Is Obama a Liberal?

Bill Adair, “Politifact Editor” for CQ, spends four pages seeking to answer the vexing question “Is Obama a Liberal?”

Let me save you some time: Yes. Yes he is.

Next question?

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    He’s not only a liberal, but he’s a yellow-bellied, commie-loving, terrorist-coddling, latte-drinking, windsurfin’, soccer-watching, volvo-driving, anti-troop, defeatist, surrendering, quiche-eating, pointy-headed, black-separtist MEGA-LIBERAL!!

  2. Hal says:

    He’s a liberal’s liberal. Obama’s refinery nationalization program is far too liberal for Hugo Chavez. Stalin thinks Obama is too egalitarian. Mao thinks Obama’s social programs are far too radical. Michael Moore believes that Obama goes too far in health care reform. Dennis Kucinich is scared about who Obama might impeach. Ted Kennedy is worried that Obama is going to eclipse his liberal record in the Senate.

    Liberal? Heck, you ain’t seen nothing.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    If he is not a liberal, why are hal and triumph voting for him? People who rate such things as a professional service seem to think Obama is the most liberal Senator (junior, with less than a full term under his belt and no legislation) we have. He is backed by Code Pink,, Geo. Soros, Koskids, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro. Hamas, Osama Bin Laudin, Rev. Jeremaih A. Wright, William Ayers, Louis Farakhan, Bernadette Dohrn, every America hating liberal on the internet, Alan Combs, Chrissy Mathews, Keith Obermeister, John F. Kerry, Howard Dean and Edward M. Kennedy. Is he a liberal? If you have to ask that question, you believe there are 57 states and are too stupid to vote, in my opinion.

  4. Bithead says:
  5. graywolf says:

    No, he’s a Marxist; albeit a not very bright or well-informed one, as per some of his recent statements (extemporaneous) on national security and economics.

  6. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Is he a liberal? Does a bear use Charmin® in the woods?

  7. Hal says:

    Going to be pretty darn sweet when such a liberal is swept in office with a landslide. The wailing and gnashing of teeth from the 3 or 4 of you left on the other side of the isle will be sweet music to our marxist/communist ears as we formulate our 5 year plan for nationalizing EVERYTHING and ban regular marriage, substituting mandatory gay marriage instead.


  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I wonder how hal will do when he is taken to the collective to pull a plow (the only thing he is qualified to do)? Seriously, I suspect there will be some second amendment issues if there is an Obama Presidency. My family members and I have fought communism in Korea and Viet Nam. Never thought we would have to fight it here.

  9. Hal says:

    Zelsdorf, you really do provide endless minutes of amusement with your posts.

    Dude, I’m in Politburo. I have a top seat. It’s *you* that will be pulling the plow for me and my fellow comrades while we cackle and dance on the wreckage of capitalism resulting from our nationalization plans.

    Putin! (oh wait, that’s McCain)


    You really should get off the high horse and try to at least rent a sense of humor. Lighten up. You’ll live longer.

  10. sam says:

    Next question?

    Is McCain a conservative?

  11. Hal says:

    Is McCain a conservative?

    Ouch. Bet that’s going to leave a mark.

  12. davod says:

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

    You missed out:

    Mu’ammar Al-Qadhafi, confirms Obama’s Muslim past:
    “Obama Suffers Inferiority Complex That Might Make Him Behave “Whiter Than the White.” He Should Be Proud of His African, Muslim Identity.”.

  13. James Joyner says:

    Is McCain a conservative?

    By almost every standard imaginable, yes. He’s substantially right-of-center and Obama’s substantially left-of-center. Both are well within the mainstream of American politics, which is “conservative” by Western standards.

  14. Our Paul says:

    Ah Yes, words and their meaning. Like beauty, I guess they are in the eyes of the beholder. Consider the definition provided by, a respected on line reference source (Abridged for clarity and brevity; my bold):

    SYLLABICATION: lib·er·al
    PRONUNCIATION: lbr-l, lbrl
    ADJECTIVE: 1a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

    Then of course, there is the trusty dictionary supplied with my Apple Computer:

    liberal |ˈlib(ə)rəl|
    1 open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values : they have more liberal views toward marriage and divorce than some people.
    • favorable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms : liberal citizenship laws.
    • (in a political context) favoring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform : a liberal democratic state.
    • ( Liberal) of or characteristic of Liberals or a Liberal Party.

    ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber ‘free (man).’ The original sense was [suitable for a free man,] hence [suitable for a gentleman] (one not tied to a trade), surviving in liberal arts.


    1 the values of a liberal society tolerant, unprejudiced, unbigoted, broad-minded, open-minded, enlightened; permissive, free, free and easy, easygoing, libertarian, indulgent, lenient. Antonym: narrow-minded, bigoted.
    2 a liberal social agenda progressive, advanced, modern, forward-looking, forward-thinking, progressivist, enlightened, reformist, radical. antonym reactionary, conservative.

    Meanwhile, for conservatives (again abridged for clarity and brevity:

    conservative |kənˈsərvətiv; -vəˌtiv|
    holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.
    • ( Conservative) of or relating to the Conservative Party of Great Britain or a similar party in another country.
    a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.
    • ( Conservative) a supporter or member of the Conservative Party of Great Britain or a similar party in another country.

    ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [aiming to preserve] ): from late Latin conservativus, from conservat- ‘conserved,’ from the verb conservare (see conserve ). Current senses date from the mid 19th century onward.

    1 the conservative wing of the party right-wing, reactionary, traditionalist; Republican; Brit. Tory; informal redneck. Antonym: socialist.
    2 our more conservative neighbors may object to the modern architecture being proposed traditionalist, traditional, conventional, orthodox, old-fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool, hidebound, unadventurous, set in one’s ways; moderate, middle-of-the-road, buttoned-down; informal stick-in-the-mud. Antonym: radical.

    I am surprised that James Joiner would be so complementary to Obama. But then, maybe I shouldn’t be. After all, as described above by the word smiths and guardians, the values and agenda of a liberal society are nothing to sneeze at…

    As for Zelsdorf Ragshaft III, Triumph, graywolf and others, they must be conservatives AKA orthodox, old-fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool, hidebound, unadventurous, set in one’s ways etc…

  15. Bithead says:

    “Liberal’ and ‘Conservative” are relative terms.
    McCain is a conservative as a lit candle isn’t darkness, and ignoring that there’s are far more powerful light sources out there.