Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Obama’s Two Faces and Forked Tongue

Original Link: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/06/30/obamas-two-faces-and-forked-tongue/

by Medusa and Bud White

Two-faced? Hypocritical? Or showing his true colors? Last week Barack Obama made 180 degree turns on three previous positions he had taken in order to seduce liberal Democrats. In an article entitled “For Obama, winning is everything“, Michael Tomasky writes of these changes, claiming that:

It’s acceptable - and necessary - for Barack Obama to compromise his liberal principles in order to get elected

Taking Fat-Cat Money

In November 2007, the Midwest Democracy Network, a non-partisan alliance of 20 civic and public interests groups, released the unedited responses to a questionnaire on federal political and government reform issues. The questionnaire was sent to both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Question 1-B asks:

If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?

Barack Obama answered the question in detail: Yes. I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D- WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system.

In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election.My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election.

My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election.The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (r- AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.

However, on June 19, in an about-face so abrupt as to cause whiplash in his beholden followers, Obama said he would forego public finances in his presidential race against John McCain.Previously decrying special interests money, which made him the darling to liberal Democrats, Obama has rejected the 84 million dollars in public funds available to him. This allows him to accept money from special interest groups, making clear that against all his claims, he is a Washington insider. Anthony Corrado writes:

Obama “is likely to outspend McCain and the Republican national committee combined by perhaps two to one. Between now and election day, we very well may see Senator Obama spend $400m or more

Obama is clearly two-faced, as we are seeing more and more. But he’s not simply repeating old and familiar patterns, according to Richard Briffault, a campaign finance expert at Columbia University:

Obama is the first candidate since the public financing system was established by congress in 1974 to opt out of the system.

Denying Civil Liberties

The second liberal principal Obama sacrificed in the space of one week is his decision to support a bill that gives the telecoms retroactive immunity. Only last year Obama promised to filibuster the bill but instead, in a stomach-lurching turn to the right, he gave his support to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and climbed in bed with George Bush and company. No doubt Obama is attempting to show some strength regarding national security to those of us who know he has none, but he’s sacrificing the very liberals who fell for his dippy promises of hope and change:

Asked specifically why he’s supporting the current FISA bill when he’d promised months ago to support a filibuster of an earlier version of the bill, Obama suggested flat out that “national security” overrides the question of telecom immunity.

The Death Penalty

As Michael Tomasky writes, most liberals are opposed to the death penalty, so when Obama joined in with the most conservative minority of the supreme court justices to support the death penalty in the case of the rape of a child, he turned more right than many from the right wing, causing many of his supporters to doubt their support. David Sirota suggests that “When Obama takes these mushy positions, it could speak to a character issue. Voters that don’t pay a lot of attention look at one thing: ‘Does the guy believe in something?’ They may be saying the guy is afraid of his own shadow.” The Huffington Post has noticed Obama’s lurch to the right:

Sen. Barack Obama is risking his brand as a political reformer, according to reports today in the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. In recent weeks, he has moderated or changed positions on a number of politically-charged issues, leading to criticism from demoralized Democratic activists and charges of “flip-flopping” from conservatives.

Hillary supporters have long known that Obama wears whatever mask will gain him political advantage in the moment. The big blogs are now beginning to catch on to Obama’s tricks. Anglachel notices this trend:

Overall, the trend I am seeing is that, with Hillary out of contention, the Blogger Boyz have abruptly noticed The Precious is not what they have claimed him to be or, rather, they are finally having to acknowledge that we HRC supporters were right about the mendacious little bastard all along.

Indeed, there is an emerging narrative — not just in the blogosphere — that Obama is two-faced. Unlike the charge that Kerry was a flip-flopper, this narrative is born out of Obama’s own actions; no windsurfing imagery is necessary, even the big blogs are beginning to see that Obama has no core values and that he suddenly shifts positions and rhetoric to suit his needs. Politico reports:

“[A] lot of people tried to convince themselves that he was a progressive hero, and I think they were disappointed,” Hamsher said. “You can feel a real shift in the zeitgeist online.”

Obama recently told women that they need to “get over” that Hillary lost. But what Obama doesn’t understand or have the maturity to see is that in this extended job interview, in which women are the majority of voters, his tactics, reversals, arrogance, and bullying do not easily fade from memory. Even at this date, Obama is largely unknown to the public, but what we do know is that he will say one thing and do another. Where we come from that’s called lying, and it’s something we’d expect from a con.

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