Values Issues Help Obama

Values issues matter–just not in the way in which they are used as wedge issues by the Republicans. One reason this blog was formed was to counter the claims that the Republicans were winning on values issues when in reality Republicans are out of touch with the country on true questions of values.

One reason John McCain is polling much better than other Republicans is that many voters believe that he is more moderate than he actually is. For example, many are unaware of his opposition to abortion rights. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted a post for NARAL which showed that when the candidates’ views on abortion are considered, Obama moves out to a greater lead. Following are their key findings:

  • Once balanced information about Obama and McCain’s respective positions on choice is introduced, Obama gains 6 points overall, with his lead in battleground states expanding from a net 2 points (47-45 percent) to a net 13 points (53-40 percent).
  • The issue of choice moves the swing vote and generates crossover support. Obama gains 13 points among pro-choice Independent women (who make up 9 percent of this electorate) and 9 points among pro-choice Republican women (who account for 5 percent of this electorate). When these groups are combined, this movement equates to a gain of 1.6 points overall in the general election race against McCain.
  • Choice can also help Obama consolidate his base—Obama gains 6 points among Democratic women after balanced descriptions of the candidates’ positions on choice is introduced.
  • Despite the fact that the national focus seems to be on the economy, among pro-choice Independent women, pro-choice Republican women, and liberal to moderate Republican women, the issue of abortion produces a larger advantage for Democrats than the economy, the war in Iraq, or health care. Moreover, among these three groups critiques on McCain’s anti-choice position are the strongest attacks against him, trumping attacks on the economy, the war, and special interests.

The Republicans have likely diminished their electability by putting abortion back on the table. When people felt confident that Row v. Wade would hold, many people felt that they could safely vote Republican as abortion would remain legal. Now that there is a real chance that the Republican could return us to the era of shirt hanger abortions, it is harder to ignore the views of Republicans on abortion.

Obama Has “The Right Sort of Left-Wing Ideas”

Among bloggers and writers there are two different views of the left. Some ignorant bloggers and writers fail to realize how labels have changed over the years and continue to identify the left with socialism and past leftist economic ideas. In actuality, left-right divisions are now along issues such as support for liberty and opposition to the Iraq war. With the Republicans becoming the party of corporate welfare and redistribution of wealth (to the top one tenth of one percent), the small-l libertarian left more often than the increasingly authoritarian right is the side which is more likely to support free market ideas.

While Obama is clearly the more libertarian candidate with regards to civil liberties and opposition to the war, his economic views are a little less clear. Many of us are encouraged by many of his statements which indicate free market leanings, the influence of the University of Chicago on his economic views, and some of the policy differences between him and Clinton, such as opposition to health insurance mandates. I’ve often quoted libertarians and libertarian-leaning conservatives who find reason to back Obama (such as here and here).

Megan McArdle is another libertarian who has often written favorably about Obama. Yesterday she commented on his economic plan, realizing that there are different types of people on the left with respect to economic beliefs:

…as far as lefties go, he has the right sort of left-wing ideas; he wants to model America on Denmark, not Germany or Italy.

Today he’s announced new details of his economic plan. They include an infrastructure plan which will undoubtedly do approximately nothing to increase the rate of economic growth (though it probably won’t much harm it, either). But they also include a cause near and dear to my heart: simplifying and lowering the corporate income tax. Obviously, I’d be happier if he’d pledge to eliminate it entirely; I think what taxes we need should be raised through a simple, progressive income tax with few deductions, or Pigovian taxes. Nonetheless, it’s a step in the right direction. And a rather brave step. American politicians find it politically nearly impossible to cut the thing, even though it’s a stupid, wasteful tax. In the “Only Nixon can go to China” sense, probably only a politician like Obama can do something about it.

Larry Sinclair Found To Have Long Criminal Record

It was already pretty clear that Larry Sinclair had no credibility. Simply listening to his accusations against Obama raised serious doubts about him. He subsequently failed a polygraph test regarding his claims. The Politico now reports that Sinclair has a long criminal record:

Public records and court filings reveal that he has a 27-year criminal record, with a specialty in crimes involving deceit. The record includes forgery charges in two states, one of which drew Sinclair a 16-year jail sentence. The Pueblo County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office also has an outstanding warrant for Sinclair’s arrest for forging an acquaintance’s signature and stealing her tax refunds.

This comes as no surprise. The article later elaborates further on his record:

He was first arrested on a larceny charge in 1981 in Denver, according to his Colorado arrest record, as filed in federal court. In 1985, he was convicted of theft and of forging a check in Florida, and sentenced to a year in jail, according to Florida records  filed in federal court.

After the Florida episode, according to the records, he returned to Colorado, where he faced check fraud and credit card charges in 1986. Then, in 1987, he was convicted in Colorado on more serious forgery charges, and sentenced to 16 years in jail.

In prison, according to state records filed in federal court, Sinclair was disciplined 97 times for infractions including assault, threats, drug possession, intimidation, and verbal abuse, most recently in

“He has not institutionalized well,” a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections, Liz McDonough, told the Denver Post in 1996 after a month-long Sinclair hunger strike. She said he had served time in prisons in Buena Vista, Delta, Limon and Canon City before being transferred to the state’s maximum security penitentiary in 1993.

In the summer of 1996, according to Colorado’s state court database, he began proceedings to formally change his name from LA Rye Viz. Avila to Larry Wayne Sinclair. By 1999, according to a mention in a local newspaper, he was out of jail and living in Pueblo, Colo.

The Public Citizen investigator in Colorado stated that Sinclair’s outstanding legal troubles there appear to date from 2001, and that Sinclair’s effort to convince the judge in 2004 to dismiss those charges failed. The Pueblo County Sheriff’s website, which pictures Sinclair under the word “Wanted,” cites felony theft and forgery charges.

Sinclair was also arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in South Carolina last September, according to state records filed in federal court.

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