Obama and Dukakis

Nate at 538 points out something I hadn’t though of in relation to the Dukakis links:

The way that the Republicans achieved that big swing in 1988, assisted by a couple of significant gaffes from the Dukakis campaign, was to portray Dukakis as too liberal for the American mainstream. The same basic strategic template was employed against John Kerry in 2004. However, this strategy is unlikely to work in 2008. How come? Barack Obama is already perceived as being very liberal.

In a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted last week, 67 percent of likely voters described Obama as liberal, including 36 percent who described him as very liberal. By contrast, only 45 percent of voters described John Kerry as liberal in May of 2004, and 53 percent by November, 2004.

Aside from the other points of problem with assuming Obama will campaign the way of Dukakis and Kerry, this is perhaps even more riveting. Considering that for at least 30 years one has had to avoid being seen as a liberal, that Obama is viewed as such by so many while seeming poised for a resounding win is truly astonishing. Is it a sea change, or is it just a manifestation of “any Democrat” after Bush? I suppose it’ll take a decade or so to see that, but it’s rather interesting to watch now.