obama out of the race. The polls would not be anywhere near tied if the information was just put where real Americans get their news.

I am absolutely certain that most of the people I see today will have no clue about Rezko or Ayers or Wright or the Fredie Fannie contributions etc…

Not one non-political junky will ever have any clue how crooked Obama is. It just is not right.

petunia on September 18, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Someone in another thread mentioned that power is down in much of Texas. He seemed convinced that might have skewed the polls.

Count to 10 on September 18, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Aha! Well – at 1.5 million in Houston area have no electricity – however I heard today that throughout the country where Ike hit (midwest too) there’s about 4.5 million out of power.

Might be a kernal of truth to that.

tru2tx on September 18, 2008 at 11:46 AM

Perhaps the American electorate needs to grow up a little and stop believing in fairy tales. Political candidates should stop telling them, too.

The biggest fairy tale the One has not told his cronies is the possibility of losing.

They will be completely crushed if he does, not having been prepared for that possibility.

You/we will be labeled “racists”.

Entelechy on September 18, 2008 at 12:19 PM

George W. Bush wanted to be The Uniter, too, and had a track record of it in Texas. He discovered that America didn’t want to be united. Instead of healing the partisan divide, the divide got positively deranged.

Thank you George Soros & moveon.org, John Kerry, Al Gore, Cindy Sheehan, and Koskiddies.

Connie on September 18, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Bipartisanship may help John McCain win an election this year, but it doesn’t work in practice.

I still dream for the day when true conservatives control all branches of government, with 60+ members in the Senate.

I dream of the day when true conservatives in DC can simply steamroll over the opposition to finally do what needs to be done to get this country back on track.

Just imagine the prosperity, strength and pride as a nation, Reaganesque optimism, the freedom and liberty Americans would enjoy if true conservative principles prevailed. Faith in government would be at all-time highs.

I can dream, can’t I…?

CliffHanger on September 18, 2008 at 10:35 AM

You can dream, but that would require nearly a 100% change of elected representatives in both chambers. Not a bad thing, but given Gerrymandering that isn’t going to happen. I can’t say when the Republicans controlled the house and senate they exactly kicked butt on things. I’d love to boot my congressman David Price D/PRCH (People’s Republic of Chapel Hill) but they have diluted my strongly conservative suburban town/city with enough libtards from PRCH and Durham that we can’t vote him out. They’ve cut my town in thirds and as such we’re represented by 3 dhimicrats.

Sparky on September 18, 2008 at 2:42 PM

We have serious disagreements on the nature of government and its policies, and what we need is honest debate rather than blather about Utopian unity and Kumbayah campaign themes.

Nah, what we need is to round up all the deranged lefties, ship ’em to the Bikini Atoll and do some good ol’ fashioned nuke testing again.
jk/

Big John on September 18, 2008 at 6:16 PM

Did somebody say “civil war”?
I’m ready as I’ll ever be.
How else does a nation root out the treason and sedition that parades boldly down main street?

Calm Before the Storm on September 18, 2008 at 9:46 AM

A civil war between leftists and conservatives would be rather short-lived, considering which side has all the guns.

Harpazo on September 18, 2008 at 10:10 PM