The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


The Rev. Jeramiah Wright was correct about one thing when he said [paraphrasing]: “Barack Obama is a politician. He’ll say what he has to say to get elected.”

Obama’s speech at the AIPAC meeting is being hailed by some in the Jewish community as a breakthrough, “proof” that the Chosen One is, in fact, ready to continue America’s unwavering policy of support for a tiny Democracy located in the midst of murderous enemies who would like nothing better than Israel’s complete eradication.

But everything in Obama’s very limited background, from the anti-Israel advisors he chose for his political campaign, to the pro-Palestinian friends he associated with over the past decade, to the far Left political constituency that supports him without waver, indicate that what he said may not be what he truly believes. Rather, to quote the Rev. Wright, it’s “what he has to say to get elected.”
Reading the text of Obama’s AIPAC speech—a really good idea for all his presentations because it eliminates the Wow! factor that his prodigious rhetorical skill introduces—he says all the right things for an audience that supports Israel wholeheartedly. But a close read allows him wiggle room, to wit:
But as I said at the outset, Israel will have some heavy stones to carry as well. Its history has been full of tough choices in search of peace and security.Yitzhak Rabin had the vision to reach out to longtime enemies. Ariel Sharon had the determination to lead Israel out of Gaza. These were difficult, painful decisions that went to the heart of Israel's identity as a nation.

And although Obama did criticize Hamas [as well as Hezballah and Iran] and demanded that they “recognize Israel’s right to exist; renounce the use of violence; and abide by past agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” he did not suggest that maybe, just maybe, it was time for the Palestinians to be the first to “make painful decisions” and lift “some heavy stones.” He did not suggest that maybe, just maybe, the Palestinians—you know, the folks who have launched over 6,000 rockets at Israeli civilian population centers—owe Israel and the world some indication that they have abandoned their venomous hatred and barbaric behavior.

Barack Obama did what he had to do. The real question is, will he follow through? Or will he, upon being elected, flip-flop on his comments? I would argue that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, in Obama’s thin record to indicate that he won’t flip flop and, in fact, recent events seem to indicate that he will.

Consider the slow transition he’s made on Iran. Less than six months ago, he promised to meet with Mahmoud Amadinejad without pre-conditons and less than three months ago he suggested that Iran was only a “small threat.” At AIPAC, he stated:
Iran’s President Ahmadinejad’s regime is a threat to all of us. His words contain a chilling echo of some of the world’s most tragic history.

He's rapidly backed away from any meeting with Iran's lunatic political leader and has only recently begun to talk tough.

Flip-flop? You decide.

Because Obama has almost no experience on a federal and international level and virtually no record of promises kept or broken, many supporters simply take him at his word. His charisma makes you want to believe.

But are the words he said yesterday, the same as the words he’s saying today? And most important, will they be the same as the words he’ll utter when he’s President of the United States?

Update: (6/6/08):

Glenn Kessler reports on Obama’s latest position 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.

"This statement is totally rejected," Abbas told reporters in Ramallah. "The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and we will not accept a Palestinian state without having Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state."

I'm beginning to believe that the “change we can believe in” really means that Obama will “change” his positions to suit his immediate political needs.