Well, this is my first diary entry on redstate. I’m a longtime reader at redstate, and I just created my own account here at redstate during the recent switch to 3.0. My usual blog is at www.presidentialcandidates08.blog.com. I continue to be impressed by the bloggers in this community.
Due to moves I’ve had the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of voting against Mark Warner (2000, VA Gov race), Al Gore (2000 – potus), Evan Bayh, (2004 – IN Senate), John Kerry (2004 – potus), Tim Kaine (2005 VA Gov race), Hilary Clinton (2006 Senate race) and in 2008 Barack Obama and Mark Warner again (back in VA). Easily Obama is the worst of the lot to my mind.
Obama has crossed a line, however, from merely being a consistent partisan hack who never crossed his party’s base or engaged in any meaningful bipartisan endeavors, and surfing on rhetoric to demonizing his opponents. This is something he pledged to never do. Yet, he called NRLC, and the Pro-Life movement who has called him out on his ultra-extremist left wing abortion ideology liars. In doing so, he’s called me a liar.
Now, I won’t go into all the reasons here it was Obama who was lying on this issue. Those who want the full scoop should visit www.nrlc.org which lays out in perfect detail. But since Obama mentioned he doesn’t usually call people liars, I thought it worth mentioning that neither do I. In fact, I didn’t even go so far as to call Warner, Gore, Bayh, Kerry, Kaine, and Clinton liars, though I’ve worked against and voted against all of them (though most of them indubitably are). But Obama is a liar. One or two “misstatements” as Clinton would put it, I could deride but avoid calling a liar. But Obama’s list of lies is legion. If I miss any, please do add them in.
In no particular order, here are his lies and position changes thus far:
1. Calls Pro-Lifers liars because they called him out on BAIPA. Campaign admits one day later he got it wrong. This is not a new lie from Obama. Its in his bestseller book as well.
Reversed position on offshore drilling. Liberals and conservatives alike acknowledge it as a major policy shift. Obama parrots he has not changed his position (his most frequent lie recurring on many subjects).
Obama agreed in principle to debate John McCain “anytime, anywhere”. When McCain issued the challenge, Obama issued lie #4 – that he would do 1 town hall in addition to the usual 3 debates. Obama has reneged on doing even a single town hall with McCain. (But the he’s a political coward point is a whole other diary entry).
Obama self-righteously proclaimed that he would accept public financing and vigorously seek an agreement with the GOP nominee to do the same. Then McCain matched his pledge. Obama then retracted.
Then came lie #6, which was that he would be willing to have conversations with the McCain campaign as to the best way to protect the integrity of the process. Finally, he out and out declared he would not accept public financing. On pace to become the first $500,000,000.00 candidate, Obama’s political self-interest outweighed principle. His supporters do not even deny it, they just bleat it would not “be fair” to hold him to it when he could raise so much money.
Then came lie #7, that he had to break his promise to ward off the evil GOP 527s that were attacking him. Conveniently ignoring that at the time there was only 1 such 527 at the time which had run any ads against him and that the liberals had 527s pouring as much as 12 times as much money into their 527s already. Billionaire liberal pawn Soros has probably even increased that margin by now.
Lie #8, (because 1 lie would not be enough to cover such a big whopper) was his statement that he had a “parallel public financing system” through his small donor base, therefore, he would not be beholden to special interests. Well, this struck me as weak at the time but I didn’t call it a lie yet because he had a lot of small donors. But, by goodness, he spent the past few months targeting high end donors at events where nobody donating less than $2300, or sometimes more, could get in the door. Yesterday he raised over $7 million in a single day. The pretense itself is gone.
Lie #9, his canceling a meeting with the troops to clear time to go shopping in Germany. Not realizing perhaps this would cause a big uproar, Obama later tried to cover his tracks by stating he did not visit the military hospital because he did not want it to seem like a publicity stunt. This explanation came right after several photo ops including shooting hoops with troops and then not sticking around to talk with them.
Then, lie #10 he has the gall to say the Pentagon told him not to. The Pentagon discredits this account 1 day later.
Lie #11, denying the surge worked. At this point, I don’t see what objective observer can take him seriously.
Then to make it worse, (as he almost always does due to his unwillingness to ever admit he was wrong about anything), Obama explained that the Awakening Councils and Sons of Iraq caused the decrease in violence, not our troops and our surge strategy. This account is easily discredited as mixing up the timeline of events and confusing cause and effect. That makes 12.
13th, FISA. After pledging to filibuster if necessary any legislation that would give immunity to telecommuications companies helping our government in the war on terror under FISA laws, Obama finally comes around. After the primary though of course in which he flanked Clinton’s left.
14, he promised not to run negative ads.
15, Obama touted in his first general election ad that he championed welfare reform in Illinois and helped move people off the rolls in record numbers. Fact checkers noted that the bill which did that he neither spearheaded, co-sponsored, or even voted for.
Obama declared abortion should never be for an emotional reason. As a Constitutional Law professor and former editor of the Harvard Law Review, he knows perfectly well that’s exactly what Doe v. Bolton did to modify Roe v. Wade, and that that’s the status of the law now, except for where we have exceptions, which he seeks to overturn.
The Death Penalty. Like every single one of his position changes, he went from a position that had been popular before to one that is more popular and politically advantageous now.
Decriminalization of marijuana. Supported it, now opposes it.
D.C. School voucher program – opposed it, now he supports it. Program has not changed, nor has the underlying arguments in favor or against school voucher programs in general.
The Cuba embargo – Obama forcefully called the Cuba embargo “a failed policy” that “must be lifted.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20369459/ After touting the position in Florida to Cuban-Americans, (who constitute a significant voting block in that significant swing state) he changed his position to insisting that the embargo not be lifted. He pledged in late May that “I will maintain the embargo” as it “provides us the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice.” http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/207613,obama-wont-lift-embargo-on-cuba.html
Handgun ban – Obama, during the lead up to the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, stated he supports the D.C. Handgun ban. Then, after the 5-4 decision which struck down the ban as unconstitutional, a ruling which is a huge landmark victory for gun owner rights, Obama praised the decision. This is particularly surprising since he used to be a Constitutional law professor and he must know the history of Constitutional law on the Second Amendment. The NRA found his endorsement of the decision disingenuous, citing to its members his membership on the Board of Governors of a group devoted to promoting gun control over NRA-type 2nd Amendment arguments.
22 & 23. NAFTA. During the primary, Obama pounded Clinton for her support of NAFTA, which he claimed undermined labor and environmental concerns and had a “devastating” impact on the U.S. economy. A story arose that Austin Goolsbe, a top economic advisor to Obama, at the time told Canada not to worry about our trade deal being threatened because Obama was just posturing. The Obama campaign denied Goolsbe’s statements and continued to denounce NAFTA and again flanked Clinton’s left. He then promised that if necessary to gain the necessary labor and environmental objectives he would unilaterally opt the U.S. out of the treaty until it could be restructured. While that sounds tough, it drew a backlash from even those within his own party with foreign policy expertise, who noted that other countries would not know where we stood on our trade policy with them if we were going to unilaterally alter or withdraw from trade treaties, (we have a good 30 or more international free trade treaties spanning the globe). Obama then stated he would not unilaterally withdraw from NAFTA. He has since waffled on that again, stating that all the options are on the table, apparently to appease those on the left who liked the idea of unilateral withdrawal to leverage environmental/labor provisions. Obama’s 12th change was his decrying “protectionist” trade policies and then advocating them in other contexts, particularly his denouncement of the trade treaty with Colombia, where high tariffs already limit the capability of American manufacturers to export into their market and they already have tariff free exports to the United States, leaving a clear U.S. jobs advantage in supporting the treaty. Obama does not deny that either, only stating that Colombia’s record on labor rights is too objectionable. (It is true Columbia does not have the best history on labor rights, but it has gotten better over the past few years).
24-29. Obama has changed positions on the Reverend Wright, according to some, 7 times. See http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,352947,00.html. First, Obama claimed Wright was being taken out of context. Then he said he disagreed with Wright on many things but he was still a good man and he “could no more disown Wright than disown the African American community.” Then he claimed he was not there in Church on the occasions Wright said those things. Then, when it became apparent that Wright preached this stuff all the time, Obama distanced himself further condemining the comments of his minister but not the man, which came off as somewhat self-righteous for someone simultaneously being shown to not pay attention during the church sermon. Next, after Wright noted that Obama was only stating he disagreed with Wright because that’s what Obama must do as a politician, Obama noted that he would have left the Church if Wright had not retired. Then, after Wright used his public microphone to amplify his brand of black liberation theology, (a radical belief system perhaps which Obama still has not rescinded his endorsement of, though perhaps that list is a subject for another post), Obama disowned Wright due to Wright showing “disrespect” to Obama. Not the 20 years of comments, not the fact his daughters were being ministered to by a crazed man, not the fact he and his wife were perhaps shepherded badly by the man who married them, but disrespect sealed the deal. h/t Karl Rove
Obama implied by stating he would have left the Church that he would remain loyal to the Church since Wright retired. A month later or so, a visiting Catholic priest gave a sermon in the Church in which he supported Obama and criticized Clinton, who at that time was Obama’s rival. Obama took that opportunity to use the occasion to leave the church. Although Obama has “reached out” by meeting with evangelicals since then (though their recent alignment behind McCain shows that effort to be a colossal failure) I have not seen anything indicating whether he has joined a new church anywhere or if he attends anymore. To some, backsliding might be the biggest change.
Obama’s stances on meeting with foreign leaders, detailed more fully in an earlier post, changed from pledging to meet without preconditions, to essentially only meeting with preconditions. This could perhaps constitute several changes as it applies in distinct important arenas such as the U.S. relationships/interactions with multiple nations. In addition to lying about his general policy on this matter, he made specific statements under this policy about (32) Iran, (33) North Korea, (34) Venezuela, and (35) Cuba.
Obama and his team have gone from all but calling the Clintons racists and pointing out every problem with the Clintons to staking a position that the Clintons are two people the country “really needs.”
Energy policy – Most notably, however, here the change is found in his position on nuclear energy where he has both stated that he does not support the increased use of nuclear energy while (incorrectly) criticizing McCain for failing to do so. Obama has repeatedly mischaracterized McCain’s position on energy policy, but that too is the subject of another post.
Willingness to visit Iraq and meet with our leaders on the ground there. Like so many of his changes, Obama states an absolutist position on an issue, then hedges that, states in some way that he is open-minded and able to compromise, endorses the possibility of adopting the position opposite to his original position, completes the 180, then denies he ever changed his position.
Obama’s position on unilateral military action – after promising he would never take unilateral military action Obama has stated he would consider invading Pakistan (a U.S. ally).
Obama’s stance on protecting Israel has changed significantly. He has stated he is committed to protecting Israel, and doing anything possible to prevent Iran from going nuclear, including military force, but has also pledged not to start a war with Iran. Obama has also stated mulitple positions rather inconsistent with backing up Israel in the middle East, including supporting the Palestinian (and terrorists who share the same views) that Israel must build no new settlements in the West Bank, Israel should trade land for peace, and release hostages. If not an explicit change, this position is so inconsistently untenable in and of itself that it belongs in the same category.
The lapel pin. Though not an important issue to my mind, it belongs in the list of publicly stated positions or principles that he has changed. He not only stated that he does not wear it, but added that those who do often do so to exhibit a fake brand of patriotism. He then clarified that he wears it sometimes, but it is not a big deal. Now, if there is an important function where he appears in front of a bunch of flags, (or a version of the Presidential seal altered in an almost copyright infringement manner to be the Obama Presidential seal), he is wearing the lapel pin. But still, of all the issues on this list, this is the one that least concerns me.
Perhaps most importantly is his change on Iraq. Obama has staked out several new positions this past week on Iraq, and earlier posts have detailed his prior trend of backing off his primary season promise to bring the troops home immediately. Now we are hearing there will be a gradual pullout, or that the pullout will depend on the advice of the commanders on the ground, etc.
Now some may argue that when a candidate changes a position, that is a good thing, because they have come around to the right side of an issue, or that circumstances have changed, or that someone has effectively persuaded them. In each instance, however, the principled change that is to be credited must come from a candidate who acknowledges that the position has changed in fact. That has not happened with Obama in any of these instances. And a cynic might note that it appears these changes are coming more from him listening to polls than to people. Some of these changes look slight, some dramatic, some calculated step-phased 180 degree changes, etc. At this rate, it is likely that there will be even more changes by the time election and, perhaps, governing time rolls around for the Illinois junior Senator, perhaps some of which will be in areas that will upset his base further.
Further troubling is that in addition to these many changes on this non-exhaustive list are the many vague, ambiguous positions that a cynic might point out looks as if the shortness on details may be to provide flexibility in adjusting position by leaving it undefined. Or, the lack of depth in explaining how certain platforms will be achieved shows lack of plans. Both Clinton and McCain have criticized him along this vein, all but calling him an “empty suit.” For example, Obama’s pledges to capture bin Laden and fight al Qaeda while withdrawing from Iraq seem short on details, as do his pledges to restore the international U.S. image while simultaneously pledging in some contexts while condemning in others unilateral U.S. action. Most importantly perhaps, are the details on how he sees the situation in the middle east and the war on terror playing out if we follow through with his plan of rapid withdrawal from Iraq. To name a few.
If anyone has read through this whole post, I’d love to hear a shout out since this is my first entry. Also, if I’ve forgotten any of his lies, please feel free to add to the list.