Does Unity Trump Policy?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Mar 25, 2008 3:41 PM
This New York Times story examines Barack Obama's claim that he can be a political unifier, notwithstanding the fact that he has the most liberal voting record in the US Senate according to National Journal.

There is some skepticism in the piece -- even the pro-Barack Times concedes that "Mr. Obama does not come to the campaign with a reputation as one of the most accommodating bridge-builders in the Senate." But just imagine the outright ridicule that a conservative (say, Jim DeMint, National Journal's most conservative senator for 2007) would elicit if (as the New York Times reports about Barack) he insisted that he could unify the country simply because he was "confident that Americans were eager for a new kind of politics and were convinced that 'a lot of these old labels don’t apply anymore.'"

Judging from they story, Barack's argument is effectively that Americans care more about being "unified" (whatever that means) than about the substance of the policies that will govern them.  Does he actually believe that ideas and principles matter so little to regular American voters?