Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Issues Obama Won't Flip-Flop On

When Barack Obama entered the presidential race, much was made of his unusual political savvy. He represented a new era in politics, his racial background heralded a new post-racial moment, and he stood for a radical change from the old politics. As the race wore on, the accolades became more and more absurd—Ezra Klein suggested that he had a nigh-Godlike rhetorical style, while Michael Morlock called him a “Lightworker” who could harness positive energy. He was supposed to be the next Roosevelt, a man who could redraw the political map and change the face of the country forever.

Of course, no politician could live up to the hype around Obama, and few informed people thought that he would be the agent of radical change that the media suggested he was. However, most people did expect that he would display an above average sense of political judgment, one that would allow him to feel out where the American people stood on important issues, and sell himself accordingly.

He hasn’t displayed much political discernment, though, and that is simply staggering. It is not as if he is running against a popular incumbent—in fact, the opposite is true. Disagreeing with GOP policies is like shooting fish in a barrel, and there are more than enough issues where the public is disgusted with the Republican party—corruption, pork barrel spending, the economy, the handling of the Iraq War, and fuel prices are just a few.

The two most important such issues are the Iraq War and fuel prices, and somehow, Obama has managed to get himself on the wrong side of both. (Perhaps it is an exaggeration to say that Obama is on the “wrong side” of the Iraq War, but it would be hard to say he is on the right side of the issue). Just as the surge’s effectiveness became fully apparent, Obama came to Iraq and instantly starting downplaying its success. Sure, the surge may have reduced violence, but everybody knew it would do that (before the surge, Obama said that it would not decrease violence), and what about its utility in allowing Iraqis to take over their country? (I would assume not having a bunch of terrorists running around is a key step to an Iraqi takeover of the government).

Apart from the fact that Obama’s Iraq position is stupid, it also displays an odd and uncharacteristic streak of stubbornness. Why can’t Obama simply admit that the surge worked? He could still push for a quick pullout, and he would appear much less John Kerryequese to voters concerned with his foreign policy expertise.

Iraq isn’t the biggest political issue anymore—the economy in general, and fuel prices in particular, are. And Obama has completely bungled the energy issue as well. Sixty percent of the nation wants to see more domestic oil drilling. Over half want to see drilling in ANWR (and yes, I’m aware that McCain opposes drilling in ANWR as well). Barack Obama’s energy plan? Tire gauges.

Okay, there is more to his plan than that, but Obama’s strange insistence that checking tire pressure would save as much oil as offshore drilling would produce sums up his energy policy. That claim is debatable—the Energy Information Administration report Obama cites assumes no offshore drilling will be done until 2012, and has been very wrong in many of its predictions.

But even if we assume that Obama is correct, is there any benefit to insisting that the answer to our oil problem consists in proper car maintenance? Whatever the truth is, offshore drilling sounds right, and tire gauges don’t seem like the answer to our energy needs. Is there any reason for Obama not to support offshore drilling as part of a comprehensive energy plan?

(Obama recently expressed some support for off-shore drilling, but his support is so filled with caveats as to be meaningless. He would support “limited” drilling, and only after oil companies look for oil on every scrap of land to which they have access).

It is not as if Obama is so steadfast and honest that the very idea of switching positions for political purposes is anathema to him. He vowed to accept public funding if his opponent would, then ran away from his promise. He vowed to oppose the FISA bill to the hilt, but eventually voted for it. Obama promised to renegotiate NAFTA; he later admitted his rhetoric was “overheated.” Few care much about those issues, but Obama changed his position to entice those relatively few voters who did. But on the two issues all voters do care about, Obama is steadfast as a rock in his unpopular stands. And for Republicans, that’s a good thing.


At August 7, 2008 at 4:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it Just Me? Am I seeing double?
Or is this blog here twice? Or maybe you just want to get your point across very badly
Either it's that or you or I have a problem with our

At August 7, 2008 at 7:52 AM , Anonymous charlie16 said...

McCain is always thinking, he doesn't sit still and have his people talk for him........ He is a real people person. His greatest skill is when he sees dishonor in the form of dishonoring the American people or abuse by politicians he will go after it. He has a proven track record of fighting corruption in both parties. He has a true humility about himself. He is about others, not himself. And, he refuses to use his own family to boost his candidacy. Especially his children.

Obama, by contrast is weak. He hasn’t any accomplishments.. He's all about everyone liking him and yes, playing that old familia race care that we see al the black politicians do these days.

I see the conservatives in crisis. The conservatives are too wedded to Reagan. The world has changed and conservatives have been standing still and not changed along with the modern times.
Obama is a product of political expediency. He joined the Chicago church that Michelle and her family belonged to and used it for his local political ambitions.
The writing is on the wall. More than 75% over the American people want more drilling. McCain has shifted his stance on more drilling. That's being flexible. McCain voted against the Bush energy bill in 2005. Obama voted for it. Interesting, considering it is Obama ridiculing McCain as though he is the one with the evil Big Oil support.
The point isn't that these folks (other than Mr. Clinton) have something to apologize for, or that these firms are somehow more "deserving" of windfall tax extortion than Big Oil. The point is that what constitutes an abnormal profit is entirely arbitrary. It is in the eye of the political beholder, who is usually looking to soak some unpopular business. In other words, a windfall is nothing more than a profit earned by a business that some politician dislikes. And a tax on that profit is merely a form of politically motivated expropriation."

Today, as I filled my gas tank as part of potential hurricane preparation, the price was $4.25 per gallon. That was regular unleaded . I conserve the old fashioned way and for the old fashioned reason - good for the environment and good for my wallet. I don't need daddy Obama to tell me how to run my life, thanks. And I don't need Obama to tell me about the air in my tires. Voters are smarter than that.

I am a Republican, and as the two great political parties (Republican and Conservative) are divided, I must tell and warn my Conservative friends that they have to wake up to reality. If the choice we have is Barack Obama or John Mccain, there really isn’t any choice but to support John Mccain.

At August 7, 2008 at 8:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its time people stopped the biased reporting about the Obama campaign! Does Oprah own CNN or MSNBC? Obama has been attacked since this Rev Wright thing started by ALL the media. Obama is and has continued to be a strong, intelligent, completely capable leader with compassion and conviction, she makes me glad to be a liberal I’m ashamed of Edwards for damaging his own party, that is why McCain is gaining in the polls. All this playing with oprah will put a republican in the White House for certain. PEOPLE OF AMERICA, THIS IS OUR TIME! STAND UP AND BE COUNTED, THERE IS NO LIMITS. Let the media say what they will about Obama , it’s solely because he is a strong person and that scares men like McCain and Edwards. My Dear Grandmother is 86 and my daughter is 10, both are extremely excited that a black man can be President of this great country. My daughter asks why has a Black has never been elected before, because White men didn’t allow it. I urge all voters to really look at the issues and this country and vote for Obama Keep in mind all media outlets are selling papers and trying to attract viewers, they love nothing more than candidates going after each other, when WE THE VOTER do not like it at all, I still believe that any of the democrats running are good candidates, I truly feel Obama has the clout with foreign countries and that is what we need ASAP. I do not feel confident that Mccain’s trashing will help him. We already see voters joking and the NeoCons fighting among themselves. . Obama spoke well this weekend, as he did in Germany That is very good for this country. Stick together and let’s make history for our Country Let’s ALL THE COURAGEOUS MEN AND WOMAN GET RID THIS USELESS BUSH/CHENEY ADMINISTRATION and their useless WAR!

At August 7, 2008 at 12:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, I am disappointed in you. I had thought you where above these sorts of childish games but you proved me wrong.
It just goes to show that those who are weak in debate cannot be rational and must resort to subversion to prevent reasoned debate. It's apparently no longer enough to simply bury their posts from where they would be seen but to prevent them from being seen by posting them on another blog. Its sad, but it only reflects on who these folks truly are. But I won’t dignify you by posting on YOUR irrelevant little blog board.
As Ann Coulter has shown us she really isn't the sharpest knife in the draw, but a

Hypocritical Conservative blogger just like you are. You Ultra Cons should be ashamed for having given Coulter a pass for all of these years? Why is it that they've suddenly discovered Christian and/or Family and/or Human Values? Will you and the rest of you conservatives be issuing an apologies for enabling such a vile person for all this time, and is your other hero Rush to be the next to fall!

At August 7, 2008 at 2:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel, I'm sorry for using your blog as a battlefield.
If this Beth woman truly cares about her country, she should stop brainwashing the puplic.
Stop thinking with suspicion that all gays are Pedophiles, that all Muslims are lunatics out to kill all Americans, tha all Corporations are crooks, and that everything we eat and drink in this environment is toxic.
I learned a long time ago that for me the best way to deal with the intolerance of a Conservative was to not be bullied away from my beliefs. Also not be bullied into arguments. I'll often tell people that I don't agree with whatever crap they're spouting.
But i think it's time to leave your blog to you and your Conservative friends.
If Big bad beth wants to hash it out with me (and I'll be delighted to) let her come to my blog and do so.

Thank you for your hospitality and for tolerating me in the past.
See you at

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