Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Ever-'Present' Obama

I was looking at a friend's MySpace page last night and noticed that she had sworn her allegiance to hype magnet Barack Obama in a blog post:

I almost peed my pants when I heard Barak Obama is running for President! If I had any money I'd donate to his campaign. He thinks, speaks and acts intelligently. I've got more respect for him than anyone else running for the office. His voting against the war back in '02 only helps. I'm going to work for his campaign, too, and anything else I can do.

Barak Obama for President 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I posted a comment:
And when you're toiling at his campaign HQ, you'll probably learn how to spell his name properly, too!
She's a bright woman, but as is typical of many artistic types, she's drinking solely from the Kool-Aid jug of empty-headed liberalism. I was at dinner with her one night when she launched off on a familiar riff about the evils of Dubya, Republicans, corporations, etc. (she knows my political bent) and when I replied with a handful of questions to see if she actually had some knowledge or was merely parroting the shibboleths of "progressive thinking" (an oxymoron if there ever was one), she got huffy and shut up. As I suspected, she hadn't really investigated what's happening in the world, she had merely taken the easy way and blamed everything on the bogeyman du jour for the Left.

Since you can't use any complementary adjectives to describe Obama out of fear of being labeled a racist - as Plagarizing Joe Biden found out the hard way after calling him "articulate" - I'm not going to say anything about him other than he's a slick piece of work who popped up on my radar at the 2004 DNC and who manages to be an empty vessel into which people can pour their wishes and project their desires upon.

While it's been assumed that Hillary! will destroy him like all her foes, there are some chinks in his glossy patina already developing. Maureen Dowd made a comment in a column about his barndoor ears which led to his being caught on tape, whining like a little girl about how he was teased as a child for what Will Smith has somehow managed to cope with and that he was sensitive to comments about them.

Uh, is it me, or does the idea of a Commander-in-Chief who will break into gales of weepy emo tears after a comment about his ears by Kim Jong Il, as a prelude to nuking Seoul and Japan, a little worrisome? Even a San Franciso Chronicle columnist is wondering "Is the Honeymoon for Obama Already Ending?"
The-Barack-is-testy stories are starting to dribble in. The New York Times' Maureen Dowd, who can be a bit of a kingmaker, was not wowed apparently. After Obama declared his candidacy on a sub-freezing day in the Land of Lincoln, Dowd asked him if he had a heater in the podium to keep down the chill.

Perfectly reasonable question from our standpoint in the media -- offbeat, but something people would probably be interested in knowing. Dowd says Obama "shot a look that said, "Are you from People Magazine?''' but then conceded that, yes, he'd had a heater.

First, let's congratulate Dowd on her mind-reading. Not only did she extrapolate what Obama was thinking, she knew which magazine he was thinking it about.

But here's the sad reality. Expect more of that, Barack. You want audacity? We haven't even begun to give you audacity.

"You've been reporting on how I look in a swimsuit,'' Obama complained this week.

While it'd be amusing enough to mock Barack for his sensitive hide, the real reason why he's unfit for office at this time (if ever) has nothing to do with the shallow coverage he's received in these serious times populated by unserious people. No, the real issues about Obama's sneaky tabula rasa act can be gleaned by the OpinionJournal piece, "The Ever-'Present' Obama - Barack has a long track record of not taking a stand."
"What's stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics--the ease with which we're distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions," Obama said in his announcement speech. But a closer look at the presidential candidate's record in the Illinois Legislature reveals something seemingly contradictory: a number of occasions when Obama avoided making hard choices.

While some conservatives and Republicans surely will harp on what they call his "liberal record," highlighting applicable votes to support their case, it's Obama's history of voting "present" in Springfield--even on some of the most controversial and politically explosive issues of the day--that raises questions that he will need to answer. Voting "present" is one of three options in the Illinois Legislature (along with "yes" and "no"), but it's almost never an option for the occupant of the Oval Office.

We aren't talking about a "present" vote on whether to name a state office building after a deceased state official, but rather about votes that reflect an officeholder's core values.

[snipped the laundry list - go read it at the link]

Obama's "present" record could hurt him in two very different ways in his bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination and, ultimately, the White House. On one hand, those votes could anger some Democrats, even liberals, because he did not take a strong enough stand on their issues. On the other hand, his votes could simply be portrayed by adversaries as a failure of leadership for not being willing to make a tough decision and stick by it.

Obama is one of the most dynamic and captivating figures in American politics at this time, and he has put together an excellent campaign team. He clearly is a factor in the race for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

But as Democrats--and Americans--are searching for their next leader, the Illinois senator's record, and not just his rhetoric, will be examined under a microscope. As president, Obama will be faced with countless difficult decisions on numerous gray issues, and voting "present" will not be an option. He will need to explain those "present" votes as a member of the Illinois Legislature if he hopes to become America's commander-in-chief.
Perhaps he was just emulating Bill Clinton's "triangulation" maneuvers (which is not code for having a three-way), he could slide on his non-record by spinning it however he wants to and if that fails, playing the race card if convenient via a pliant, in-the-tank media.

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