The article raised serious questions about Obama’s judgment and truthfulness, and his less then impressive record within the Senate.
There’s no doubt that Obama is an incredible orator and showman and not since President John F. Kennedy’s impassioned “Ask not what your country can do for you” speech, have I witnessed such an outpouring of devotion for a politician, and perhaps that’s the dilemma Obama finds himself in.
While his core base of black and predominately young liberal and affluent white voters are solidly behind Obama’s candidacy. The silent and yet uncommitted independent blue-collar voters, those Reagan Democrats, hold the key to the election, and while Obama claims to be “a citizen of the world”, those “bitter” voters who “cling to their religion” will have the final say, come this November.
Obviously, Obama would rather hold scripted and media friendly events, rather then debate McCain around the country in town-hall venues, as was suggested by the Arizona Senator. My sense is that Obama feels debating McCain in a town-hall style venue and fielding questions from average citizens, is a lot more risky, then taking questions from the media elite, who overwhelmingly favor his candidacy, and will do almost anything to portray him in a favorable light.
A case in point; was his recent world tour, which had an almost “rock star aura” about it, so much so, that all three anchors from each of the networks traveled with Obama to report his every move. In Germany Obama felt compelled to emulate his idol JFK and I suspect begrudgingly Ronald Reagan. His “I am a citizen of the world” speech drew almost 200,000 admiring fans, and by all media accounts an international success. The tour of course was calculated and designed to showcase Obama as a potential world leader.
However, unlike his two predecessors Obama’s economic and foreign polices are more in line with that of President Jimmy Carter, rather then JFK or Ronald Reagan. Both JFK and Reagan believed in a strong and viable military, both believed in the reduction of tax rates, as a means to improve the economic health of a nation, ironically both came from a different prospective, a different ideology, and of course different parties. Yet both JFK and Ronald Reagan understood the fundamental principles, in how to govern a nation successfully.
If anything, the tour helped to underscore the uneasiness felt by many Americans towards Obama’s quest for the presidency, while the mainstream media and his core base, celebrated Obama’s world tour. Many independent voters had a somewhat different view, and the polls soon mirrored their feelings, a staggering 30% had a negative take of Obama’s journey abroad.
While an overwhelming number of independent voters felt that a fact finding tour by a sitting senator and presidential candidate was not only appropriate, but indeed a long time in coming, since Obama had never visited the Middle East. Those same independent voters however, felt the speech in Germany, was a bit presumptuous, and tinged with an air of arrogance, not a good mix for an inexperienced “wanna be”…and thus the dilemma.
Surprisingly, and perhaps because of his world tour, the poll numbers since Obama’s return back the US, have actually tightened in Senator McCain’s favor, astoundingly both candidates are now in a dead heat.
I say “astoundingly” because given the media frenzy and dare I say “bios” and the millions and millions of dollars pouring into the Obama campaign and the utter hate of President Bush by the fringed and loony left. Not to mention the lackluster performance of Senator McCain, Obama should by all accounts be at least 10-points ahead of his rival. Yet he’s not, the question then is, why?
Obviously, Obama has a credibility problem, he’s simple not believable among the voters that count, the 20% that will decide this election. His youthful inexperience, his feeble excuses on the Reverend Wright issue and his emerging condescending arrogance in both manner and style have helped undermine his candidacy.
His foolish and dare I say stupid attempt to portray himself in public, as “The Commander in Waiting” by using a mocked up version of what appeared to be a likeness of the Presidential Seal, only highlights the obvious, that style over substance doesn’t play well to those yet uncommitted voters.
McCain’s recent mocking portrayal of Obama’s celebrity status apparently hit a sensitive nerve within the Obama camp and within hours of the aired infamous TV spot, came the rapped fired response.
Obama, rather then ignore the McCain spot, played into it, by once again portraying himself as the victim; his foolish statement “in that he does not look like those presidents on the dollar and five-dollar bills” only helped reinforce what many uncommitted voters were thinking. That Obama cleverly alludes to race, leaving it to others to debate, as a distraction; from the real issue of whether he is fit to be president.
The McCain camp not to be out-gunned in the rapped fire exchanges, responded in kind, suggesting that the Obama camp was interjecting race within the campaign…and thus a new fire storm and perhaps another dilemma for Obama.
Unlike the primaries, the general election for Obama isn’t an adulation society, of likeminded voters. His record of accomplishments or lack- there-of will not be glossed over. His parceled explanations on his associations with Reverend Wright, and William "Bill" Ayers, will again be scrutinized. His pejorative and elitist remarks on a segment of white working class Americans will once again become a topic of conversation, and his ‘I don’t look like those presidents on dollar bills” comment will be viewed by many as a vale attempt to portray himself as a victim and McCain as a race baiter.
Obama, much like many liberal Ivy League Professors, speaks in the abstract, about the big picture. He resists being pinned down on facts and when confronted he leaves open enough wiggle room to change course. Of course once committed to a core principle a corner stone of his presidency he will not relinquish, as is the case with the successful surge in Iraq. Repeatedly Obama was asked about the current conditions in Iraq, and each time Obama parceled his words carefully, refusing to acknowledge what the world already knew…that the surge was indeed a success, and President Bush’s policy had finally paid off.
Astoundingly, the same inability to admit an error in judgment on the serge seems also to be in evidence in light of the current energy crises. Obama refuses to consider off shore drilling, and nuclear technology as part of a comprehensive energy policy, even though 70% of the populace now favors responsible off shore drilling.
Incredibly, in a recent town hall meeting Obama suggested that one way to combat the current energy crises was to have periodical tune-ups and the proper tire inflation. Of course, one can’t help but wonder how the mainstream media would have responded, if John McCain would have made such a ridicules remark.
Obama is not alone in his opposition to off shore drilling, his liberal Democratic colleagues, (who control the congress), refuse to bring this crucial issue to a simple “up” or “down” vote, and have actually gone off on a vacation.
In fairness to Obama, McCain has also changed his views on a several hot button issues, however, changing ones views should be predicated on principle and not simply politics or what is expedient. When Obama tried to “redefine” his Iraq policy recently, a segment of his core base, the radical left, immediately attacked him, for “selling out”. Within days of the controversy, Obama once again changed his views and realigned himself, back to his core base.
I stated in my opening remarks, that Senator Obama is a gifted and inspirational leader, and he has brought a new brand of politics to the mainstream. He has galvanized the young and disenfranchised, and has changed the political landscape, forever. However, the presidency requires more…much more then charisma and a great speech.
While Obama has brought inspiration, he lacks experience. One may argue that experience doesn’t necessarily make a sound leader, and that may indeed be true. However, void of experience, how else do we choose a leader?
Perhaps then, in judgment, there we can at least gauge Obama’s performance, and while each of us may view his performance differently, we can at least get a measure of the man, and that is my dilemma. I for one can brush aside the Reverend Wright fiasco, his poor choice of words in describing a segment of the populace, even his lack of experience; however, I cannot as a New Yorker, brush ‘side the aftermath of 9/11. For me the choice is clear.
It is by no shear happenstance that the carnage that took place on that faithful day has not revisited our shores and whether we agree with President Bush or not, that truth cannot be denied.
I have no idea what kind of president Obama may or may not make. However, I do know the history of John McCain, he’s been tested as few ever have, and while Senator Obama pretends to be a new kind of politician, John McCain has demonstrated through deeds, that he is…and no rewrite of history, flowerily speeches or trips aboard can change that.