But first, let's get a good idea of where the conservative mind is by imagining that the political spectrum of the United States is the face of a clock; the analog type, not digital.
We place the moderate at 6 o'clock and the radical at 12. The Goldwater conservative is at 3 while the McGovern liberal would be at 9.
By placing the far leftist at 11 or later and the far righty at 1 or earlier, we can seen how easy it is for a left-wing radical to easily slip into the far-righty camp with little trouble or the fanatical righty to become a radical lefty. They are essentially of the same authoritative mind set. Many fanatical right-wingers, known as neo-cons, were once radical left-wing Marxists or Maoists who easily jumped the midnight/noon division line to lead this nation down the path to where it is today.
Most modern politicians are within the 3-to-9 time frame, but too many at 3 and not enough at 9.
Our most stuck-in-the-mud politicians who resist any change or progress in society would be placed at no later than 3 o'clock while those who advance radical changes would be no earlier than 9. Hillary Clinton is subjected to the most-vitriol hatred from those at 3 because she was once a 3 but had advanced to about a 6. That may not be far enough for our time period that will need at least an 8 or 9 to get us out of the mess a succession of 3s has put us in.
On the political right, the most-rabid 3s, such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity have had a hissy fit over the conservatism of to-be GOP presidential nominee John McCain; the battle being whether he is truly a 3 or may have strayed off the reservation to be a 4 or, heaven forbid, a 5.
Where Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama fits on this dial is still unsettled. His call for change suggests he is to the left of 6, but lack of specific details of his envisioned policy agenda ~ other than a lame healthcare plan, fiddling with taxes and the minimum wage ~ leaves one wondering if he passes 7, or even gets to a 7. But then, Franklin Delano wasn't FDR until after he got into the White House and faced the task of cleaning up the mess Cal Coolidge and Herbert Hoover left him.
As Howard Zinn states in The Progressive:
"Today, we can be sure that the Democratic Party, unless it faces a popular upsurge, will not move off center. The two leading Presidential candidates have made it clear that if elected, they will not bring an immediate end to the Iraq War, or institute a system of free health care for all.
"They offer no radical change from the status quo.
“They do not propose what the present desperation of people cries out for: a government guarantee of jobs to everyone who needs one, a minimum income for every household, housing relief to everyone who faces eviction or foreclosure.
"They do not suggest the deep cuts in the military budget or the radical changes in the tax system that would free billions, even trillions, for social programs to transform the way we live."
Paul Krugman of the New York Times echoed those sentiments in a recent column, stating: "Now, nobody would mistake Mr. Obama for a Republican ~ although contrary to claims by both supporters and opponents, his voting record places him, with Senator Clinton, more or less in the center of the Democratic Party, rather than in its progressive wing.
"But Mr. Obama, instead of emphasizing the harm done by the other party's rule, likes to blame both sides for our sorry political state. And in his speeches he promises not a rejection of Republicanism but an era of postpartisan unity."
It appears that neither Zinn nor Krugman see Obama as much past a 6, if that far. How that might differ when Obama ~ or Clinton ~ moves into the White House we do not now know, but it doesn't look likely to be monumental.