Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Truer Words Never Spoken

Obama said yesterday in a speech to the VFW that "McCain doesn't know what he is up against." That is the most accurate statement Obama has made to date. And therein lies his problem. No one knows what McCain is up against. Obama has yet to articulate a doctrine, policy or principal that he has not revoked, revised or tossed out - all the while claiming that his latest articulation represents no change whatsoever from the views he has always held. Obama, whose poll numbers are dropping just slightly slower than lead dropped into the ocean, is vowing to fight back - aided and abetted by the MSM, of course. But his problems are all self-inflicted. Thus, it seems his only options are to delegitimize criticism and to dishonestly paint John McCain.

Obama is losing ground in the polls, with at least one poll, the Zogby poll, now showing a McCain with a 5 point lead. McCain has led a steady drumbbeat against Obama for lacking substance. In response to the Russian invasion of Georgia, McCain looked decisive, Obama weak. And all of that was topped off with a commanding performance by John McCain and a weak performance by Obama at the Saddleback pseudo debate.

A big part of Obama's problem is his dishonesty and blaring hypocrisy. He has raised flip flopping to an art form heretofore not seen in American presidential politics and added on top of it a layer of dishonesty and hypocrisy that is breathtaking. The abortion issue is but the latest shining example. On the day of the Saddleback interview, Obama claimed that he was being maligned with suggestions that he supported infanticide:

The presumptive Democratic nominee responded sharply in an interview Saturday night with the Christian Broadcast Network, saying anti-abortion groups were "lying" about his record.

"They have not been telling the truth," Mr. Obama said. "And I hate to say that people are lying, but here's a situation where folks are lying."

He added that it was "ridiculous" to suggest he had ever supported withholding lifesaving treatment for an infant. "It defies common sense and it defies imagination, and for people to keep on pushing this is offensive," he said in the CBN interview.

At issue is the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, a bill in the Illinois state Senate that sought to protect against bungled abortions by requiring that a fetus that survived an abortion be defined as a person. . . .

It turns out that Obama was lying about his position. He voted against the above referenced bill in the Illinois Senate. Big Lizards has the whole story and Doug Ross also has an excellent post complete with copies of the documentation. And then when that lie was caught, Obama added another layer of dishonest nuance, as Hot Air explains. All of this was on top of his craven refusal to answer the question put to him at Saddleback of when does life begin.

Another Obama problem is his inabiity to back up his promises with anything substantive. He has been asked several times now, in light of his promise to heal the partisan divide, to show an instance where he reached across the aisle on a contentious issue. His answers have been inane, weak and deceptive. When first asked that question a few weeks ago by during a Fox News interview, Obama responded that, while he voted against the appointments of Judge Alito and Roberts, he nonetheless defended Democrats who voted for them. When asked the question at Saddleback, he responded that he had worked with John McCain on bi-partisan ethics legislation. That of course was true - for one week in 2006. That was until Obama backtracked and refused to participate any further, garnering this response from McCain:

Republican Sen. John McCain on Monday accused his Democratic colleague Barack Obama of “partisan posturing” on the issue of lobbying ethics reform . . . “I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable,” McCain, R.-Ariz., wrote in a letter to Obama, D-Ill., Monday. “Thank you for disabusing me of such notions.”

Thus, Obama's problems are self inflicted. He is a fundamentally weak candidate with a few superficial strengths. He has tried to ride the wave of his utopian and meaningless rhetoric - but that only went so far before McCain started pointing out the obvious, that the emporer had no clothes. On specific issues, Obama pretty much has no identifiable positions or the positions he does hold, once identified, are disclaimed as the need arises. Again here, McCain has done little more than point out the obvious, often with a bit of humor.

Obama's response has been to "fight back" against the McCain onslaught. We seem to be getting a taste of that in Obama's speech to the VFW and his latest deeply dishonest ad on the economy now playing in the swing states.

Obama's fighting back against McCain at the VFW was to simply demand that McCain stop being critical of Obama. In essence, it was Obama's attempt to paint any criticism of himself as being an attack on his patriotism. I suspect this will work as well as Obama's attempts to paint any criticism of him as being racially motivated. This from the WSJ:

Speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars this morning, Barack Obama delivered an amazing show of chutzpah. John McCain had addressed the VFW yesterday, and as the Associated Press reports, he was predictably critical of Obama:

McCain . . . said Obama "tried to legislate failure" in the Iraq war and had put his ambition to be president above the interests of the United States. He said the Illinois senator did this by pushing for a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq and by voting in the Senate against a major appropriations bill to help fund the troop increase.

Here is Obama's reply:

"One of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can't disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism. I have never suggested that Sen. McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interest. Now, it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same. . . ."

Of course, if Obama were to accuse McCain of picking his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition, everyone would laugh, because it obviously is not true. By contrast, there is quite a bit of evidence that Obama has placed political expediency above national security . . .

In politics one often hears the charge of hypocrisy: My opponent criticizes me for X, but he has done Y, which is just as bad or worse. Obama's argument here, though, is roughly opposite in form. He concedes that McCain is above reproach on this particular subject and therefore demands that McCain treat him as if he were beyond reproach. Obama's acknowledgment of a McCain virtue is well and good, but it does not mitigate or excuse his own shortcoming.

Powerline also does an exceptional deconstruction of Obama's VFW speech and his attempt to cloak himself from criticism under the rubric of patriotism. It is not Obama's patriotism that is suspect, its his judgment and his willingness to put his ambition over the best interests of the country.

In the swing states, Obama is running ads that amount to cutting and splicing, taking quotes out of context and taking statements McCain made assessing the economy from a time before the economy went into its current rough patch. This from the NYT:

In Philadelphia; East Lansing, Mich.; Green Bay, Wis.; and at least five other major cities, Mr. Obama is heavily showing an advertisement contrasting a statement by Mr. McCain that “we have had a pretty good, prosperous time with low unemployment,” with appearances by people making statements like, “The prices of gas are up; the prices of milk are up.” . . .

Here is's take on the ad:

"An Obama ad uses dated and out of context quotes to portray McCain as clueless on the economy.


Obama's campaign is running a TV ad in Indiana that asks the question: "How can John McCain fix the economy, when he doesn't think it's broken?" But the ad uses quotes from McCain that are old and taken out of context:

The ad shows McCain saying, "I don't believe we're headed into a recession." But McCain said that in January, and he also acknowledged at the time that the American economy was in "a rough patch."

The ad then shows McCain saying in April, "[T]here's been great progress economically." But the quote is lifted from a much longer response; McCain went on to say that the "progress" made during Bush's tenure still wouldn't console American families who are facing "tremendous economic challenges."

The third quote from McCain, "[W]e have had a pretty good prosperous time, with low unemployment," also comes from January. In his full response, McCain went on to say "things are tough right now."

So, at any rate, to return to the initial quote from Obama, no, we, like John McCain, really do not have any idea what we are up against in Obama. We do not know what he stands for. But we do know that he is trying every card in the book to deflect all criticism by delegitimizing it as impermissibly motivated. We do know that he is governed first and foremost by ambition. We do know he has a history of close association with radicals. We do know that he is fundamentally dishonest and hypocritical. We do know that he is ducking and running from any real debates with McCain. Is there anything else we really need to know to round out the picture before November?

No comments: