Liberal? Conservative? Free-market Socialist?

Opinion: Ken Trainor

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By Ken Trainor

Staff writer

With six months to go till the presidential election, the Republicans have finally resigned themselves to a nominee (a Rominee?). The ugliness unleashed by the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision (the court's most infamous since Dred Scott) is about to begin, with SuperPac mudslinging in earnest.

But before it does, I have a question. How do you identify yourself politically?

I'm curious. Recently I had a discussion with friends about this, which broadened my notions of the political spectrum.

Most people, in my experience, don't identify themselves any longer by party. I don't hear many voters say, "I'm a Democrat" or "I'm a Republican." Nowadays, if they identify at all, they choose liberal, conservative, libertarian, progressive, green, independent, moderate, or centrist. There is also disengaged, disenfranchised, disinterested, dispirited and disappointed, though mostly they are too disengaged, disenfranchised, disinterested, dispirited and disappointed to identify themselves. Those who don't vote don't usually boast about it.

I dislike "liberal" because the right has effectively taken the word hostage. It now suffers from so many negative connotations that it's meaningless. If you tell a conservative you're a "liberal," he or she is going to define you in a way that turns your understanding of the term on its head.

Besides, liberal and conservative are mutually exclusive. You can be either/or, not both/and. You can't be a liberal-conservative or a conservative-liberal. Libertarian comes closer to a hybrid. They have some things in common with liberals (government should stay out of our bedrooms) and some things in common with conservatives (government should stay out of everything else). In other words, as little government as possible. It's an interesting philosophy, but not one that translates well to the real world. Besides, libertarians, I'm guessing, tend to vote Republican (if they vote), which effectively renders them conservative. The Tea Party, for instance, started out, ostensibly, criticizing both Democrats and Republicans. But they all vote Republican.

I prefer the term "progressive" because it can, at least in theory, include both sides of the spectrum. You can be a liberal progressive or a conservative progressive or an independent progressive. What unifies them is a commitment to making "progress" — for the common good and the good of the country.

Progressives are pragmatic. Whatever works. And whatever moves us forward works. It is fundamentally opposed to government gridlock and paralysis.

A lot of people say they're independent, but I have my doubts. Many "independents" strike me as looking for a way to avoid any other label. It takes more than having voted for both parties in various elections. You have to be thoughtful and free of the straitjacket of ideology. A lot of "independents" strike me as free of both ideology and thoughtfulness. If you're easily swayed one way or the other, you're not independent. You're just malleable.

Moderates seem equally mushy. Often it sounds like a dodge by those who don't have enough conviction to take a stand. It seems as if they lick their finger, hold it up and vote based on the prevailing winds. If you voted for Obama in 2008 and for the Republicans in 2010, I have to question the depth of your convictions.

Centrists, on the other hand, too often just split the difference, using their inner GPS to position themselves halfway between the two sides and identifying both as "the extremes." They congratulate themselves on being "nonpartisan" because they occupy the "reasonable" middle.

If the Republicans are at one extreme (and they are), then centrists assume Democrats must represent the "other extreme." But that's not always the case and it's certainly not the case now. The Republicans have moved to the extreme right while the Democrats are squarely in the middle. In fact, they're so middle-of-the-road, many liberals are disgusted with them. A true centrist, then, should be voting Democratic. But the "new centrists," having split the difference, end up squarely in the middle of the right half of the political spectrum, which effectively makes them conservatives.

Recently, I was in L.A. visiting friends and while we hiked in the Hollywood hills, I asked them to identify themselves politically. One said "liberal." Another said "independent." These are thoughtful people of substance, so I believe them. The third companion, who I've always considered a conservative, surprised me by calling himself a "free-market socialist." (Watch online how the commentariat freak out over the use of the word "socialist.")

Mind you, this guy is encyclopedic in his knowledge, much of it very practical and grounded. This is the guy whose phone number you would want as your lifeline in a trivia contest. He has an advanced degree in economics and a formidable intellect. This is no ideologue and he's certainly not a flake.

He said we need the free market to be the economic engine and create wealth. Then we need to create effective social structures to make sure there's enough fair distribution of that wealth to prevent the kind of lopsided inequity that has weakened this country.

I thought his description showed remarkable open-mindedness. It redefines "moderate" for me, embracing the two extremes and connecting them with a bar so those of us in the muddled middle can do the heavy lifting that will create a stronger country.

Free-market socialism. Maybe that's how this country can finally make progress.

We already have a pragmatic, independent/conservative/liberal progressive in the White House. Maybe those of us in the middle should start helping him do the heavy lifting.


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Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2012 7:29 AM

Case in point - our state is in worse shape than the other 49 and even the federal government. We elect the same mopes to represent us and wonder why things are screwed up. Durbin has not had the best interest of his constituents at heart since he became 'Shill in Chief' for Obama. We send the likes of Danny Davis back to congress unopposed for the most part. Any world corporation that would have the likes of Maxine Waters, Dick Durbin, Sheila Jackson Lee, Pelosie or Debbie Wasserman on its board of directors would fail after the first quarter P&L statement. We deserve what we get and do they stick it to us. We are so stupid we listen to Pat Quinn and somehow hear brilliant solutions to problems as Quinn makes them worse. Yet, let someone propose solutions to problems and they are labeled as heartless and foolish. Remember, the unfeeling cuts in Washington are actually like only getting a 10% raise instead of the 20% you wanted. Real meaningful change would be reducing federal spending to actual income and perhaps even a little less. Then take the surplus and retiring some of our debt. Our government sees nothing wrong with sending the grandchild to the bank for a loan so we can have a night on the town. Our government sees nothing wrong with borrowing money from China so we can "give" it to nations that would slit our throats in a heartbeat. We are so stupid that we may return a man to the presidency who believes his own lies and never accepts blame for anything. Lets get smart in november and do the right thing for our children and grand children and 'throw the bums out'

rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 4th, 2012 1:59 AM

continued - The govt doesn't care about the poor or your healthcare - just votes & power. When are you going to realize you're being played as "useful idiots"? This country guarantees everyone opportunity - the success is strictly up to you. Spend some time vetting this president as closely as you do Romney and maybe we'll all be better off.

rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 4th, 2012 1:42 AM

Q - You don't have to be rich to know how to keep it. What's wrong with keeping your own money? Nobody's business where or how you keep it, shelter it, donate it or spend it. Govt produces nothing but grief - robbing you Peter to pay Paul. W/o class warfare, rich/poor, white/black/ legal/illegal, gay/straight the Dems have no platform. Votes are inspired out of hate, envy & unfairness AGAINST the other guy. When I vote I vote FOR something -continued freedom, future prosperity for everyone.


Posted: May 4th, 2012 12:11 AM

Sorry Q but I am following the FACTS and DATA from the gov't website. Maybe you should do your own research to counter those you disagree with actual data rather than ad hominem attacks or blaming right wing radio hosts.,,id=96981,00.html#_grp1 and

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 11:36 PM

realitysux, you really don't know many very rich people. You are following the ridiculous radio shows talking about how the wealthiest are paying the load of taxes. According to the tax code you refer to, that would make sense, but it reality, and that is the part you don't like from the moniker you selected, they don't pay your tax code dollars. There are businesses set up to show how to prevent that from happening. When you are rich you know exactly how to keep it. It's just part of being rich

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 11:33 PM

Cont... consumers pay for the companies own investments so they can then charge the consumer more money.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 11:32 PM

realitysux, Are you sure? Women have more liability to insurance companies for medical needs and you know how insurance companies don't like to lose money and when they do, well... you know they just charge more. It's the best no lose business that there ever was and it's legal and acceptable. Imagine if other businesses decided to just raise there prices so their current days profits keeps them 2 years ahead. Second best business are utility companies. Have to invest in more, let the Cont...


Posted: May 3rd, 2012 10:17 PM

Q- women do NOT pay more for insurance than men and if that is your understanding, you get the stupid quote of the week award. Obamacare will NOT lower your insurance costs, will NOT reduce gov't spending on HC, will Not improve quality, and cost almost $2 trillion in the next 10 years.


Posted: May 3rd, 2012 10:09 PM

Jim- Do you actually pay taxes since you have ZERO understanding of the tax code. There are no "loopholes" for the rich, marginal rates are not effective rates and the "rich" dont pay less than the middle class. In 2009, the avg. tax rate for ALL filers was 12.8% of AGI, 8.5% for those under $100k and over 25% for $1 million (SEE IRS)Romney's income is from investments, taxed at 15% just like everyone else. Obama took over $250k in itemized deductions lowering his rate to 20.5%.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 10:06 PM

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park and rj from Oak Park, ask any insurance broker who has had at least 25 years in the insurance business how it will work. It is not going to be socialized medicine, and one of the good things about the insurance care is it eliminates insurance companies charging more to women just because they are women. I'm sure you really are concerned about your own health, so get together with others and start your own medical group of doctors and discount prescriptions.


Posted: May 3rd, 2012 9:40 PM

Coughlin- you ned to find a new source for your claims since virtually every one is wrong. Investing in funds domiciled in the Caymans has NO impact on his tax rate and he pays the same 15% on long tern cap gains as you. Solyndra was Declined by Bush, Fast and furious was an obama program, historical numbers are NOT budgets so reported deficits include ALL spending, Obama spent more in Afghanistan than Bush, added as much debt in 4 yrs as bush did in 8, and is keeping 80% of the Bush tax cuts

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 9:27 PM

Ray, I am certainly not arguing with you about how much Mitt Romney inherited from is father. Let's remember that you brought it up. Not me! I did point out that you were way off on the amount he received. You're also wrong about me citing as a source. I don't believe I've ever posted info obtained from snoops and can't recall the last time I visited the site. Perhaps you have an issue with Who knows? I know it's tiring to have to respond to your false claims about me.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 5:46 PM

Jim, You asked about why I support Romney and the only argument you can find is how much his father left him. What about those other meaningful things. Romney is a smart guy and I wouldn't sell him short.

rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 5:11 PM

Q - continued - Rationing, lack of quality care, lack of research will be the norm. But no worries, Obama has given waivers to unions, all government workers/politicians and scores of special interest. They will not be subjected to this Obamination. Lots of other goodies - I believe there is a 3% tax for this health scam when you finally sell your house.

rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 5:06 PM

Q Side effects of Obamacare - Companies will save billions by paying penalty of $2000 per employee rather than pay private insurance. Employees would be dumped into the taxpayer funded Obamacare xchanges. $500B has already been taken out of Medicare budget for Medicaid. Drs. to be paid drastically less for Medicare patients leaving a shortage of Drs. willing to treat Seniors. Private insurance may not survive leaving no options other than government - which is their goal.

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 4:56 PM

Q, you really don't believe that the H/C law is about insuring the uninsured, do you? It's really about eliminating the private health ins system, and replacing it with govt largesse. The result will be an unmitigated disaster. Smart, you mention some of GWB's mistakes (though Iraq wasn't one of them). There was a reason he left office w/20% approval...because many conservatives weren't happy about his trying to placate the left w/NCLB, Med...that's where he screwed up most. Open the mind!

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 4:51 PM

Jim, OK what does large estate mean to a guy worth 125 million. I would be happy with it. The point was he donated it to his kids and charity. Not one cent of his wealth came from his father. In previous posts you have referenced snoops and others fact checking sites that are left of center in their viewpoint. My argument is that you demand verifiable facts and fail to support your own positions likewise.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 3:59 PM

rj from Oak Park, if the healthcare is made available, you can still use your own plan you have now and you can still go to the doctors of your choice. You will not become a victim. The health plan is to give all who can't afford their own health insurance like you or your company can. If it really was about denying care based on age, etc., it would never be approved.

rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 3:36 PM

Government need not be involved with health care at all- adding layers of bureaucracy/corruption/sky-high costs. If Obamacare is not repealed you will be guaranteed health insurance without timely health care - rationed depending on cost of your care & your age determined by bureaucrats not you or your doctor & lets not forget the 20 new taxes that will be attached to this bill. Sometimes you need to hear both sides of the story - fair and balanced - not just the side that fits your ideology.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 3:27 PM

More nonsense.

rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 3:25 PM

Smart? Iraq was approved by both parties in Congress. Expensive, yes. Worth it, questionable. Clinton could have captured BinLaden but didn't despite WT bombing in 1993 - 911 result of his incompetence. Bush/Katrina didn't have jurisdiction to first respond to Katrina. New Orleans received countless federal $$ to upgrade levies but never did. Bush committed 15Billion to build hurricane system & created Office of Gulf Coast Rebuilding which Obama abolished this year.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 2:53 PM

Ray, Don't ask me to back up a statement that should not and cannot be attributed to me. That's not fair! I am surprised to read that you considered referencing information provided by Mitt Romney from his interview with Brian Lamb on C-Span to be an example of my using liberal fact checking sources. Mitt clearly stated for the record that he did not inherit "a large estate" from his father. That's exactly what you claimed to be a fact, man!


Posted: May 3rd, 2012 2:47 PM

Well Bubba Bush did sign the do not call bill into law, that was good...too bad it does not work. here you pick and choose, Bush: and Obama:


Posted: May 3rd, 2012 2:44 PM

The chicago tribune has had a lot of articles on pensions lately. I feel if true reform doesn't occur soon, i could lose my entire pension. Having to pay more for health benefits or not receiving a 3% raise every year won't feel bad compared to losing it all if no reform takes place and illinois files for bankruptcy. Not getting the annual increase will hurt less than my property taxes tripling.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 2:26 PM

Cont... If Obama wins, things will stay the same, unfortunately, and if Mitt wins, you middle income Republicans can expect no help from your rich Republican friends to make you richer. Democrats, you already know what Mitt is going to do. Bush took so much America away, and he said, "This is a new America".

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 2:23 PM

Cont... will get it done once he is in office, but then defend that he couldn't get anything done because of a Republican Congress blocking all attempts, and even when there is a Democratic majority in Congress, they still can't get anything positive done. Someone on here mentioned the President won't have a problem getting re-elected if he has shown a great track record for his first term. Republicans will say how terrible it was and nothing was done, and Democrat's will defend why. Cont...

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 2:23 PM

Jim, Let's see now right wing groups all do bad things and left wing groups only do good. I challenge you to back that ridiculous statement with some real facts. Your gut feeling won't justify the rhetoric of blanket statements that are that false. Tell me that George Soros sponsored groups don't have evil aims that benefit his socialist agenda. You always want our side to prove our points and quote liberal fact checking sources as rebutal. Just the facts man!

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 2:21 PM

Cont... making and selling products of destruction because they enjoy money. Liberals seem to walk around thinking wouldn't it be nice if such and such was done for people and then return to their homes thinking that thinking made a difference. People vote Republican because they want to be rich like real Republican's or at least hold out help that other rich Republican's will come to their aid. Liberals vote Democratic because it's about helping others and will say their leader Cont...

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 2:18 PM

Smart, you did a good job of summoning it up but people will go back and forth. Reading the posts on here makes me think everyone believes what they are posting. That in itself is very strange because it doesn't make sense how people can misunderstand what takes place. Republicans don't want government in their business, but Republicans don't mind the billions they are paid from the government for what they provide. War makes Republicans lots of money because Cont...


Posted: May 3rd, 2012 1:14 PM

@Nope...same goes for former President Bush; two unpaid for wars, thousands of Americans died under his watch on 911, and many more in the fake wars he created. A horrible medicare bill, unfunded no child left behind, thousands of Americans left in the post Katrina mess...we will never forget "you are doing a great job Brownie" and "Mission Accomplished" and "I don't spend much time thinking about Osama".

former employee  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 1:09 PM

i used to work for one of gdub's college buddies and the same guy made billions off of legislation passed by gub-a-ner and pres gdub. he payed low corporate taxes and sipped tens of thousands of jobs over seas. stop watching fox news, it is bad for you brain.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 12:57 PM

Putting me in your "clueless" category doesn't carry much weight when it's a decision made by the president of the local chapter of the Tin Foil Hat Society.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 12:51 PM

Ray, you stated that Mitt Romney had inherited a large estate and I thought you would be interested in learning the facts. You are correct that Romney is free to donate his money anyway he sees fit. But let's not pretend that providing funding to right wing organizations is the same as using your wealth to help improve the lives of the poor and needy. You and I just see things differently on this topic.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 12:15 PM

Jim, and your point is? Romney did make the donations and his idea of worthwhile charities might not mesh with yours. I am sure he could find fault with your list, but , I venture he is to much of a gentleman to mention it. Biden has a very short list because he is tight as a drum head.

rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 12:12 PM

Jim - If I may - I'm putting you in the Clueless category.

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 12:02 PM

To "smart"...Never, ever confuse activity with achievement. Passing awful bills does not constitute accomplishment. Congress doesn't create jobs, entrepreneurs do. Jim C., what is the problem with an individual citizen donating his inheritance to the LDS? You really think that $$ would've been better spent if it had gone to the Govt? Do you? It's not the Fed's money...they do not know better how to spend it. Case closed.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 11:51 AM

Ray, Mitt Romeny said during an interview on C-Span he did not inherit much money from his father and that it was donated to Brigham Young University to help establish the George Romney Center for Public Management. Regarding his charitable spending, the bulk has been given to the Church of Latter Day Saints. Romney has also made tax deductible donations to the Heritage Foundation, Federalist Society, Citizens for Limited Taxation and the friends of George W. Bush library.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 11:25 AM


rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 10:55 AM

Some of you know full well that this Manchurian candidate was spawned from the anti-American Democratic Socialists of America to carry out their Marxist policies to overturn our capitalist system. The rest of you are clueless or in total denial that could happen or are happy to see that happening.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 8:15 AM

Smart - Whoa!!! the take over was the action of US voters who said ENOUGH! How is Obama bi-partisan? He has proven to be the most partisan president in my lifetime (back to FDR) Also - the do nothing group is the Senate and your guys have held everything up - refusing to allow votes. Name one bill that restricts the rights of women - Women are not a minority group - quite often they represent a majority voting block. It is also important to remember that the out of power party's job is to regain power.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 7:54 AM

Jim, O.K. I support Romney because he favors expanding and freeing up Nuclear power generation. Restoring our military to modern efficiency. Reducing federal payroll by 5% thru attrition. Reduction of non discretionary spending by 5%. Retooling our tax code. Revising entitlements to insure their survival. He has taken over failing corporations and turned most around. He knows that you may have to get rid of 100 people to save the jobs of 500. He understands that federal employees make no tangible contribution to our gross domestic product. Fairness means everyone contributing something, 47% of citizens paying zero is unfair and expecting job creators to pay it all is insane. Romney wants an energy plan that expedites fossil fuel exploration and development with strict, reasonable regulations. Romney inherited a large estate from his father and donated it all to charity - his fortune is from his own successes. He knows that redistribution is a failed concept that destroys initiative. I will dig deeper as this election cycle proceeds.

Smart voters know  

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 7:25 AM

@jkdiv that a ton was accomplished by Obama before the congress was taken over by a bunch of just say "no"ers and "our only job is to make Oabama a one term President"ers. this is about the congress doing nothing about jobs and start 1,000 bills in our great land to restrict the rights of women. You can blame Obama for his optimism and effort to be bi-partisan and you can blame congress for doing nothing to move our country forward.


Posted: May 3rd, 2012 6:41 AM

Progress toward what? Forward toward what? I'm afraid that the answer is a state controlled eutopia; at least for those who control the state. Such a state has never existed and will never exist. This fact, based in a profound understanding of human nature, was recognized hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, despite so many disasterous examples of what the political philosophy leads to, some haven't learned history's lessons.

Nelson Taruc from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 11:37 PM

Jim, you're missing the crux of what will define the 2012 election. It is far less about Romney and much more about what Obama promised in 2008 and whether he's lived up to those promises or not; 2012 is about Obama's four-year track record. The bottom line is this: If America thinks Obama's done a great job these past four years, he'll win no matter who he's up against. End of story. But if his track record requires "heavy lifting" to make it appealing, he's going to be in trouble.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 9:06 PM

Sound advice,Michael. I'm looking forward to learning from Ray Simpson what he believes Romney brings to the table and hopefully will focus on specifics. I trust Ray does not support the fact that Mitt maintains offshore accounts in havens to reduce his tax burden. It's legal but an option that only works for the very wealthy. We'll see what Ray has to say. Maybe he'll be able to tell us why Romney is the best man for the job. No need for Ray to rehash what he doesn't like about Obama.

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 8:39 PM

Ray, Step away...from the blackboard Put...the chalk...down. Glenn Beck was not right. Red is not right. Any organization that touts itself as Americans etc. is usually not right. For example - Americans for Prosperity is not right. American Crossroads is not right. Don't take my word for it, simply fact check - just don't fact check on redstate. Many of your assertions are not right. Please knock it off.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 7:33 PM

Ray, I find it interesting that you and the GOP are all too eager to run away from George W. Bush. Weren't you a big supporter of his policies? Stand by your man! As you are aware, Solindra started with Bush as well as Fast and Furious. Don't bring up deficits and not mention the costs of two wars, tax cuts for the wealthiest Amercians and the unfunded drug plan that Bush kept off the books. Obama remains a strong supporter of Israel. The EPA protects our water and air. Now you talk about Romney

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 5:33 PM

OK Jim, without blaming Bush please give us a factual justification for 1- Solindra 2_ Fast and Furious 3- 1.3 trillion in deficit 4- EPA over reach 5- siding against Isreal that would be a good start. Again Bush has been gone for 3 years and isn't a factor anymore

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 5:25 PM

Gripes Broderick - just as I begin thinking I am understanding my politico experience, you pop Neo-Marxist into the choices.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 5:23 PM

As I wandered down your article selecting different types of politico I may be or was, I kept trying to identify where OP fit it the spectrum of choices. To me, OP is liberal on traditional social issues, race, fair housing, and social justice. It is progressive with anything green, and conservative (republican) on taxation, development, and social change. That led me to believe that the term you brought to the midwest, free-market socialism, fits OP. As far as me, I just call myself a Democrat. Since words like liberal are never seen as a compliment, even amongst socialists, I thought it best to get generic as possible. I just call myself a Democrat.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 5:22 PM

So what should we expect from a Mitt Romney presidency?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 5:15 PM

Tom, these baseless charges against President Obama are the creation of right wing bloggers and have absolutely no basis in fact or reality. You'll hear the same nonsense that if he is re-elected, Obama will be coming to take away "our guns". Let's have an honest debate on the issues and examine the candidates' records.


Posted: May 2nd, 2012 5:15 PM

Ken, if you're in the middle, Olbermann is a conservative. I'm glad we elected the first mixed race POTUS, but he's proven to be over his head and didn't fulfill all the liberal promises like closing Guantanamo Bay. It's time to "change" and grow the economy. Instead of focusing on the economy, he decided to make healthcare his Waterloo.

tom broderick from oak park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 4:52 PM

Hello rj: People say and try out different ideas/theories and practices in college. Looking at Obama's political career as Illinois Legislator, U.S. Senator and U.S. President seems at odds with anyone who is a committed Marxist. Can you provide any kind of verifiable source for your comment? If Obama said this, his political life since then has taken a serious and unfortunate neo-liberal turn.

rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 3:34 PM

Jim - Forward is by itself a benign word as you reference Bush. "Forward" - new slogan in Obama's campaign - who admitted in college to be a committed Marxist suggests exactly that. If his vision wasn't so dangerous it would be laughable as his policies are backward-draconian and can only be presented as "forward"!

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 12:08 PM

George H. W. Bush titled his 1987 book, "Looking Forward" and his son, George W. Bush, described the troop surge in Iraq as a "new way forward". The slogan the Obama campaign selected is hardly a threat to capitalism or a march towards socialism. marxism or communism. Let's leave the whoppers to candy makers and burger joints.

Why Left Wing Liberals Make Lousy Columnists  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 11:29 AM

See column above.

rj from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 10:56 AM

Ken - You are definitely on the same page as your leader - And whatever moves us "Forward" works. "Forward" is the new Obama slogan which has long reflected the connection of European Marxists and radicals that their movements march through history & move "Forward" past capitalism into socialism and onward to Communism. Really? Is this where you want your country to march "Forward" to? Gridlock & paralysis were built into our system to prevent this. You, on the other hand call this "progress"!!

Ray Simpson from  

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 6:26 AM

Ken Trainor in the middle? If I was standing outside your office talking to you and you got on your bike and peddled all of the way to North Ave. you would report " See look how far right he has moved" Obama - heavy lifting - pragmatic - what are you smoking dude?

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