McMahon the liberal?
Seriously. This is not some attack on him from the right, this is me trying to pinpoint his place on the political spectrum. I am not going to argue that he is more progressive than Steve Harrison but I am starting to wonder if he is more left of center than he has been pegged to be so far. Harrison to his credit has locked up is progressive support and positioning and it suits his campaign well. McMahon on the other hand has been thus far quiet about policy issues and we have only had his city council record, which does not always translate into national issues well and comments from others on his leanings.
It was quotes like these, via Politico that started correctly or incorrectly framing McMahon as a conservative leaning Democrat;
Indeed, one complicating factor for Powers is the role of the state’s Conservative Party, which has hinted that it could support the likely Democratic nominee, City Councilman Mike McMahon, for the general election. Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar, who recently met with McMahon, said he would give serious consideration to endorsing the councilman, calling him a “moderate to conservative Democrat.”
“McMahon is in the mix this year as a popular Democrat that I would seriously consider supporting,” Kassar said. “He’s not as conservative as Powers, but he definitely appeals to us on some of the issues. He appeals to us on his opposition to gay marriage, and he told us he continues to support U.S. action in Iraq.”
Unfortunately for him, with the delay of his website launch and his slow or lack of campaigning per se, he has been very slow on addressing policy issues and rebutting attacks from either side. We have already seen scurrilous comments associated to previous candidates when Lanza claimed Domenic Recchia ruined Frank Barbaro's chances in favor of Fossella. That grabbed some quick attention and tarnished Recchia only to have zero follow up reporting. But maybe that was the point and maybe that is the point for the Republican and Conservative side of this race claiming honest or not support for McMahon.
Curiously after his site finally launched a quick visit will turned up a smiling photo and quote of Robert Kennedy and iconic progressive and liberal hero of my party. Certainly not what I would expect from a conservative. While on the other side of the race one would note that Harrison is astutely including an Obama logo on his home page. Bith appealing to a progressive and liberal side of the party. But what about that quote, those conservative or moderate leanings?
As per McMahon's Iraq issues page McMahon calls for the immediate start to removing troops from Iraq, opposes permanent military bases and calls for increases diplomatic solutions involving neighboring countries.
"Steve Harrison opposes the war in Iraq and calls for the immediate withdrawal of forces, consistent with our troops' safety." [taken directly from his Iraq issue page]
On healthcare McMahon calls for all Americans to have access to the same healthcare program that members of Congress receive, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
Steve Harrison supports single-payer universal medical coverage.
Don't be mistaken on neither of those issues has either candidate taken a conservative viewpoint. Now one could argue it is moderate because both solutions to Iraq and health care are what a majority of our country want, but they are championed from the left. I don't want speak or put support on issues out there for McMahon, that is not my intent. Merely I think the conversation needs to start on where our two candidates stand for good or bad, or liberal or conservative. I do want to note that while McMahon's website launch is well received he does leave some to be desired. His issue pages covers 7 issues while Harrison covers 23. There are still lingering questions on issues of importance to not just the left but all voters such as the recent FISA debates. In a previous post I introduced an idea from the liberal blogosphere about not just electing more Democrats, but electing better Democrats and the beginning of a framework of what kind of Democrat that looks like. This is really a continuation of that thought process and a reality check that once again we must question what sometimes goes for political reporting in this race.
update I have edited the healthcare section slightly, removing the reference to SCHIP. I initially was not going to compare Harrison and McMahon but thought it would make the point better if I did. That said I did not properly research Harrison's stances and removed the comment so that just universal health care was being compared. I will come back to health care later most likely.