Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Real Barack Obama

Even after last night, Barack Obama remains the clear favorite for the Democratic Nomination, as Hillary Clinton has fewer and fewer possibilities of gaining a lead in delegates. It is therefore crucial that we examine his largely unknown record.

To begin with, many social and fiscal conservatives feel an affinity for the unknown, yet eloquent Barack Obama, but cannot pinpoint a reason for their warmth to him. After all, he doesn't agree with them on virtually any issues and even Hillary Clinton is more in line, in terms of policy, than Barack. Yet Obama captivates people across the political spectrum and does it well.

One great aspect to the Obama candidacy actually has nothing to do with Obama himself. Dick Morris, two years ago, while advocating for a Condi Rice nomination (a subject he felt so strongly about he penned a book on it), pointed out that in 1928, Al Smith's designation as the first presidential nominee of a major party to be Catholic erased anti-Catholic bigotry over night. Racial harmony is most needed and candidate Obama can help do that and that's good for the nation.

Now we need to examine who this will affect most. It has long been clear to anyone actively studying US politics in the last 45 years that emotion based racism is centered in the Democratic Party, among liberal Democrats who sadly see everything through a racial lens. While Republicans have pushed for a merits based, true colorblind society, Democrats, including many of the same people who opposed civil rights legislation in the '60s (largely enacted by Republicans and opposed by more Democrats than supported it), have continued to harp on race and superficiality. After thankfully losing the battle, these same opponents of civil rights proceeded to make almsot every other issue about race, while Republicans, with a few very sad exceptions, have stuck to the principals of a colorblind world and merits based judgment. For those close-minded people who can never judge anyone or anything on its own merits, an eloquent presidential candidate reflects kindly on "his race." The flip side to this is that for those liberal bigots, largely members of the classic Northeastern "not in my backyard" group, a bad president reflects poorly on "his race."

This is one of the problems when dealing with a narrow minded, emotionally driven group. They can turn on you. And if Barack Obama is actually elected and implements his "misbegotten" policies (excuse the now tiresome word - one can't resist taking a word that liberals misuse in their lexicon of parroted slogan against the war, the economy or wherever else their complaint of the day finds itself and turning it on them by using it in its true sense), some of the anger at the ruined economy may cause racial strife. Not that it ever should. But the reality is that anyone bigoted enough to need a presidential candidate to erase or dampen racial prejudice is also close-minded enough to outrageously pin the failed policies of one man on an entire race.

In short, given Obama's naive and sometimes outlandish policies (which we'll deal with below), nominee Obama would be a good thing for America, unless he wins. This is largely because the same liberal bigots who turn around and make race such a central issue would continue to do so when an Obama Administration's military, homeland security, economic and social policies all blow up in their faces.

The end of racism that his candidacy symbolizes is a good thing. That's one of two factors that attract some conservative affinity. The second reason, that Barack civilly engages his opponents, is another, but it is more perception than reality. While he doesn't impugn and malign conservatives, like the Democrats of old, Obama still parrots derisive slogans and catch phrases. He is generally dismissive of the conservative point of view on any issue and while he's more open and congenial than most Senate or House Democrats, he's less of either than any Senate Republican. Of course, that's ok. Democrats don't need to be nice to Republicans and those who are should be praised as great unifiers of the masses. A Republican who takes a similar approach is still called a demagogue, but that's just because "they are" (talk about close-minded). The fact that Barack Obama is outwardly more arrogant than most Republican and Democratic Senators alike is also no big deal. He earns it for being relatively civil to those eevil Republicans.

Now let's examine some of his beliefs and what we could expect in an Obama Administration. As a far-left Democrat, it's no big news that Obama favors increased taxation no matter how many times low taxes have been proven to help the economy, is radically pro-choice even with regard to partial birth abortion (conducted on full term and viable fetuses) and is against almost all national security measures enacted over the last 7 years no matter how many times they've directly helped thwart the worst of attacks. What is surprising is the extent to which he goes with regard to all of these measures and more.

As an Illinois State Senator, Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, protecting the rights of already born fetuses, left alive after an "abortion." Amanda Carpenter of Human Events correctly points out that when the same legislation was introduced on a federal level it was opposed by only 15 members of the House and passed the Senate unanimously.

Obama was the lone "present" vote on a bill to teach respect for others in schools. It would have passed unanimously except for the fact that Obama was, unfortunately, "present" at the time. In two of his most tasteless moves, he also voted present on a bill preventing "adult" shops from opening near a school or house of worship, helping the bill fail, as passage required three fifths support. He also voted against a bill mandating schools to block "adult" sites on their computers.

In the US Senate he's voted against countless security measures and holds the most liberal Senate voting record for 2007. No wonder Ted Kennedy wants him out of the Senate, after all, the man has a record to hold. Obama's national security positions are inept as well as non-existent. He's opposed almost every national security initiative put forward without offering a single concrete proposal in their place (empty saber rattling against Pakistan, instead of pressing for a solution, notwithstanding). Hopefully these tidbits of a long and out of touch record are sufficient to give one pause before voting for this candidate, even if the media refuses to touch on any of these issues.

In the end, there are a lot of great speakers out there. If we favor style of substance and eloquence over sound policy, we may one day end up with an opera singer, a comedian or a bombast TV show salesman with no political experience leading this nation. While some would argue, perhaps correctly, that this would be a step up compared to most politicians, but only if there's some substance behind the rhetoric. We already had one president who brought nothing to the table aside from a small bit of down to earth likeability and thirty years later Jimmy Carter is still considered a disaster by any measure. Interestingly enough, he's a Barack supporter this year.

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