Posts Tagged ‘liberal’

The L Word

April 2, 2008

The public is catching-on to the fact that Obama is a liberal, and there is a presumption in the media (e.g., the Wall St. Journal) that this will work against him in the general election, that Americans still treat “liberal” as a dirty word.

The negative association with this word is going to change over the course of an eight year Obama presidency, just as it drifted out of favor during Reagan’s eight years, when (typical GOP tactic) they started simply using the word as a negative label, treating the negative connotation as a given, and thus creating it.

But give Obama a chance, and in the American zeitgeist the thinking will go, “Obama is a liberal? But we love Obama… I guess we don’t hate liberals after all”.

Indeed, Bush has already gotten the ball rolling, doing much to de-stigmatize the “liberal” label by virtue of his presumed position as a conservative (he really isn’t one, by the way). That Bush is presumed to be conservative allows Americans to call into question their knee-jerk affiliation with that side of our political continuum.

Another portent to a shift in favor for the word liberal includes the fact that there is now a market for books with titles like Why We’re Liberals (Eric Alterman, from Viking) and The Conscience of a Liberal (Paul Krugman, from W. W. Norton & Company).

Alterman book image krugman book cover

All it takes to complete the L word’s makeover is a single, unifying leader who isn’t afraid to wear the liberal mantle. I think Obama’s up to the task!