The Mizzou campus is all atwitter today over a scheduled appearance this evening by the world’s biggest celebrity — my old constitutional law prof, Barack Obama. As I write this, I’m watching the Obama folks prepare for the rally, which is to take place on the quad my office overlooks. I must say, it’s a pretty impressive operation.
Without doubt, Sen. Obama — whom I admire and of whom I am quite fond (on a personal level) — has run an amazing campaign. He’s raised gobs of money, and he’s managed to deflect most of Sen. McCain’s attacks while getting his own attacks to “stick.” One of his most effective strategies has been to tie Sen. McCain to President Bush by, among other things, highlighting the extent to which McCain “voted with the President.”
Yesterday, my friend and colleague, Royce Barondes, undertook a similar analysis. He researched how frequently Sen. Obama voted with the nation’s one socialist senator, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders. Royce emailed me the results of his research this morning: “In Senate Roll Call votes in the first session of this Congress, where the two voted, Obama voted with Sanders 92% of the time.”
This breaks down as follows:
The two senators both participated in the same vote 273 times. (There were 442 total votes during the period, but there were 169 occasions on which one senator voted and the other didn’t; 166 of those times, Sen. Obama was the non-vote.)
Of the 273 votes in which both senators voted…
* They both voted yea 157 times.
* They both voted nay 93 times.
* They voted differently (one yea and one nay) 23 times.
The two senators thus voted in concert on 250 of 273 occasions. That’s a 91.58% agreement rate.
Josh has previously poked some holes in this sort of “voting with” analysis, but putting those aside, Royce’s findings raise an obvious question: If the fact that Sen. McCain voted “with the President” 90% of the time means a McCain administration would be “more of the same,” does the fact that Sen. Obama voted with Congress’s sole socialist 92% of the time mean that an Obama administration would be socialist?
I suppose we needn’t evaluate that syllogism to answer the underlying question. We could simply consider, among other things, Sen. Obama’s:
* support for the (badly misnamed) employee free choice act,
* avowed desire to “spread the wealth around,”
* opposition to the Central American, Colombian, and South Korean free trade agreements,
* promise to renegotiate NAFTA,
* letter to President Bush asking him not to cut farm subsidies as part of the Doha Round,
* promise to preserve the 54 cent per gallon import tariff on Brazilian ethanol,
* vow to increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation,
* support for windfall profits taxes on successful businesses,
* plan to expand welfare by giving income tax “refunds” to people who don’t pay income taxes,
etc., etc., etc.