Posted by Wordsmith on 29 October, 2008 at 11:08 am. 17 comments already!


“The notion that people don’t know who I am is a little hard to swallow. I’ve been running for president for the last two years. I’ve campaigned in 49 states. Millions of people have heard me speak at length on every topic under the sun. I’ve been involved now in 25 debates, going on my 26th. And I’ve written two books which any — everybody who reads them will say are about as honest a set of reflections by, at least, a politician as are out there.”
-Senator Obama in an interview with Charles Gibson

Supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama hold up a cardboard cutout of Obama at a campaign event at the Palm Beach Community College in Lake Worth, Florida October 21, 2008.

We know John McCain. We don’t know Barack Obama.

Peter Nicholas, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, wrote an interesting piece in yesterday’s Times on trying to get to know the man behind the image, spending 18 hour days on the campaign trail with the Illinois Senator. What comes across to him, is how well-disciplined Senator Obama is, making every word and action deliberate and calculated, with few instances of spontaneity. The mask is constantly kept on. Nicholas concludes:

First Clinton, then John McCain made the argument that Obama is someone we don’t really know. Obama’s supporters counter that we have his record in the U.S. and Illinois senates, two memoirs that reveal his inner thinking and a vast trove of public speaking. Ironically, those of us who were sent out to take his measure in person can’t offer much help in answering who he is, or if he is ready. The barriers set in place between us and him were just too great.

Obama detractors also argue that

we have his record in the U.S. and Illinois senates,

What has he even accomplished as a U.S. Senator, other than running for president within his first term? He said it himself in the Gibson interview, he’s been running for president for the last 2 years; that gives little time for the freshman senator to actually do his duties as a legislator.

Where is the evidence that he has ever “reached across the aisle” to accomplish any bipartisan legislation?

At the Saddleback Forum Debate back in August:

REV. WARREN: Can you give me a good example of where you went against party loyalty and maybe even went against your own best interest for the good of America.

SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I’ll give you an example that in fact I worked with John McCain on, and that was the issue of campaign ethics reform and finance reform. That wasn’t probably in my interest or his, for that matter, because the truth was that both Democrats and Republicans sort of like the status quo. And I was new to the Senate, and it didn’t necessarily then engender a lot of popularity when I started saying, you know, we’re going to eliminate meals and gifts from corporate lobbyists. I remember one of my colleagues, whose name will be unmentioned, who said, well, where do you expect us to eat, McDonald’s?

That’s a completely dishonest account by the resume-padding Senator from Illinois.

Obama claimed that “I worked with John McCain” on ethics legislation. In fact, the two worked together for barely a week, after which McCain accused Obama of “partisan posturing” and added, “I won’t make the same mistake again.” McCain later voted against the ethics bill that Obama supported, stating that it was written by Democrats with “no input” from Republicans.

Here is the letter McCain sent to Obama.

Resume-padding doesn’t stand up to even light scrutiny:

Very little has been made of two instances, reported last month by the Washington Post, where Mr Obama exaggerated his role in legislative accomplishments. When a bipartisan attempt was made to reform America’s immigration policy, Mr Obama claimed to be one of the senators who in 2006 “had to wake up early to try to hammer this stuff out.” If it were true, it would’ve boosted his repuation as a uniter of Republicans and Democrats. But miffed Senate staffers say Mr Obama never attended the critical early morning negotiating sessions where the bill was hammered out. And he played an even smaller role when the issue was re-visited in 2007—after showing up late for a meeting he was even upbraided by Ted Kennedy.

More recently, when referring to housing legislation unveiled this year, Mr Obama called it “the legislation I put forward with my colleague Chris Dodd”. Mr Dodd, an Obama supporter, may be too kind to say so, but this simply isn’t accurate. Mr Obama backed the measure, as did Mrs Clinton, but he did not author or sponsor the legislation, which is to say he didn’t put it forward anymore than Mrs Clinton did.

In yet another instance Mr Obama claimed to have passed a bill on nuclear regulation that never made it out of the Senate.

“two memoirs that reveal his inner thinking”

Hugh Hewitt played the audio tapes
, Dreams from My Father, read by Senator Obama himself. It is worth noting that the book was published in 1998 and mentions Frank Marshall Davis. But the audio version was recorded in 2005, after Senator Obama entered public office, and any mention of Frank Davis, an early influence and mentor in Obama’s life, is conspicuously made absent. Another one of those things that makes you go, “Hmmmm…..?”

“and a vast trove of public speaking”.

The problem with this, is that things he’s said in public that could be most damaging to his bid for the presidency is either suppressed by the media, or does not receive the frontpage splash headline news and wide-circulation it might warrant. As Senator Obama likes to say, any of this kind of negative coverage that questions his character and judgment are “distractions”. “Talk about the issues“. And a fawning media is all but happy to comply and rewrite the narrative so that Joe “the Plumber” is the one whose character is under scrutiny, as if that in itself is not the real distraction from the validity of the question and the moment of candor in Senator Obama’s response. It was a window into his soul; a glimpse into how he truly feels and thinks behind the carefully crafted image of a centrist.

Public records have been made inaccessible:

a large cache of documents housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), is likely to flesh out the story. That document cache contains the internal files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The records in question are extensive, consisting of 132 boxes, containing 947 file folders, a total of about 70 linear feet of material. Not only would these files illuminate the working relationship between Obama and Bill Ayers, they would also provide significant insight into a web of ties linking Obama to various radical organizations, including Obama-approved foundation gifts to political allies. Obama’s leadership style and abilities are also sure to be illuminated by the documents in question.

Unfortunately, I don’t yet have access to the documents. The Special Collections section of the Richard J. Daley Library agreed to let me read them, but just before I boarded my flight to Chicago, the top library officials mysteriously intervened to bar access. Circumstances strongly suggest the likelihood that Bill Ayers himself may have played a pivotal role in this denial.

What we don’t know:

1. Occidental College records — Not released
2. Columbia College records — Not released
3. Columbia Thesis paper — “not available”
4. Harvard College records — Not released
5. Selective Service Registration — Not released
6. Medical records — Not released
7. Illinois State Senate schedule — “not available”
8. Law practice client list — Not released
9. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate — Not released
10. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth — Not released
11. Harvard Law Review articles published — None
12. University of Chicago scholarly articles — None

Yet, somehow we’re supposed to know Barack Obama….

The Jerusalem Post

Obama, in fact, has held some major job titles which are noteworthy all by themselves: United States Senator, Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, Harvard Law Review President-each of these titles puts him in rarefied company. Tack on a few Illinois State Senate terms, and his resume actually appears solid. Yet, in spite of these prestigious positions, Obama has increasingly resorted to making claims of accomplishment that are so patently inflated that even his cheerleaders at CNN and the New York Times are taking notice. Why?

It seems that Obama recognizes that while his résumé titles are impressive, his actual accomplishments are weak.

Who is the real Senator Barack Obama? I only know enough to believe that he is wrong for the country.

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