From The Kos:
OKLAHOMA CITY — Democratic Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma said Tuesday Barack Obama is "the most liberal senator" in Congress and he has no intention of endorsing him for the White House. Boren, a self-described centrist, is seeking a third term this year in a mostly rural district that stretches across eastern Oklahoma."We're much more conservative," Boren said of district. "I've got to reflect my district. No one means more to me than the people who elected me. I have to listen them." He called Obama "the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate."
Boren still is going to vote for Obama, mind you, just not "endorse" him. Because, you know, Obama is "liberal", and that's just not an OK thing to be in the OK state.
It seems like a rather odd line for a Democrat to be taking -- clipped as it is from conservative talking points -- but I'll be honest. I can't get all that worked up about it. So, you know, whatever -- if he "votes for" Obama, but "endorses" an animated tick hiding in a Pokemon's brightly colored back fur, meh. I'm hoarding my disapprobation right now, in anticipation of Peak Outrage. Which will probably be sometime in 2009, for those of you who are following the outrage markets.
So here's my gentle question for Rep. Boren. Let's just suppose that he was right, and Obama really was "the most liberal senator" in the entire Democratic contingent -- a term magically conferred by conservatives on whatever figure wins the nomination, election after election, while hyper-mega-death-penalty-mocking-war-humping-salmon-punching-archconservative Republicans magically turn into "moderates", using those same conservatives' exact same terribly objective calculations for such things.
So let's just stipulate that someone might be "the most liberal" senator. My question for Rep. Boren, and for his Oklahoma constituents, is this: so what? So what if someone is a "liberal"?
What exactly are you afraid of?
What, will he start some wars? Will the economy go to hell? Will gasoline suddenly cost four bucks a gallon, so that getting from one end of town to the other starts to be something you have to plan for in your family budget? Oh, wait, no -- that's what conservatism has wrought. So what big, scary menace will "liberalism" rain down upon us all?
The horror of free public education? The apocalypse of affordable healthcare for families and the elderly? An energy policy that consists of something other than "hell, let's just sit on our asses and see what happens"? My God, maybe we'll have a foreign policy that doesn't revolve around sucking thousands of dollars out of your constituents' pockets, lighting all that money on fire, and using the pyre to make super-special Democracy Smores in the middle of the Iraqi desert?
What, are we afraid less American soldiers will die? That our trade deficit will be, if not reversed, at least addressed? Are Oklahomans all huddled in their closets, lest some of the now-legions of outsourced jobs start reappearing in their towns? What? What is it that is so absolutely alarming about the word "liberal" that you'd rather stomach having everything that's happened to America for the past decade continue, rather than being seen as someone who might secretly have tolerance for, shudder, that word?