Friday, June 20, 2008

A Man Not Of His Word

The carefully crafted persona portrayed by Obama and the reality of the man are two entirely different things.

There are two kinds of leaders - those who operate upon deeply held principals and attempt to act with integrity and those for whom life's decisions are an endless and daily weighing of the expediencices. McCain, whose position on Iraq looked certain to doom his candidacy, is clearly in the former category. If you needed any clearer demonstration that Obama fully occupies the latter category, he has given it with his decision to break his promise to take public funding for the general election campaign - and then blame his ethical lapse on John McCain and Republicans. That is something even the NYT has difficulty swallowing.

Its been clear for months that the would-be Messiah, Barack Obama, was not just an ordinary politician. But the reality has been hardly anything but an affirmation of the published by an over the top MSM. Rather, the reality is that Obama combines the naivity and poor judgment of a Jimmy Carter with the oratorical skills and disingenuousness of character of a Bill Clinton. Obama is anything but a man of his word. This from the Politico:

Obama said he'd pursue public financing "aggressively." He committed to it in a written questionnaire. He even said, repeatedly, that he would meet personally with Senator John McCain to discuss a deal.

Instead, his campaign never even asked the Republican's aides for a meeting on the subject. And Obama, both campaigns said, never asked for a face-to-face meeting with McCain.

. . . Obama's move wasn't out of character. In fact - though he has at times adopted popular reform causes - Obama has never been a traditional reformer.

He came to politics through the community organizing movement, whose radical founder, Saul Alinsky, mocked highbrow reformers, and focused instead on the acquisition and use of power, with the ends often justifying the means.

In Obama's political life, that approach has translated into pragmatism. He's kept his distance from elements of the Democratic Party that demand purity, from Washington reformers to more ideologically-motivated liberal bloggers. Instead, his campaign has sought the Kennedy mantle, modeling the candidate after a revered Democratic family not known for its scruples.

"Their campaign is brutally pragmatic," said one Democratic operative. "They have the most exciting candidate since JFK and like that operation, they have their share of talented, ambitious and at times ruthless people. Barack gets to stay above the fray, while his campaign does whatever it takes to win." . . .

Read the entire article. My problem is not with his pragmatism, nor with his opt out of public financing standing alone, but rather with his wholesale lack of integrity and utter disingenuousness in blaming his decision on McCain and Republicans, claiming that he is taking the moral highground. As Karl at Protein Wisdom opines:

It is worth noting that Team Obama had the chutzpah to blame Team McCain for the latest in the exploding number of Obama flip-flops. Ed Morrissey lays out the basic explanation for why Obama’s rationales regarding donations from lobbyists and spending by independent “527″ groups are malarkey, but it’s worth relinking to prior posts here explaining that Obama allows: “policy” and “campaign support” from well-connected Washington lobbyists; donations from their spouses; donations from well-connected state lobbyists and from people who work for Washington firms that do substantial lobbying; and millions upon millions from lawyers and lobbyists, the finance, insurance and real estate sector, and the healthcare sector. Indeed, federal lobbyists are allowed to volunteer for Obama (and presumably now the DNC). Moreover, as Patrick Ruffini notes, a whopping 1% of McCain’s donations were from PACs, even less from lobbyists.

As for those eeevil 527 groups, it should be noted that Obama does not want the money out of politics; he just wants to control the message. . . .

Read the entire post. And even the hyperpartisan NYT sputtered a bit on Obama's blaiming McCain for his decision to go back on his word about public financing:

Citing the specter of attacks from independent groups on the right, Senator Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would opt out of the public financing system for the general election.

His decision to break an earlier pledge to take public money will quite likely transform the landscape of presidential campaigns, injecting hundreds of millions of additional dollars into the race and raising doubts about the future of public financing for national races.

In becoming the first major party candidate to reject public financing and its attendant spending limits, Mr. Obama contended that the public financing apparatus was broken and that his Republican opponents were masters at “gaming” the system and would spend “millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations” smearing him.

But it is not at all clear at this point in the evolving campaign season that Republicans will have the advantage when it comes to support from independent groups. In fact, the Democrats appear much better poised to benefit from such efforts.

. . . Mr. Obama’s decision, which had long been expected given his record-breaking money-raising prowess during the Democratic primary season, was immediately criticized by Mr. McCain, who confirmed Thursday that he would accept public financing.

“This is a big, big deal,” said Mr. McCain, of Arizona, who was touring flooded areas in Iowa. “He has completely reversed himself and gone back, not on his word to me, but the commitment he made to the American people.”

Mr. Obama’s advisers said Thursday that they believed he could raise $200 million to $300 million for the general election, not counting money raised for the Democratic National Committee, if he were freed from the shackles of accepting public money.

Signaling how his ability to raise record amounts was already affecting the race, Mr. Obama, of Illinois, on Thursday released his first advertisement of the general election, spending what Republicans estimated as $4 million in 18 states, including some that Democrats have not contested in recent elections.

. . . Early last year, before he became a money-raising phenomenon, Mr. Obama floated in a filing with the Federal Election Commission the possibility of working out an agreement with the other party’s nominee to accept public financing if both sides agreed. Later, when asked in a questionnaire whether he would participate in the system if his opponent did the same, Mr. Obama wrote, “yes,” adding, “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”

. . . Mr. Obama, who has sharply criticized the influence of money in politics and has barred contributions from federal lobbyists and political action committees to his campaign and the party, announced his decision Thursday in a videotaped message to supporters. He argued that the tens of thousands of small donors who had fueled his campaign over the Internet represented a “new kind of politics,” free from the influence of special interests.

The Obama campaign highlighted Thursday the fact that 93 percent of the more than three million contributions it had received were for $200 or less. But Mr. Obama has also benefited from a formidable high-dollar network that has collected more money in contributions of $1,000 or more than even Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s once-vaunted team of bundlers of donations.

Indeed, Mr. Obama stands to receive a significant boost from fund-raisers who formerly supported Mrs. Clinton, of New York.

Michael Coles, a former Clinton fund-raiser from Atlanta, said in an interview that he was one of 20 to 30 Clinton supporters who joined Mr. Obama’s national finance committee at a meeting on Thursday in Chicago. Members of the committee have each pledged to raise $250,000 for Mr. Obama.

People from both camps said they expected most of Mrs. Clinton’s top fund-raisers to align behind Mr. Obama, and that they could raise at least $50 million for him.

Mr. Obama, however, cast his decision on Thursday as a necessary counter to unscrupulous supporters of Mr. McCain’s.

“We’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies’ running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations,” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. McCain has been highly critical in the past of 527s and other independent groups, but he seems to have softened his rhetoric lately, saying his campaign could not be expected to “referee” such groups. . . .

Read the entire article. To cast one's vote for this man requires an exercise in self delusion, identity politics and amorality that is all consuming. It is beyond my capacity in those areas.


subadei said...

GW, have you read David Brooks op-ed in the NYT. Rather good read.

feeblemind said...

I would wager if the roles were reversed, and it was McCain raising hundreds of millions and Obama was struggling to raise money, McCain would opt out of public financing as well. Elections are war. In war, you don't simply throw away an advantage if you are serious about winning. I am no fan of Obama but this is one strategy I can't fault him for.

GW said...

Soob - thanks for the heads up on that. An exceptional read actually. Will blog it.

Feeblemind - I would take that wager and double down. Why did Obama sign on for public financing seventeen months ago and make such a big deal of it? It was an advantage at the time. Now that it is not, like everything else in Obama's world, it is disposable and spinnable. He asks us to take him at his word, but his word is meaningless. Everything about Obama says that he does the political calculus on everything, then claims the moral highground. He is far more disingenuous than even Bill Clinton was. If you think that a welcome trait in a leader, you and I disagree strongly.

I wrote at length why I think having a leader who operates on principle is so important at this point in time. You can find it here.
If you disagree, I'd be more than happy to debate this one with you.

dave in boca said...

The Dems are going to lose this election again because of their flawed view of politics, which is based on identity and micro-managed hyper-nerd flimflammery. Plus their flawed view of human nature, which is based on Rousseau's Panglossian kumbaya schmaltz instead of the intrinsic evil nature of humans without strict governance.

Unless McCain lurches even further into silly second-rate attempts to sidle left until he becomes unpalatable for anyone with a backbone. One of which he used to possess.

MK said...

"That is something even the NYT has difficulty swallowing."

Liberals won't turn against Obama over this, they don't care, they'll lie, cheat and steal their way through this without batting an eyelid. The end justifies the means.