Obama levels these "houlier-than-thou" accusations with an annoyingly high level of frequency. And they are the premier facade of his campaign, with its claim of brining a "new politics" where he can become righteously indignant about smears against himself because he keeps implying he wouldn't make those same smears.
But the problem is that Obama's claims of his political-holiness don't stand up to the facts.
Remember, in March, when Obama proclaimed in his speech on race that:
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Rev. Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother -- a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world.
By the end of April, Obama had disowned Wright. And, by May, Obama had left his church.
Was that a change of heart, or a change of politics, Senator Obama?
That brings us to item number two. How about public financing for the campaign?
In September, from the Midwest Democracy Network Presidential Questionnaire:
If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?
Obama's answer: YES, with comments:
In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.
Let me just re-emphasize that: "My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election; ... John McCain has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge; ... I will aggressively pursue an agreement ... to preserve a publicly financed general election."
Yesterday, June 20:
Barack Obama breaks his plan for his self-described "fundraising truce":
We've made the decision not to participate in the public financing system for the general election.
Even worse, Obama goes on to claim his rationale for doing so is that:
We face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.
Which is a claim that FactCheck.org clearly reveals is false: "Obama says McCain is "fueled" by money from lobbyists and PACs, but those sources account for less than 1.7 percent of McCain's money." (Oh, and by the way, as FactCheck.org also points out: "In 2004, PACs provided about 10 percent of the DNC's total fundraising and only about 1 percent of the RNC's total.")
Again I ask: Was that a change of heart, or a change of politics, Senator Obama?
And these are hardly the only issues in which Obama has had a "change of
From the Washington Post:
- Viewing unions as "special interests". Obama railed against union contributions during the primary until they stopped going to just Clinton and Edwards and he started getting them himself.
- Lifting the Cuba embargo. Obama wanted to end the embargo until he spoke before a Cuban American audience in Miami when he reversed position.
- Illegal immigration. Was opposed to cracking down on businesses that hired illegal workers in 2004. After the political winds shifted for the topic in 2006 and 2007, he's now in favor of cracking down on these businesses.
- Decriminalization of marijuana. He was for the legalization of pot when speaking before college students, but since October 2007 he's changed his position.
Also: NAFTA, Jerusalem, the threat of Iran, Pay-Go, and, although I'm sure the list goes on and on, I'll conclude with that he's been all over the map on withdrawal from Iraq.
One last time: Changes of heart, or changes of politics, Senator Obama?