Obama in the mud: So much for honesty
When Barack Obama first began campaigning in New Hampshire in early 2007, many voters swooned. We watched him speak to retirees in Claremont one snowy February day that year. Not a single voter we talked with before he spoke planned to vote for him. Afterwards, many said they would. The word that spontaneously came from the lips of multiple attendees: sincere. They couldn't remember a politician who spoke with such sincerity, they said. And many of them had been voting since World War II.
We wonder what those same voters think of Obama's sincerity now. In the past few weeks, Obama has thrown so many false accusations against John McCain that just keeping track of them has become difficult. And these aren't innocent errors. They are deliberate distortions of the sort Obama has always said he reviles.
On Thursday, Obama said of McCain, "He has consistently opposed the sorts of common-sense regulations that might have lessened the current crisis." That's entirely untrue.
As The Washington Post pointed out in an editorial on Friday, McCain in fact has supported many new regulations of financial institutions, including some that Obama opposed. "In 2006, he pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- while Mr. Obama was notably silent," The Post wrote.
Obama attacked McCain for having a top financial advisor who supported a deregulation bill a few years ago. Yet two top Obama financial advisors, with whom he met on Friday to help him form his response to the current troubles on Wall Street, supported the same bill, which was signed by President Clinton.
Also last week, Obama released a Spanish-language ad that portrayed McCain as anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic and tried to link him to immigration policies that were not his own as well as some choice Rush Limbaugh quotes that appeared to insult Mexicans.
Anyone who has followed the immigration debate knows that McCain is the most pro-immigration Republican on the national stage and that he is not in the least anti-Hispanic. To pull quotes from Rush Limbaugh, who has completely different immigration views than McCain and who opposed him on that issue for years (and still does) is completely disingenuous. The ad is so bad that even The New York Times called it "misleading."
Obama's campaign also accused McCain of lying when McCain's campaign ran an ad saying that Obama supported sex education for kindergarteners. But the bill in question, which Obama supported in the Illinois state Senate, did indeed change state law to allow sex education for kindergarteners.
Obama has said that he won't attack John McCain's motives, only his policies. But he has repeatedly attacked McCain's motives, suggesting that he has been bought off by oil companies and lobbyists.
Obama's greatest strength as a candidate, aside from his oratorical skill, has long been his apparent sincerity and decency. Voters attracted to him think of him as that rarest of things: an honest politician. He has claimed himself that he would never engage in the sort of deceptive politicking that he says has tainted Washington for so long.
Yet here he is violating his own professed standards. This is not the Barack Obama so many voters in New Hampshire and elsewhere thought they knew. But it is the real Barack Obama. For despite his rhetoric, he is in fact campaigning so dishonestly that even The Washington Post and The New York Times have called him on it. Which means that he is in practice no different from those regular politicians against whom his entire campaign has been built.http://tinyurl.com/4jxshd