A few news articles frame the story better than I could:
Barack Obama made it official today: He has decided to forego federal matching funds for the general election, thereby allowing his campaign to raise and spend as much as possible.
By so doing, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee becomes the first candidate to reject public funds for the general election. The current system was created in 1976 in reaction to the Watergate scandal.
In a video e-mail sent to supporters, Obama said he was opting out of public financing because the system “is broken, and we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system.”
The nastiest liars have always have that extra little bit of sheer chutzpah that allows them to blame the other guy for why they break their promises. “Ignore the fact that I am openly going back on my promise. Somehow it’s my opponent’s fault. You really should understand that I am the victim here.”
Just 12 months ago, Senator Barack Obama presented himself as an idealistic upstart taking on the Democratic fund-raising juggernaut behind Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
That was when Mr. Obama proposed a novel challenge aimed at limiting the corrupting influence of money on the race: If he won the nomination, he would limit himself to spending only the $85 million available in public financing between the convention and Election Day as long as his Republican opponent did the same.
When Obama was the guy who wasn’t raising all the campaign contribution dough, he was high-and-mighty hoity-toity self-righteous in trying to get everyone to agree to limit their fund raising so he could compete with the big boys.
In November 2007, Obama answered “Yes” to Common Cause [and to a questionnaire by the Midwest Democracy Network] when asked “If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?”
Obama wrote: “In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”
Not so “aggressively,” according to the McCain campaign, which argues that Obama did not discuss this or try to negotiate at all with the McCain campaign, despite writing that he would “aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”
Michael Dobbs, the Washington Post‘s esteemed Fact Checker, wrote, “Obama’s affirmative answer to the Midwest Democracy Network seems unequivocal,” Dobbs writes. “Now that Obama is raising $1 million a day, his enthusiasm for public financing appears to have waned.”
Barack Obama isn’t just a hypocritical liar; he’s a self-righteous hypocritical liar, which is the very worst kind. It’s bad enough when someone breaks his promises, but when he does it with a smarmy “holier-than-thou” attitude, that’s when you know you’ve got the rarest breed of demagogue on your hands.
This isn’t the first time Barack Obama has promised one thing, and then done the complete opposite. The man began his presidential run by breaking his promise, as a transcript from Meet the Press reveals:
MR. RUSSERT: Well, nine months ago, you were on this program and I asked you about running for president. And let’s watch and come back and talk about it.
(Videotape, January 22, 2006):
MR. RUSSERT: When we talked back in November of ‘04, after your election, I said, “There’s been enormous speculation about your political future. Will you serve your full six-year term as a United States senator from Illinois?” Obama: “Absolutely.”
SEN. OBAMA: I will serve out my full six-year term. You know, Tim, if you get asked enough, sooner or later you get weary and you start looking for new ways of saying things, but my thinking has not changed.
MR. RUSSERT: But, but—so you will not run for president or vice president in 2008?
SEN. OBAMA: I will not.
MR. RUSSERT: You will not.
Every politician does some flip flopping and reconsideration of formerly-held positions. Believe me, in his short political career, Barack Obama has accumulated a whopping load more than his fair share. But it’s one thing to change your position in the proverbial “flip flop,” and quite another thing to flat-out break your word. Doing the former shows you are responding to the changing nature of the political climate; doing the latter shows you are a bald-faced liar.
For example, had John McCain said of his earlier position not to allow offshore drilling, “I will never change my position on this. Count on it.” That would have been tantamount to a lie.
Barack Obama is a demonstrated, documented liar. The guy who began his career undermining a clearly more popular candidate by using every cheap tactic to get the signatures of voters thrown out is now cynically, deceitfully, and despicably presenting himself as the candidate of “hope” and “change.”
Let’s take a moment to look at some of Obama’s more famous recent flip flops.
We can remember Obama pledging that he would meet with leaders of the very worst regimes on earth without preconditions, and then subsequently “clarifying” his remarks with so many caveats and qualifications that his position became identical to the Bush-position which he had originally demonized in the first place.
We can remember Obama claiming that Iran didn’t pose a serious threat to the United States, to (when confronted with the stupidity of his view) saying “Iran is a grave threat. It has an illicit nuclear program. It supports terrorism across the region and militias in Iraq. It threatens Israel’s existence. It denies the Holocaust…”
Glenn Kessler wrote a story titled, “Obama Clarifies Remarks on Jerusalem“:
Facing criticism from Palestinians, Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged today that the status of Jerusalem will need to be negotiated in future peace talks, amending a statement earlier in the week that Jerusalem “must remain undivided.”
Obama, during a speech Wednesday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-israel lobbying group, had called for Jerusalem to become the site of the U.S. embassy, a frequent pledge for U.S. presidential candidates. (It is now in Tel Aviv.) But his statement that Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel drew a swift rebuke from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
If “clarifying your remarks” means saying the exact opposite thing to what one had said before, then I suppose we can say Obama “clarified.” But given the fact that he told a Jewish audience exactly what it wanted to hear, and then almost immediately afterward told an Arab audience exactly what it wanted to hear, I would use a different verb such as “pandered” and “lied.”
Considering the fact that there is a real probability that World War III will be fought over the status of Jerusalem, and considering that our next armed conflict will likely be with Iran, I dare say that these “flip flips” are NOT trivial issues. He has repeatedly trivialized the most important issues of our time with his back-tracking and pandering nonsense.
Doing a google search, I quickly found other flip-flops, some big, some little:
1. Special interests In January, the Obama campaign described union contributions to the campaigns of Clinton and John Edwards as “special interest” money. Obama changed his tune as he began gathering his own union endorsements. He now refers respectfully to unions as the representatives of “working people” and says he is “thrilled” by their support.
2. Public financing Obama replied “yes” in September 2007 when asked if he would agree to public financing of the presidential election if his GOP opponent did the same. Obama has now attached several conditions to such an agreement, including regulating spending by outside groups. His spokesman says the candidate never committed himself on the matter.
3. The Cuba embargo In January 2004, Obama said it was time “to end the embargo with Cuba” because it had “utterly failed in the effort to overthrow Castro.” Speaking to a Cuban American audience in Miami in August 2007, he said he would not “take off the embargo” as president because it is “an important inducement for change.”
4. Illegal immigration In a March 2004 questionnaire, Obama was asked if the government should “crack down on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.” He replied “Oppose.” In a Jan. 31, 2008, televised debate, he said that “we do have to crack down on those employers that are taking advantage of the situation.”
5. Decriminalization of marijuana While running for the U.S. Senate in January 2004, Obama told Illinois college students that he supported eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana use. In the Oct. 30, 2007, presidential debate, he joined other Democratic candidates in opposing the decriminalization of marijuana.
Believe me, this is a short list. One site I came across provides a long litany of lies, flip-flops, and disingenuous use of language. The author is clearly partisan, but he backed up his smack-talk with plenty of sourced research.
Apart from the sheer, vile, despicable nature of Barack Obama’s 23-year relationship with Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church – which offended me enough to get involved in politics – the thing that most bothers me about Barack Obama is that he has taken this above-it-all, lofty, holier-than-thou approach as the “new politician” when he is every bit the scheming, manipulating, lying, lowdown, snake-in-the-grass politician from the shadiest tradition of rotten Chicago politics.
Tags: Arabs, Barack Obama, campaign finance, federal matching funds, hypocrite, Iran, Jeremiah Wright, Jerusalem, Jews, John McCain, liar, other flip flops, promise, senate term, Trinity, without conditions