Monday, June 30, 2008

Is Obama turning out to be just another politician?

Original Link:

By Margaret Talev

WASHINGTON — From the beginning, Barack Obama's special appeal was his vow to remain an idealistic outsider, courageous and optimistic, and never to shift his positions for political expediency, or become captive of the Inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia, or kiss up to special interests and big money donors.

In recent weeks, though, Obama has done all those things.

He abandoned public campaign financing after years of championing it. Backed a compromise on wiretap legislation that gives telecom companies retroactive immunity for helping the government conduct spying without warrants. Dumped his controversial pastor of two decades — then his church — after saying he could no more abandon the pastor than abandon his own grandmother.

He said he wouldn't wear the U.S. flag pin because it had become a substitute for true patriotism, then started wearing it. Ramped up his courtship of unions. Shifted from a pledge to protect working-class families from tax increases to a far more expensive promise not to raise taxes on families that earn up to $250,000 a year. Turned to longtime D.C. Democratic wise men to run his vice-presidential search and staff his foreign-policy brain trust.

Presidential candidates often tack toward the center after securing their party's nominations. But all this tactical repositioning by Obama suggests that he's a more complex, pragmatic and arguably more opportunistic politician than the fresh face of "change we can believe in" that he presented during the primary season.

On Thursday the campaign of Republican John McCain, who's changed his own stances on tax cuts, immigration reform, offshore oil drilling and more, attacked Obama's recent shifts, suggesting that the Illinois Democrat looks especially hypocritical given his insistence that he's not like conventional politicians.

In New Hampshire, interviews this week with voters suggested that they aren't paying much attention. Even those who've taken notice generally said their enthusiasm for Obama isn't dampened.

"My support is still strong," said David Christie, 20. "And I don't think folks my age will turn on him if he keeps doing things like that. Folks my age are excited, and that's not going to die because of a couple of decisions."

Ellen Nielsen, a New Hampshire legislator, said, "Rejecting public financing does seem kind of cynical, but for someone who wants to be president, if you aspire to that job I guess you have to do it. I don't expect him to be a moral paragon. You don't get to where he is if you are."

In Illinois, fellow politicians and civic activists who watched Obama as a state lawmaker say he's a political realist who pivots when he needs to, but can be counted on to follow through on big promises.

"You have to run two different types of campaigns, one to attract the primary population, one to attract the general population," said state Sen. Terry Link, a Democrat. But Link said, "If they're trying to make him a Washingtonite, I would never believe he's going to be a Washingtonite."

Cynthia Canary, the executive director of Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a reform group, said: "We always should have been aware that there was a flip side to Sen. Obama being on such a tall pedestal. Sen. Obama has never been anything but human. In a way, we have done him a disservice by creating this rock and roll mythology around him."

Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe, while not acknowledging any flip-flops on Obama's part, said "we see no evidence" of frustration among voters. Polls show no impact from Obama's shifts.

Obama's aides dismiss criticism of his shifts as misunderstandings of his original positions, or merit-based decisions that Obama had never ruled out.

Indeed, Obama's positions are often nuanced.

He surprised some legal observers this week when he disagreed with the Supreme Court and said the death penalty should be applicable to child rapists — putting him on the side of conservative jurists led by Antonin Scalia and against the more liberal five-member court majority.

In the past, Obama's opposed the death penalty for gang offenses and pushed reforms in Illinois to protect against executing the innocent. But in his 2006 memoir "The Audacity of Hope," he said that some crimes such as "mass murder, the rape and murder of a child" are heinous enough to warrant "the ultimate punishment."

Eli Pariser, the executive director of, said that the liberal group's members disagree with Obama over giving retroactive immunity to telecoms as part of the wiretap reforms. Nevertheless, he said, they continue to support Obama because "fundamentally, he's still running a campaign that's based on both progressive and mainstream principles," from ending the war in Iraq to making health care coverage universal.

"Is he standing up for a progressive world view? Fighting for a new vision for foreign policy? As long as our members are feeling he is, we're happy to let other people argue about the flag pin," Pariser said.

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the publisher of the liberal blog Daily Kos, called the wiretap compromise a "really craven flip-flop" meant to immunize Obama against efforts to paint him as weak on national security.

But he defended Obama's withdrawal from public financing as legitimate because Republicans aren't committed to curbing independent attack ad spending.

Dumping Rev. Wright and the church was a flip-flop, he said, but an understandable one given the intense — and one-sided — media coverage of the flap.

Moulitsas admitted that he worries a lot about whether he can count on Obama to stay committed to quick troop withdrawals from Iraq. It's not that Obama has given him any cues to that effect, he said, but rather that, "He's a politician, and things change with politicians, at the end of the day."

Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in California, said that while Obama might be shaking the faith of some idealists with some of his shifts, politically "he's probably doing the smart thing."

This year's election is more likely to be decided on Iraq and the economy, Pitney said, adding: "This is the transition between a fantasy campaign and a real campaign. In a fantasy campaign you are in the clouds and never compromise. In a real campaign, you compromise."

Candidates have often done that, of course, but in earlier times "you didn't have YouTube," Pitney said. "The record of candidate statements is a lot more detailed and complete than it was 40 years ago."

(David Lightman contributed to this report from New Hampshire. Steven Thomma contributed from Washington.)

1 comment:

Webmaster said...

He is already a 'politician, puppet and empty suit' run by the CFR/UN

Obama's LIES:

1. Selma Got Me Born - NOT EXACTLY, your parents felt safe enough to have you in 1961 - Selma had no effect on your birth, as Selma was in 1965. (Google 'Obama Selma' for his full March 4, 2007 speech and articles about its various untruths.)

2. My Father Was A Goat Herder - NOT EXACTLY, he was a privileged, well educated youth, who went on to work with the Kenyan Government.

3. My Father Was A Proud Freedom Fighter - NOT EXACTLY, he was part of one of the most corrupt and violent governments Kenya has ever had.

4. My Family Has Strong Ties To African Freedom - NOT EXACTLY, your cousin Raila Odinga has created mass violence in attempting to overturn a legitimate election in 2007, in Kenya . It is the first widespread violence in decades. The current government is pro-American but Odinga wants to overthrow it and establish Muslim Sharia law. Your half-brother, Abongo Obama, is Odinga's follower. You interrupted your New Hampshire campaigning to speak to Odinga on the phone. Check out the following for verification of that ...... and more.

Obama's cousin Odinga in Kenya ran for president and tried to get Sharia muslim law in place there. When Odinga lost the elections, his followers have burned Christians' homes and then burned men, women and children alive in a Christian church where they took shelter. Obama SUPPORTED his cousin before the election process here started. Google Obama and Odinga and see what you get. No one wants to know the truth.

5. My Grandmother Has Always Been A Christian - NOT EXACTLY, she does her daily Salat prayers at 5am according to her own interviews. Not to mention, Christianity wouldn't allow her to have been one of 14 wives to 1 man.

6. My Name is African Swahili - NOT EXACTLY, your name is Arabic and 'Baraka' (from which Barack came) means 'blessed' in that language. Hussein is also Arabic and so is Obama.

Barack Hussein Obama is not half black. If elected, he would be the first Arab-American President, not the first black President. Barack Hussein Obama is 50% Cauca sian from his mother's side and 43.75% Arabic and 6.25% African Negro from his father's side. While Barack Hussein Obama's father was from Kenya , his father's family was mainly Arabs. Barack Hussein Obama's father was only 12.5% African Negro and 87.5% Arab (his father's birth certificate even states he's Arab, not African Negro). From....and for more....go to.....,_only_6.25%25_African

7. I Never Practiced Islam - NOT EXACTLY, you practiced it daily at school, where you were registered as a Muslim and kept that faith for 31 years, until your wife made you change, so you could run for office.

4-3-08 Article "Obama was 'quite religious in Islam'"

8. My School In Indonesia Was Christian - NOT EXACTLY, you were registered as Muslim there and got in trouble in Koranic Studies for making faces (check your own book).

[February 28, 2008. Kristoff from the New York Times a year ago: Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it'll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset." This is just one example of what Pamela is talking about when she says "Obama's narrative is being altered, enhanced and manipulated to whitewash troubling facts."]

9. I Was Fluent In Indonesian - NOT EXACTLY, not one teacher says you could speak the language.

10. Because I Lived In Indonesia , I Have More Foreign Experience - NOT EXACTLY, you were there from the ages of 6 to 10, and couldn't even speak the language. What did you learn, how to study the Koran and watch cartoons.

11. I Am Stronger On Foreign Affairs - NOT EXACTLY, except for Africa (surprise) and the Middle East (bigger surprise), you have never been anywhere else on the planet and thus have NO experience with our closest allies.

12. I Blame My Early Drug Use On Ethnic Confusion - NOT EXACTLY, you were quite content in high school to be Barry Obama, no mention of Kenya and no mention of struggle dor identify - your classmates said you wer e just fine.

13. An Ebony Article Moved Me To Run For Office - NOT EXACTLY, Ebony has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.

14. A Life Magazine Article Changed My Outlook On Life - NOT EXACTLY, Life has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.

15. I Won't Run On A National Ticket In '08 - NOT EXACTLY, here you are, despite saying, live on TV, that you would not have enough experience by then, and you are all about having experience first.

16. Voting "Present" is Common In Illinois Senate - NOT EXACTLY, they are common for YOU, but not many others have 130 NO VOTES.

17. Oops, I Misvoted - NOT EXACTLY, only when caught by church groups and Democrats, did you beg to change your misvote.

18. I Was A Professor Of Law - NOT EXACTLY, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.

19. I Was A Constitutional Lawyer - NOT EXACTLY, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.

20. Without Me, There Would Be No Ethics Bill - NOT EXACTLY, you didn't write it, introduce it, change it, or create it.

21. The Ethics Bill Was Hard To Pass - NOT EXACTLY, it took just 14 days from start to finish.

22. I Wrote A Tough Nuclear Bill - NOT EXACTLY, your bill was rejected by your own party for its pandering and lack of all regulation - mainly because of your Nuclear donor, Exelon, from which David Axelrod came.

23. I Have Released My State Records - NOT EXACTLY, as of March, 2008, state bills you sponsored or voted for have yet to be released, exposing all the special interests pork hidden within.

24. I Took On The Asbestos Altgeld Gardens Mess - NOT EXACTLY, you were part of a large group of people who remedied Altgeld Gardens. You failed to mention anyone else but yourself, in either of your books.

25. My Economics Bill Will Help America - NOT EXACTLY, your 111 economic policies were just combined into a proposal which lost 99-0, and even YOU voted against your own bill.

26. I Have Been A Bold Leader In Illinois - NOT EXACTLY, even your own supporters claim to have not seen BOLD action on your part.

27. I Passed 26 Of My Own Bills In One Year - NOT EXACTLY, they were not YOUR bills, but rather handed to you, after their creation by a fellow Senator, to assist you in a future bid for higher office.

28. No One on My Campaign contacted Canada about NAFTA - NOT EXACTLY, the Candian Government issued the names and a memo of the conversation your campaign had with them.

29. I Am Tough On Terrorism - NOT EXACTLY, you missed the Iran Resolution vote on terrorism and your good friend Ali Abunimah supports the destruction of Israel .

30. I Want All Votes To Count - NOT EXACTLY, you said let the delegates decide.

31. I Want Americans To Decide - NOT EXACTLY, you prefer caucuses that limit the vote, confuse the voters, force a public vote, and only operate during small windows of time.

32. I Passed 900 Bills in the State Senate - NOT EXACTLY, you passed 26, most of which you didn't write yourself.

33. I Believe In Fairness, Not Tactics - NOT EXACTLY, you used tactics to eliminate Alice Palmer from running against you.

34. I Don't Take PAC Money - NOT EXACTLY, you take loads of it.

35. I don't Have Lobbysists - NOT EXACTLY, you have over 47 lobbyists, and counting.

36. My Campaign Had Nothing To Do With The 1984 Ad - NOT EXACTLY, your own c ampaign worker made the ad on his Apple in one afternoon.

37. I Have Always Been Against Iraq - NOT EXACTLY, you weren't in office to vote against it AND you have voted to fund it every single time.

38. I Have Always Supported Universal Health Care - NOT EXACTL Y, your plan leaves us all to pay for the 15,000,000 who don't have to buy it.

"Qui non intelligit aut discat aut taceat"
Who does not understand should either learn, or be silent.