Juan Williams contrasts the prospects for hope, change, and post-partisanship between the two likely nominees for President, and finds that Obama comes in second. Williams checks off a list of actual legislative efforts by John McCain — a list that still has some conservatives seeing red — and looks for any evidence of action by Obama. Williams manages to avoid the Tucker Carlsonesque feeling in his pants:
Could 18% of Democrats cross over to McCain? Given the polling among Hillary Clinton supporters at the moment, it could go higher than that, and that doesn’t take into consideration the independents who may ask themselves why Obama has done nothing to build a track record of compromise, even in his voting record as a freshman Senator. The Poole reports for the 110th Congress, when Obama should have been running to the center to build on his post-partisanship rhetoric, has him tied for 10th most liberal Senator with Joe Biden, more liberal than John Kerry, Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray, and Harry Reid. In the 109th, his first session, Obama scored the somewhat more moderate position of 21st on the liberal scale, which still left him on the left side of his own caucus and far from the middle ground he claims.
Whither McCain? Surprisingly, he’s more conservative in recent Poole reports than Obama is liberal. In the 110th, where McCain may be protecting himself with more party-line voting than in the past, he’s the eighth most conservative Senator. In the 109th, he was #2, behind only his Arizona colleague John Kyl. The Poole lifetime mark shows him closer to the center, though, as can be seen in the 107th, when he had the sixth-most liberal voting record among Republicans, only surpassed by Chafee, Specter, Snowe, Collins, and Jim Jeffords, who wouldn’t remain a Republican for long.
Williams has this right, and if the election will be won in the center, McCain has the track record of risk taking that Obama claims without any evidence. That indicates that McCain may well get traction among conservative Democrats and could possibly create a re-emergence of the Reagan coalition — if he can figure out how to keep conservatives in the tent.