Richard Cohen, a man not known for his conservative beliefs, asks a important question in his editorial today at The WaPo:
“Just tell me one thing Barack Obama has done that you admire,” I asked a prominent Democrat. He paused and then said that he admired Obama’s speech to the Democratic convention in 2004. I agreed. It was a hell of a speech, but it was just a speech.
We’ve heard this kind of question before and each time its quite amusing to listen as the Obamamites hem and haw. Great speaker they utter. He’s a uniter they sputter. Nevermind the man has no experience other then being a community organizer. Nevermind the poor judgement he has shown in befriending terrorists, racists, and corrupt politicos. Nevermind his oft stated beliefs that are just an inch or two away from Marxism on the political philospophy dial.
John Gibson asks the question regularly. Most recently yesterday when he got into the fact that most Obama supporters are supporting him for no other reason other then his race?[audio:https://www.floppingaces.net/Audio/gibson072808.mp3]
That last caller towards the end of the audio is classic. He supports Obama over Hillary because he is more informed in foreign policy! Yeah….
One thing Obama seems to hang his hat on policy wise is his opposition to the war in Iraq. Cohen tackles this subject in his editorial:
Obama argues that he himself stuck to the biggest gun of all: opposition to the war. He took that position when the war was enormously popular, the president who initiated it was even more popular and critics of both were slandered as unpatriotic. But at the time, Obama was a mere Illinois state senator, representing the (very) liberal Hyde Park area of Chicago. He either voiced his conscience or his district’s leanings or (lucky fella) both. We will never know.
And we will never know, either, how Obama might have conducted himself had he served in Congress as long as McCain has. Possibly he would have earned a reputation for furious, maybe even sanctimonious, integrity of the sort that often drove McCain’s colleagues to dark thoughts of senatorcide, but the record — scant as it is — suggests otherwise. Obama is not noted for sticking to a position or a person once that position or person becomes a political liability.
All politicians change their positions, sometimes even because they have changed their minds. McCain must have suffered excruciating whiplash from totally reversing himself on George Bush’s tax cuts. He has denounced preachers he later embraced and then, to his chagrin, has had to denounce them all over again. This plasticity has a label: pandering. McCain knows how it’s done.
But Obama has shown that in this area, youth is no handicap. He has been for and against gun control, against and for the recent domestic surveillance legislation and, in almost a single day, for a united Jerusalem under Israeli control and then, when apprised of U.S. policy and Palestinian chagrin, against it. He is an accomplished pol — a statement of both admiration and a bit of regret.
Granted, Cohen wrote about his support of McCain because of issues that most conservatives don’t support him, but when liberals like Cohen are wondering just what Obama stands for, it doesn’t bode well for the Democrat party.
Karl at Protein Wisdom has some issues with Cohens editorial, specifically some of Obama’s “experience” that he overlooks:
As previously noted here, Obama’s public record is almost entirely undistinguished, so it is not as though Cohen could discover the same. Cohen might also have looked at Obama’s ineffectual efforts on public school reform in the 1980s and 1990s, especially given that Obama manages to get the issue of school choice exactly backward and is clinging to the failed policies of the past in this current campaign.
Cohen could also have looked at how Obama, as an ambitious pol, was so busy plotting his ascent that projects in addition to those education plans were not given follow-through or oversight. As a “community organizer,” Obama’s work at a housing project called Altgeld Gardens left a potholed trail of boarded-up buildings. As a state senator, his housing policies enriched donors like Valerie Jerrett and Tony Rezko, but spawned uninhabitable slum properties and homelessness in and around his district. As a Congressional candidate, his proposed Englewood Beautification Plan left “a field of unfulfilled dreams, strewn with weeds, garbage and broken pavement.” During his short tenure as a US Senator, Obama has failed to honor the pledges of assistance that he made to a Kenyan school named in his honor when he visited there amid great fanfare two years ago.