Enjoying the fireworks that has become the democratic primary, fireworks that I predicted back when I wrote Super Tuesday! Texas and Ohio Open A Can of Worms for Democrats, the Rev Wright fracas, and most recently bittergate, it was with delight that I settled in last night with a bowl of popcorn, eagerly awaiting a serving of Democrat on Democrat violence in the Pennsylvania debates.
As many who are familiar with my writings know, I am no fan of Barack Obama. I have tried to be open to him, I've given him a chance. But I just don't see what everyone is so crazy about. Supporters are quick to talk about his inspirational speeches, but I listen and listen and all I hear is a lot of negativity about where this country has been, doom and gloom regarding where we are heading, with the only solution forwarded being a bigger and more pervasive government (led by Obama) at the cost of higher taxes and less personal freedoms. Obamabots mention Obama's own claim to represent a new type of politics, yet his words and (what little) actions seem like the same old politics to me. As this primary race has become more contentious, Obama seems to be doing and saying anything he can to win office.
And last night was no different. I am sure I am the only one who wasn't impressed with his performance. I am positive that within a day or so, the media will describe Obama's masterful rise over Clinton in the Penn Debates, how the moderators cowered under the weight of his logic, and how his mere breath not only elevated the very spirits of those watching but also probably combated global warming for the supposed absence of hot air.
But in reality, it wasn't a great performance for Obama.
Obama lost every policy point to Clinton (although she missed various opportunities to really put the shiv in). He was defensive on almost all of the questions. The moderators, clearly sick of being lampooned on SNL, had taken the gloves off and started to ask Obama some of the tougher questions. Thank god.
First hardball question, his "explanation" for those rude and insensitive comments in San Francisco was lacking:
"And so the point I was making was that when people feel like Washington's not listening to them, when they're promised year after year, decade after decade, that their economic situation is going to change, and it doesn't, then politically they end up focusing on those things that are constant, like religion."
To the less critical, or those who already support Obama, this sounds like a great recovery. But in San Francisco, he didn't say "focus," he said "cling," as if religion were a mere crutch, as if guns were simply an outlet. By his comments, you'd only need guns or religion if your life was in the crapper. A line of logic that does not consider the many wealthy and yet religious or gun toting (or both) Americans that exist despite Obama's narrow characterizations.
It's fair to say that most people of faith follow religion not because they are upset or wanting, but because faith for them can be inspiring. And I may be going out on a limb here, but I suspect that the faithful follow their religion in times of good and bad.
The idea that the American people are "promised," decade upon decade, that the government is going to change their economic situation for them, is simply untrue, and belies a lack of understanding the concept of America's financial system, as well as it's realities.
As far as I know, and I've been an American all my life, there are no such promises being made to Americans. In this country, it's up to the individual to make decisions for the betterment of themselves and their own futures. And in terms of the realities of our economics, it's worth noting that unemployment continues to remain below what in the 1990s was considered "full employment," at a mere 4.8%. Obamaniacs are quick to try and cloud this point by talking about income disparity. "We have greater income disparity in this country than we've seen since the first year of the Great Depression," Obama recently said at a speech in Wisconsin. But these exhortations don't account for the reality that many who are considered poor by today's standards, don't tend to stay within their income bracket. According to Thomas Sowell's article on BNET:
"An absolute majority of the people who were in the bottom 20% in 1975 have also been in the top 20% at some time since then. Most Americans don't stay put in any income bracket. At different times, they are both "rich" and "poor"-as these terms are recklessly thrown around in the media. Most of those who are called "the rich" are just middle-class people whose taxes the politicians avoid cutting by giving them that name.
So the thing Obama "meant" to say in San Francisco was nonsense, based on a premise that is inaccurate. Still waiting to hear this new kind of politics. Obama goes on to say:
"They end up feeling "This is a place where I can find some refuge. This is something that I can count on." They end up being much more concerned about votes around things like guns, where traditions have been passed on from generation to generation. And those are incredibly important to them.
And yes, what is also true is that wedge issues, hot-button issues, end up taking prominence in our — in our politics. And part of the problem is that when those issues are exploited, we never get to solve the issues that people really have to get some relief on, whether it's health care or education or jobs."
It's worth noting that the constitution of this country gives the citizens the right to bear arms. The only party that is exploiting the "gun issue" is Obama's own. The Assault Weapons Ban is a perfect example, D.C.s total ban on handguns is another effort by Obama's own party to exploit the gun issue. And Obama himself signed a questionnaire favoring a total ban on handguns in his jurisdiction. Crime has gone down since the AWB expired, and although handguns are banned in DC, it still remains a high crime area. Who is doing the exploiting exactly?
Speaking as an American, one who is prosperous, and one who owns several guns, I can attest that being a gun owner is a source of pride for me. Not just because I have a really nice collection of firearms (which I do :>), but also because it's a reminder that I live in a country where citizens are trusted and respected. Owning a gun has increased my appreciation for the freedoms that we are given in this country. The experience has made me even more law abiding, and respectful of the job that our police and military perform on our behalf each day. It's highly offensive, and inaccurate to suggest that I own a gun because I need something to cling to. Or even "focus on." In a word, pedantic.
In terms of religiously motivated hot button issues, for a politician who claims to represent a new way of politics, claiming that the views of those who disagree with his platforms are merely being exploitative sounds rather dismissive to me. Perhaps people of faith have a reason for feeling the way they do, not motivated by their financial situation?
And this is why Obama's comments weren't merely misspeak. This is why so many find what he said to be offensive, and why it really doesn't matter what he claims to have meant since then. Regardless of the conditions of his upbringing, this man is out of touch. But the problems in Obama's debate performance do not end there.
Moderator Charles Gibson asked Obama what he knew and when he knew it, about Rev. Wright's views given that a year earlier, Obama rescinded Wright's invite to a political gathering because Obama felt that Wright "can get kind of rough in sermons. So what we've decided is that it's best for you not to be out there in public." Transcript follows:
SENATOR OBAMA: Well, let me just respond to — to two things. Absolutely many of these remarks were objectionable. I've already said that I didn't hear them, because I wasn't in church that day. I didn't learn about those statements until much later.
MR. GIBSON: But you did rescind the invitation to him –
SENATOR OBAMA: But that was on — that was on something entirely different, Charlie. That — that was on a different statement. And I think that what Senator Clinton referred to was extremely offensive, to me and a lot of people.
"Wasn't in church that day? That was on a different statement?" I've given better excuses for not bringing my homework into grade school. Here is where it gets even more cringe-worthy:
"And, you know, the notion that somehow that the American people are going to be distracted once again by comments not made by me but by somebody who is associated with me, that I have disowned, I think doesn't give the American people enough credit.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: You've disowned him?
SENATOR OBAMA: The comments, comments that I've disowned. Then that is not something that I think…. (interrupted by moderator)
Next up, Obama promised to raise taxes on only those evil rich people earning more than $250,000 a year. But when pressed on specifics, he also admitted that he would remove the cap on social security withholdings, representing a new tax on anyone earning more than $97,000 a year.
On the question of Iran and how he'd react as president to Israel being attacked, Obama was about as non-committal as I've ever heard from a politician. His Kerryesque response did little to reassure the many Jews who are already wondering where this man stands considering his willingness to engage with leaders like Iran's Ahmadinejad.
On the question of his refusal to wear a flag pin, Obama dithered. On the question regarding his prior agreement with McCain to accept public campaign financing only, an agreement he is currently not abiding by, Obama parsed and pointed fingers.
Is it me or is this not the candidate that so many claim him to be? To my reckoning, this is not a change agent, or a new kind of politician. This is not a uniter, or someone who is post-partisan. Obama is just another, dare I say, typical extreme left wing candidate.Powered by Sidelines