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Obama’s Credibility Gap –Large and Growing

Sunday, August 17, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

One of the great aspects of the new blog/feed put together by Peter Robinson and Rob Long is that it allows for a quick survey of all the recent blog posts from the collected center-right authors, which in turn allows for a consensus to reveal itself pretty quickly.

The consensus on yesterday’s forum at Saddleback Valley Community Church is that Senator McCain had an exceptional night, that Rick Warren pulled off a very difficult job, and that Senator Obama was smooth as usual except for his “above my pay grade” gaffe, which is one of those phrases that will stick and hurt.

Obama also had on display yesterday a very troubling slipperiness that is increasingly defining him. The senator has tried, somewhat successfully for the time being, to slip away from his associations with Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.

He has also managed to slip into a “reformer” shtick that has zero connection to his hyper-partisan voting record.

But yesterday he tried to slip past at least two issues on which such obfuscation shouldn’t work –same sex marriage and Senate ethics reform.

My point here is not to argue the policy positions Obama takes, but to point out his firm denial of his real positions on both issues. He flat out distorted his positions, and did so without even an arched eye-brow from the MSM.

The transcripts of the interviews are here. (HT: Red County).

Obama’s distortion of events with regards to Senate ethics reform came up when Rick Warren asked for “an example of when you went against party loyalty and maybe even against your own best interest for the good of America?”

Obama replied:

Well, 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 both Democrats and Republicans sort of like the status quo and I was new to the Senate and it didn’t necessarily engender a lot of popularity when I started saying, you know, we are 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, McDonalds?” and I thought, well, actually, a lot of opur constituents probably do eat at McDonald’s so that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I think we were able to get a bill passed that hasn’t made Washington perfect but at least it [is] moving things forward.

Put aside the cloying identification with the McDonald’s customers and the wonderfully convenient story of the unnamed senator’s cravenness, and just focus on the facts. Recall, Obama cited McCain here as his cover for acting in a bipartisan or non-partisan fashion. The detailed account of this “teamwork” from David Freddoso’s new book –pp. 97-99, puts the lie to Obama’s account. In fact Obama approached McCain and “promised to work with him seriously on a bipartisan lobbying and ethics reform package,” in February 2006. After some work “McCain thought they had an agreement.” Freddoso continues:

Then Obama’s party leaders took him aside and set him straight. They had an election plan, and they weren’t about to have [Obama] ruin that by working on both sides of the aisle to accomplish something substantive in 2006.

Freddoso then reprints the account of the Obama double-cross reported by Marc Ambinder, then working for the highly respect National Journal. Obama sent McCain a letter backing out of the effort.. McCain responded with a blistering rebuke.

“I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable,” McCain responded. “[T]hank you for disabusing me of such notions.”

No matter what one thinks of the merits of the Obama flip-flop, for him to cite his work with John McCain on Senate reform as the best example of his willingness to work against party and self-interest is more than just oily. It is deeply deceptive.

As was Obama’s response to Warren’s question on marriage.

“I am not somebody who promotes same sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions,” Obama flatly stated.

Here’s a July 1 blog post from Democracy for America on Obama’s position on California’s Proposition 8, the marriage amendment on November’s ballot:

In a letter read to a gathering of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club on Sunday, Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama reaffirmed his opposition to ballot measures that propose to take away the freedom to marry for lesbian and gay couples, including California’s Proposition 8.

This is a tremendous boost to our campaign.

We applaud Barack Obama for his consistent opposition to Proposition 8, the California initiative which would mandate that lesbian and gay couples be treated differently under the California Constitution. We agree with Senator Obama that all people should be treated equally under the law. Senator Obama and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger join millions of Californians who are speaking out against Proposition 8 and standing up in favor of protecting fundamental freedoms.

Please forward this message to all of your friends. Urge them to sign our pledge to Vow to Vote No on Prop 8 today!


Dale Kelly Bankhead
Campaign Manager
No on 8, Equality For All

Obama lacked the courage to acknowledge his position on Proposition 8 and its centrality to the campaign for same sex marriage not just in California but across the United States.

Obama’s casual deceptions are rarely commented on by MSM as its various arms work overtime to facilitate Obama’s role as the reforming, non-partisan centrist.

In fact, he’s from the way left wing of the Democratic party and has never worked across the aisle on any major initiative, and he regulalry refuses to honestly explain his long held positions. McCain’s straight-forward, direct answers to all questions yesterday may have even been more powerful in stark contrast to the rambling, serial filibusters delivered by Obama, and McCain’s answers did not attempt to distort key positions to curry the favor of the audience. As the campaign moves forward, McCain continue to be well served by candor, and Obama will continue to have to rely of distortion and his friendly dupes in the Fourth Estate.

It is an advantage to be able to say what you truly believe and to be comfortable defending the positions you have actually taken, which means it is an advantage for McCain.

UPDATE: Obama’s dissembling on abortion and the Born Alive Infant Protection Bill is now so completely documented that even the Obama campaign is admitting that Obama’s past statements on the subject have been misleading:

Indeed, Mr. Obama appeared to misstate his position in the CBN interview on Saturday when he said the federal version he supported “was not the bill that was presented at the state level.”

His campaign yesterday acknowledged that he had voted against an identical bill in the state Senate, and a spokesman, Hari Sevugan, said the senator and other lawmakers had concerns that even as worded, the legislation could have undermined existing Illinois abortion law. Those concerns did not exist for the federal bill, because there is no federal abortion law.

And be sure to read about the ongoing cover-up of Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, as detailed by NRO’s Stanley Kurtz.

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