Diana West
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We don't know the answer to that, because it is "hope" and "change," not liberalism, that Obama is supposed to stand for. Maybe that's why, as Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told the National Journal, Obama is "the only candidate who's shown the ability to appeal to Republicans and the ability to appeal to independents."

The fact is, being Top Senate Liberal isn't part of the official narrative of the Obama movement. And the campaign seems to want to keep it that way. Dismissing the National Journal senate rankings, Obama spokesman Bill Burton told ABC: "The tendency of Washington to apply a misleading label to every person and idea is just one of the many things we need to change about how things operate inside the Beltway."

Here's hoping we never find out how an Obama administration would "change" freedom of labeling. But misleading? On the contrary, "liberal" aptly describes Obama's point of view (not to mention Mrs. Clinton's). But notice the difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to political labels. Republicans struggle over who will wear the "conservative" mantle, while Democrats strike a "Who, me?" pose when it comes to carrying the "liberal" flag. The National Journal put it this way: both Democratic presidential contenders "have emphasized their liberal policy positions. But neither has embraced the liberal label the way Republican presidential candidates have proudly stamped themselves conservatives."

This goes, of course, for John McCain, whose claims to conservatism are unconvincing to many conservatives. Incidentally, the National Journal doesn't help much in this regard. Turns out McCain missed too many votes in 2007 to score a ranking. I'd say that's lucky for him, as he grabs at that conservative mantle. He might have given Sens. Clinton and Obama some pretty stiff competition.

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Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).