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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Four Core Problems

As Barack Obama poll numbers come down to earth and John McCain pulls close to even with him, something troubling is beginning to happen in many mainstream media outlets. Subtly, there’s an implication that if Obama loses (or for that matter, if his polling data falls below McCain’s numbers) the only reasonable explanation is latent racism within the electorate. After all, goes the mime, how else could everyone not embrace The Chosen One.

The intent of the latent racism mime is obvious—to discourage criticism of Obama by suggesting that anyone who criticizes the man is a closet racist. That is intellectually dishonest, and for those of us who have legitimate problems with the Senator’s resume, his political experience, his ideology, and his associates, it is enormously insulting. But no worries, it won’t work.

Obama’s decent from on high may be due to closer scrutiny of his four core problems—resume, experience, ideology, and associates. Consider his resume. Abraham Katsman and Kory Bardash discuss it:
It seems that Obama recognizes that while his résumé titles are impressive, his actual accomplishments are weak. It's as if he were jockeying to be the next company CEO with little to show for his prior high-profile management positions. So, he does what anyone else does who has spent years coasting on charisma without doing any heavy work: he pads his résumé--stretching the truth here, stealing credit there, and creating the illusion of achievement during his lackadaisical, undistinguished tenure in previous jobs.

A few examples? Take Obama's first general election ad. We are told that Obama "passed laws" that "extended healthcare for wounded troops who'd been neglected," with a citation at the bottom to only one Senate bill: The 2008 Defense Authorization Bill, which passed the Senate by a 91-3 vote. Six Senators did not vote-including Obama. Nor is there evidence that he contributed to its passage in any material way. So, his claim to have "passed laws" amounts to citing a bill that was largely unopposed, that he didn't vote for, and whose passage he didn't impact. Even his hometown Chicago Tribune caught this false claim. It's classic résumé-padding--falsely taking credit for the work of others.

I suppose you could argue that all pols do this but you’d think there’d be a piece of significant legislation that Obama actually did sponsor. There isn’t. Not one.

Or consider Obama’s bogus claim during his recent world tour:
Obama made yet another inflated boast last month during his visit to Israel. At his press conference in Hamas rocket-bombarded Sderot, Obama talked up "his" efforts to protect Israel from Iran:

"Just this past week, we passed out of the US Senate Banking Committee - which is my committee - a bill to call for divestment from Iran as way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon." (Emphasis added.)

Nice try. But as even CNN noted, Obama is not even on that committee. That is one peculiar "mistake" to simply have made by accident. Again, his claiming credit for the work of others just looks like clumsy, transparent résumé embellishment.

All of this, I suppose, is relatively minor. But when you also consider the Senator’s lack of achievement legislatively, his lack of experience internationally, and his sketchy associates domestically, there is plenty of room for criticism that has nothing, absolutely NOTHING, to do with the fact that Barack Obama is African American. To suggest otherwise is dishonest.

Update (8/23/08):

As if to emphasize my point, this morning’s Slate (a widely quoted Left-leaning e-Zine) features its regular “The Big Idea” column by Jacob Weisberg entitled “If Obama Loses -- Racism is the Only Reason McCain Might Beat Him.”

The only reason. His four problems— an anorexic resume, limited political experience, his left-leaning ideology, and his sketchy associates—have nothing to do with it? Really.

We’ll be seeing a growing crescendo of articles like Weisberg’s as we move closer to November. His approach is a form of intellectual and emotional coercion, and in its own way, it’s as despicable as the racists who Weisberg castigates.