Republicans helping liberals make the case
If Obama wins on November 4th (as appears likely), the post election spin war will be furious (it always is). Part of what will determine its course will be the framing that was used prior to the election. By painting Obama as as "the most liberal Senator", in favor "spreading the wealth", and as a closet socialist, the conservatives have legitimized the argument that the electorate wants more liberalism, more "spreading the wealth", and even (horror of horrors) more socialism.
Conservatives find it absurd that Americans are about to elect the most liberal president of the modern era and aren't terribly upset by it; but in capitalizing on this particular argument of Obama's, the Republicans are rearguing whether some form of economic redistributions from white people to black people was necessary -- even though Obama never really made the point.Obama has been talking about the larger GOP governing philosophy for a while now, but until recently, the race hasn't seemed like as much of a referendum on Republicanism; it's been more of a referendum on the Bush years.
The GOP went all in on an ideological war.
Liberals of my acquaintance have been arguing for more than a year that this election needed to be about more than just Bush. It needed to be a repudiation of conservative Reaganomics and Rovian political tricks. Obama and others (as Ambinder notes) have attempted to do this, with little success. But the Republicans, by making an ideological attack, have made the argument for us.
Thanks for the assist.