Monday, June 30, 2008

Is Obama's Pandering Starting to Skew Right?

I find it quite promising that the deification of Barack Obama is staring to wear off and that we can start to look at him as a presidential candidate and not as a political messiah. Don’t get me wrong, I’m for the man all the way, but I’ve got no affinity for spiked Kool-Aid. And two developments over the last few days—one of pandering, the other of a certain gutlessness—have made it easier to avoid gulping that nasty brew.

Obama’s repudiation of MoveOn.org—specifically their “General Betray-us” ad from last year—in a speech about patriotism this past weekend, is not sitting well with me right now. Not because I’m such a champion of the powerful, left-leaning, grass-roots-mobilizing political organization—they are one of many necessary, and efficient tools in the toolbox—but because Petraeus has been indeed a political shill for this administration, and they had the guts to say it and bring out into the open. And secondly, because of how vigorously and generously MoveOn.org has laid out their support for Sen. Obama. So he throws them under the bus, for what? To court potential conservative and so-called independent votes in his favor? Does anybody REALLY think this is going to win him votes? Please. People in this country have already decided who they are voting for—polls aside, who exactly that is we’ll find out on Nov 4th—and barring a decisive scandal to weigh down either campaign, or a terrorist attack, no one’s changing their minds. So the pandering is futile and fruitless. Period.

Now, this is the one that really irks me:

When (ret.) Gen. Wesley Clark stated on the Sunday talk shows that as honorable as John McCain’s military service was, it did not make him automatically qualified to be president, what part of that was erroneous, a smear, or a fabrication? And why did Obama feel the need to change the subject by having his aide Bill Burton affirm that Obama “honors and respects Senator McCain’s service, and of course he rejects yesterday’s statement by General Clark.”
Wait—why is respecting the man's sacrifice and questioning his capabilities as President based on that sacrifice, mutually exclusive? Especially if the candidate himself is relying on this part of his narrative to prop up his chances of winning the White House.

Listen, even I respect McCain’s ordeal as a POW, but why would ANYONE rationally believe that being shot down over enemy territory and being subsequently tortured is an immediate qualification for being president of the United States?! It isn’t necessarily so. And any person with a sliver of common sense knows that. So why the gutless move, Sen. Obama? Why throw Gen. Clark, the man who could make the argument without the never-served-in-uniform fallout, under the bus? To gain votes you’ll never get?

Gutless, pure and simple.

Happy Juneteenth!