Opinion: What a prominent liberal makes of Ossoff’s ‘moderate’ stances

Jon Ossoff (AJC Photo / Bob Andres)

I observed after the first debate between Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff than the Democrat surely didn’t want to participate in a nationally televised debate because his paeans to moderation and independence would sound jarring in the ears of the California and New York liberals who have largely funded his campaign. But it turns out there may be another explanation: What passes for “moderate” talk from a Democrat is a lot more liberal than it used to be.

That’s the premise of this piece at Vox, in which Matthew Yglesias argues Ossoff isn’t a “moderate” in the mold of past Georgia Blue Dog Democrats like John Barrow and Jim Marshall. What comparison does he make instead?

“Ossoff’s campaign doesn’t look like Bernie Sanders’s, but it doesn’t look like those Blue Dog Southern Democrats’ campaigns either. What Ossoff’s message mostly reminds me of is Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, during which he would frequently talk about his desire to go ‘line by line through the federal budget’ to cut wasteful spending — in order to reinvest the money in more useful things, of course.

“Ossoff’s message is more moderate than what you hear in more liberal parts of the country, but it’s a lot more liberal than what you heard recently in Georgia. Taking an Obama-style campaign to the Atlanta suburbs is a sign of the same leftward shift of the Democratic Party’s message that’s making free college and a $15-an-hour minimum wage a baseline for Democrats in California and the Northeast.”

Did you catch that, 6th District voters? From the perspective of a national liberal writer, Ossoff’s “moderate” talk is mostly reminiscent of Barack Obama. Who, you might recall, lost to Mitt Romney by 23 points and to John McCain by 19 points in the area now covered by the 6th District.

This just happens to coincide with what conservatives have been saying: that Ossoff is not a “moderate” in the usual sense of the word, but a standard-issue Democrat who will fit seamlessly into a caucus led by Nancy Pelosi and can’t even be bothered to explain why voters should believe otherwise.

But let’s say you still believe Ossoff is more akin to those Blue Dog ex-congressmen — who, as Yglesias documents, were very different from Ossoff in that they ran on (in Barrow’s case) opposing cap and trade and Obamacare, voting for actual spending cuts and “not just generic aspirations for less waste,” and being endorsed by the National Rifle Association, and (in Marshall’s case) “an immigration ad that looks like something Donald Trump could have cut.” What did their stances accomplish in the face of a Democratic majority in the House? What sort of “moderating” influence did they have on Pelosi and Obama?

That’s easy: none whatsoever. Congressional Democrats still passed a health law 6th District voters didn’t like, ran up budget deficits 6th District voters didn’t like, and so on. What’s more, since Marshall and then Barrow were voted out of office — along with hundreds of other Democrats at the federal and state levels during the Obama era — it’s not as if their party has become more moderate. On the contrary, the whole point of the Vox article is that a “moderate” Democrat today is a lot more liberal than just a few short years ago.

Maybe that’s reassuring to those out-of-state liberals who made more than 97 percent of the contributions to Ossoff’s campaign between March 30 and May 30 (which, astonishingly, was an even higher proportion than the 95 percent from his earlier reports). But it’s the exact opposite of the narrative Ossoff is using to woo 6th District voters.

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448 comments
AJ Starling
AJ Starling

You don’t have to work hard to figure out that the author, Kyle Wingfield, as a staunch “party-over-country” kind of guy. Just look at some of the language used here. “the Democrat surely didn’t want to participate in a nationally televised debate because his paeans to moderation and independence would sound jarring in the ears of the California and New York liberals who have largely funded his campaign.” Why does Kyle think that moderation would sound jarring to out-of-state liberals.

“From the perspective of a national liberal writer, Ossoff’s ‘moderate’ talk is mostly reminiscent of Barack Obama.” Do you see what Kyle did here? He deliberately zeroed in on a single line of the article and framed it in a way such as to say “Jon Ossoff is just like Barack Obama.” He wants the readers to associate Ossoff with Obama because the district overwhelmingly voted against Obama. But Kyle dismissed the larger point which is the message was about going through budgets item by item to trim waste. Does anyone think trimming waste is a bad thing? I thought conservatives were supportive of trimming waste.

“Ossoff is not a ‘moderate’ in the usual sense of the word, but a standard-issue Democrat who will fit seamlessly into a caucus led by Nancy Pelosi…” Uh, most Democrats I know can’t stand Nancy Pelosi. She might carry a lot of political clout because of her seniority and years of experience, but she’s pretty well hated in most Democratic circles. And Ossoff does not fit in well with her style at all. Most Democrats agree that if the Democratic party does regain control of the House, they need someone other than her to lead them.

And let’s not omit Kyle’s eagerness to pounce on Ossoff’s out-of-state donors while completely ignoring the big money contributions Karen Handel is getting from business interests and super PACs and (presumably) out of state donors funding those super PACs. While we can probably all agree that campaign finance laws need to change, which candidate do you think actually supports such change? Watch the debate between Ossoff and Handel and decide for yourself. I think that discussion starts about 20 minutes into the debate.

Full disclosure, I currently live in California, though I previously lived in Alpharetta and grew up in North Carolina. I’m not a liberal – I am a former Republican, I’m a military veteran, and I’m a moderate.

Jackalope
Jackalope

@AJ Starling That wasn't Wingfield's idea, or if it is, it was shared by a great many writers at the time.  Ossoff cancelled his appearance on debates where reporters from the national media would appear but continued to appear in local debates.  But I'll agree that Ossoff sounds just like Obama.  He sounds reasonable and logical while interning with some of the most radical Democrats in Congress.

Mark Edwards5247
Mark Edwards5247

"Why does Kyle think that moderation would sound jarring to out-of-state liberals."

It's true. Living in California, you should know this.

"Jon Ossoff is just like Barack Obama."

Another true statement. What's the matter with you?

"Uh, most Democrats I know can’t stand Nancy Pelosi."

Your flawed opinion. Liberals own the democrat party and love pelosi.

The founding fathers approve giving unlimited money to candidates. There's no bribery going on and people are responsible for their actions, unless you're a democrat.

Your entire post is flawed.

RFC49
RFC49

A couple of months ago Kyle essentially guaranteed a win for the Republican candidate, stating that Ossoff might have the most votes in the initial voting, but that Republicans would rally around their candidate for a sizable victory in the run off.  He closed his column with a remarkably smug, "you heard it here first."  Now he's scrambling to explain away the fact that the race is at best a toss-up, repeating the Republican establishment's talking points and conveniently ignoring the fact that a majority of Handel's monetary support is coming from out of state as well. While she certainly had the highest name recognition of all of the Republican candidates, she also brought the most baggage. If Ossoff wins on the 20th I look forward to Wingfield's acknowledgement of his misjudgment of the reality of the 6th District. However I suspect his response is more likely to be questionable excuses.  I would have hoped that, as a conservative columnist who sometimes shows flashes of non-partisan concern, he would spend more of his energy and whatever influence he has demanding that the AHCA receive at least as much public exposure and debate as the ACA.  That's an issue with a real impact on the lives of all of Georgia.

Mark Edwards5247
Mark Edwards5247

The race is only close because you libs are polling registered voters. It will be the same result as with trump. You pollsters are always wrong.

Mark Toney
Mark Toney

Exactly, the liberals win the Polls their wealthy donors pay for. We win the elections ...

Caius
Caius

Re the discussion of Trump's agenda earlier; the problem is that the WH has sent no bills to Congress. They have only sent notes and letters. So they are depending on Congress not only to pass the bills but to write them. 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

I drove through the 6th district, and my tally of yard signs is: 

Handel 22

Ossoff 19


So, based on this highly unscientific method, I will call the district for Handel. 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@LogicalDude


It will be close. Handel calling in the big guns for a rally. And Trump has kept his cool on twitter this week.

breckenridge
breckenridge

I agree with Sarge, all this happy-happy nonsense, all this let's-all-get-along crap, coming from Congress makes me want to throw up.


We need to get along worse.  Much, much worse.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@breckenridge


Hopefully this incident shows there are more important things in life than proving your ideology right.


In the immortal words of Rodney King: "Can't we all just get along"

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

Congress finally doing its job to prevent Orange tyrant from conspiring for money or RE financing with our enemies to override bipartisan sanctions on Russia:



"""""""""""""""""WASHINGTON, June 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday for new sanctions punishing Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, and to force President Donald Trump to get Congress' approval before easing any existing sanctions.

The vote was 97 to two for the legislation, filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill. It is intended to punish Russia over issues including alleged meddling in the election, annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and support for the government of Syria in that country's six-year-long civil war.

The measure sets up a process for Congress to review changes in sanctions, puts into law actions previously established via presidential executive order, imposes new sanctions on Russians found guilty of human rights abuses or conducting cyber attacks."""

Bet the GOP anarchists in the House will not go along and  will  support Vladmir's puppet in the WH.


What sayeth Ms. Handel???????




Not a concern for the Kool-aide drinkers here and Kyle I bet.

Mark Edwards5247
Mark Edwards5247

Even Putin said he's never personally met trump, Gilligan.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

The LibProgs produce the shooter.....

Then they want to talk gun control.

Another reason to ignore them and push the Trump agenda through Congress and put bills on his desk. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@JohnnyReb  Yeah, all the talk from Democrats and their media supporters about solidarity dovetails with most into calls for gun control. They ignore the carnage in the U.K. inflicted by homemade bombs, long bladed knives and a rented van driven into a crowd of people.

AJ Starling
AJ Starling

@JohnnyReb "The LibProgs produce the shooter...." Dude, there have been plenty of conservative shooters and violence including Dylan Roof and Timothy McVeigh. For anyone on either side to claim the other is violent because a few extremists that are decried by the overwhelming majority is foolish and divisive.


"Then they want to talk gun control." So no one in the Democratic party has been pushing for gun control? I thought Obama was going to take our guns. Was I lied to?


Get real and focus on real issues. Rhetoric like yours is part of what prompts mentally unstable people to take weapons into pizza parlors (Trump supporter) and baseball fields (Sanders supporter).

Mark Edwards5247
Mark Edwards5247

McVeigh was in a religious cult and roof is deluded, so they are not conservatives.

Name a republican that beheaded Obama? Name a republican that called Obama a scumbag like Maxine waters called trump? Name a republican that called democrats slave owners like Hillary called republicans? Name a Hollywood actor or musician who called for murdering obama?

Libs were one vote short of banning guns in D.C.

You don't know what you're talking about. Libs like you hate the constitution and want to eliminate the second amendment. The founding fathers would eliminate the democrat party. It's antichrist to the core and will stop at nothing to murder as many babies in the womb as they can.

Wake up!

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

All the come together blabber on the tube makes me sick.

Repubs need to WTFU and realize the Dems do not want a single thing that Repubs want.

They may say they do, but that's just a trap to get something in compromise that weakens our position.

McConnell needs to realize that if he does not change the Senate rules to only require a simple majority vote that Dems will continue to stall the agenda.

And, that the next time Dems are in control of the Senate they will change the rules to a simple majority.

Make hay now, Mitch.

Nuke'em 

AJ Starling
AJ Starling

@JohnnyReb  "Dems do not want a single thing that Repubs want." Completely false. Most in Washington will tell you the parties agree on about 85% of the issues, can negotiate compromises on another 10%, and will never see eye to eye on the remaining 5%. Yet we spend 95% of our time focusing on the 5% we'll never meet in the middle on.


"The next time Dems are in control of the Senate they will change the rules to a simple majority." Really? Because they had the chance before and they didn't do it. And rather than come to any kind of compromise on the Supreme Court, the Republicans blocked the nomination for a full year and then changed the rules to put their guy in. So it sounds more and more like you're projecting.

Oldknight
Oldknight

I'm assuming the "stench" of smell coming from the "prominent liberal" is Jay Bookman.  Bookman has never understood the harm he does by being the definition of the "weak liberal male."  This of course is the bane of our society and has been since LBJ and his "Great Society" in 1965.  The weakness of the liberal male and the women they drag down into the gutter of political correctness with them. Shunned men from elementary school to the outsiders of our society.  Sad. 

cipakiso
cipakiso

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SGTGrit
SGTGrit

A couple of issues associated with the alleged investigation of possible Trump, obstruction of justice. One who are the leakers of investigation information? That should be a special council investigation itself. There appears to be a much greater likelihood of Lynch, Obama obstruction in the Clinton, email investigation if we're observing it also based on leaks. It isn't unreasonable for the special council to consider the Comey, firing but as we've learned already it was a he said he said moment, therefore no hard evidence of obstruction could exist that would justify charges. It is more likely than not that the MSM has exaggerated this investigation in their ongoing efforts to undermine the Trump, presidency.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@SGTGrit 

More unlikely than not that the investigation is exaggerated?

Yeah, put that on your Christmas wish list.

AJ Starling
AJ Starling

@SGTGrit The leaking of the crime is not the crime. The CRIME is the crime.


And yes, I think they should look into Loretta Lynch's conduct and hold her accountable if she is guilty of obstruction.


"No hard evidence of obstruction could exist that would justify charges." That's not true at all.

breckenridge
breckenridge

I would love to talk to the Secret Service as to why they do not protect the President from lies by the monkey media, why do they foment violence among the ignorant followers of the monkey media

Well Mr. Whiner we can be quite certain the monkey Washington Post isn't lying about Trump being under investigation for obstruction of justice. The Post verified this with five - count 'em 1...2...3....4.....5... - different sources before they published the story. 

jack1951
jack1951

Kyle, in reality the 6th District vote next week will be less about Handel vs. Ossoff or Republican vs. Democrat or conservitive vs. liberal than about for or against President Trump.  Hopefully the voters will send a message of disapproval to him.

Jeac Mullan
Jeac Mullan

Kyle Wingfield, when will Conservatives start looking at their watches and find out that we live in the Year 2017.  Obama is not President, he left office 6 months ago.  New issues, new challenges, new responsibilities.  Issues such as renewable energy,  environmental issues, Health & welfare policy, education concerns will have FUTURE  effects on today's society and culture.  

Starik
Starik

@Jeac Mullan It appears that we'll have to wait until January, 2021 to start fixing things. Even if Trump goes away we'll have Pence.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Jeac Mullan  Of course we can exclude such issues as Issis, growing adversarial concerns with Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. Domestic issues such as the number of people receiving some form of government financial assistance, illegal immigration, a broken political system and the growing national debt.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Starik @Jeac Mullan

"Even if Trump goes away...."

You're brainwashed.

And old term that needs reviving.

Trump going away is a Liberal wet dream with no basis in reality.


Mark Edwards5247
Mark Edwards5247

Lol. What a disgrace. While you libs murder as many babies in the womb as you can. You people are sick and demented.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I think that brokenridge is a clear and present danger to innocent people everywhere. Listen to the language that he uses, he wants to stomp your guts, smash your mouth, why isn't the law locking this dude up? 


Are you waiting for him to do a  hodgkinson?

breckenridge
breckenridge

@AndyManUSA#45 


Nice try, but you're a complete zero on this one.  I'm pro-taxpayer, and as such I believe anybody that shoots a bunch of people should subsequently be killed.

You, on the other hand? It's was just a few weeks ago you said that Leon Panetta should be executed.  Just because he doesn't agree with your whacked out views.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Leon Panetta? Why would I care about that guy? You must be whacked out or something.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

My prayers and best wishes are going out to the Congressman who is in critical condition this evening, having been shot in the hip this afternoon in Alexandria, Virginia. I hope others will join me in prayers for his life.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I hope others will, also, join me in praying for the life of the Capitol officer whose life may be in danger because she, and another Capitol officer, first came to the aid of the many U. S. members of Congress who were directly in the line of fire.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

breckenridge's inane rants might classify him as a Hodgekinson case possibility in need of survelliance.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@SGTGrit Listen to his rhetoric, he wants to stab your guts out or punch you in the mouth, every comment is some type of assault. And starik has no problem with it, which means that he agrees. 


Inciting a riot? Shouldn't law enforcement be looking into these two?

Starik
Starik

Kyle, could you forward Andy's real name and internet address to the Secret Service? He could be dangerous.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Starik Secret Service, lol. See what I'm saying about idiocy? Am I a threat to the President? These people cannot even think, never mind aiming.


clown

Starik
Starik

@AndyManUSA#45 @Starik You need mental health treatment. Your posts are unconnected with reality and frequently include physical threats. Perhaps law enforcement can lead you to get help. Seriously.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Starik Matter of fact, kyle, send them by the house. I would love to talk to the Secret Service as to why they do not protect the President from lies by the monkey media, why do they foment violence among the ignorant followers of the monkey media, how can kathy griffin still be a free woman. We have plenty of things to discuss, I will not waste their time. 


Give them my info.