Saddleback Reveals Obama Party Ideologue, Not Courageous Change-Agent

Is Barack Obama a politician who has crossed party lines for the good of the country and who has demonstrated real courage? The short answer is absolutely not.

At the Saddlback Debate forum, Rick Warren asked Barack Obama the following question:

CAN YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF A TIME YOU KNOW A LOT — I’VE SEEN A LOT OF GOOD LEGISLATIONS GETS KILLED BECAUSE OF PARTY LOYALTY. CAN YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF WHERE YOU WIN AGAINST PARTY LOYALTY AND MAYBE EVEN WIN AGAINST YOUR OWN BEST INTEREST FOR THE GOOD OF AMERICA?

Obama’s answer is telling:

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 OR REPUBLICAN SOR 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’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? AND I THOUGHT WELL,ACTUALLY, A LOT OF OUR CONSTITUENTS PROBALBY DO EAT AT MCDONALD’S SO THAT WOULDN’T BE SUCH A BAD THING. BUT I THINK THAT WE WERE ABLE TO GET A BILL PASSED THAT HASN’T MADE WASHINGTON PERFECT BUT AT LEAST IT MOVING THINGS FORWARD.

I GUESS THE OTHER EXAMPLE FROM — I’M NOT SURE THIS WAS A MORE OF A PARTISAN ISSUE, BUT IT WAS SOMETHING THAT I FELT VERY DEEPLY WAS WHEN I OPPOSED THE INITIAL DECISION TO GO INTO WAR IN IRAQ. THAT WAS A NOT A POPULAR VIEW AT THE TIME AND I WAS JUST STARTING MY CAMPAIGN FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND I THINK THERE WERE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ADVISED ME, YOU SHOULD BE CAUTIOUS. THIS IS GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL. THE PRESIDENT HAS A VERY HIGH APPROVAL RATING AND YOU COULD END UP LOSING THE ELECTION AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS.

The McDonald’s line was pretty good, I have to admit.

But Barack Obama mentions his work with John McCain to pass campaign ethics reform as the evidence of his bi-partisanship, of his crossing party lines to do what was best for the country even at the risk of his own self-interests.

What he doesn’t tell us is that he started to work with John McCain, then stabbed him in the back before taking the doctrinaire Democrat position on the bill.

John McCain was furious at Obama’s betrayal, as a Time Magazine article would indicate:

“Perhaps the two most popular members of the Senate and their respective party’s’ leaders on ethics and lobbying reform, Barack Obama and John McCain, were engaged earlier this week in a highly personal tiff on the issue. Obama, being pushed by Senate Democratic leaders to use the lobbying reform issue to help attack the GOP as elections loom in November, last week sent a letter to McCain, saying Democrats would pursue their own ethics bill rather than joining a bill created by McCain’s bipartisan task force. In a letter this week, the Arizona Senator blasted Obama. “I’m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics,” McCain wrote, “I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble.”

So when Obama claimed this as a moment when he crossed the party divide at the Saddleback event, he was flat-out lying.

But that was all Obama – the most liberal US Senator in the country – had to offer as an example of his bi-partisanship. So he pumped some sunshine and described his decision to oppose the war in Iraq as a courageous example of a liberal going against the tide.

PLLLLLLEEEEEEEAAAAAASSSSSSSE!!!

First of all, Barack Obama was a near-meaningless Illinois State Senator when the Iraq War Resolution was debated and voted upon. His opposition to the war meant nothing and affected nothing. And, given the fact that he was representing one of the most liberal districts in the country, it was about as courageous of a decision as a San Francisco mayor supporting gay marriage.

Barack Obama’s fellow Democratic Illinois Senator – Dick Durbin – had voted against the war.

NPR had this to say:

Obama cites the speech as an example of his political courage, but David Mendell, author of Obama: From Promise to Power, says the address was not necessarily a risky move.

“I still don’t think it was an inordinate risk here in Illinois, where you have a very blue-state crowd,” Mendell said, adding, “I might take issue with just how risky it was.”

The anti-war speech that Barack Obama points to as representing such a risk was so blase that Bill Glauber, who covered the rally for the Chicago Tribune, didn’t even bother to quote it.

It was nothing more than a doctrinaire liberal taking a doctrinaire liberal position in a radically liberal voting district. Yawn.

But I should also point out that Obama has periodically hedged his Iraq position as circumstances warranted.

The LA Times had a piece titled “Obama did hedge his Iraq war position at times,” and cited a November 11, 2007 Obama interview on Meet the Press in which Tim Russert said:

RUSSERT: You were not in the Senate in October of 2002. You did give a speech opposing the war. But Sen. Clinton’s campaign will say since you’ve been a senator there’s been no difference in your record. And other critics will say that you’ve not been a leader against the war, and they point to this: In July of ’04, Barack Obama, “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don’t know,” in terms of how you would have voted on the war. And then this: “There’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage.” That was July of ’04. And this: “I think” there’s “some room for disagreement in that initial decision to vote for authorization of the war.” It doesn’t seem that you are firmly wedded against the war, and that you left some wiggle room that, if you had been in the Senate, you may have voted for it.

OBAMA: Now, Tim, that first quote was made with an interview with a guy named Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” during the (2004 Democratic National) convention when we had a nominee for the presidency and a vice president, both of whom had voted for the war. And so it probably was the wrong time for me to be making a strong case against our party’s nominees’ decisions when it came to Iraq.

The writer of the LA Times article then points out:

But wait. Wasn’t it Obama who’s been criticizing other Democrats, specifically Clinton, for triangulation, calculating quotes and saying different things to different audiences to avoid alienating any potential voters?

In short, let me state that both the historical record, and Barack Obama’s own words, reveal that Barack Obama has neither been a politician who has crossed party lines or who has exhibited political courage.

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