Monday, August 25, 2008

The most important things to know about Barack

In honor of the Dem Convention: edited, updated with new info, bumped to top.


1. Very far left (arguably the furthest left of any Presidential Candidate in history)
2. Has never been a reformer
3. No notable professional accomplishment
4. Historical ignorance
5. Naivete
6. Deeply deceptive


Former terrorist and current radical William Ayers helped Barack start his political career. They collaborated on three projects, most notably the failed $49M Chicago Annenberg Challenge (in education), for which Barack served as Chairman of the Board from 1995-1999, while Ayers served as Head of Operations. Early in Barack's political career, Ayers hosted, in his home, a campaign event for Barack.

Ayers quotes: when an Ayers criminal trial was dismissed on technicality, Ayers said: "Guilty as sin, free as a bird. What a country!"; of his terrorist days, Ayers said: "I only regret we didn't do more." The article containing the latter quote was published on 9/11/01.

Barack has covered up the extent of his relationship with Ayers, characterizing him as merely "a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago...."


1. Very far left

VDH explains the most important thing:

[T]he gut instinct for Obama ... is always to start out with the premise of a flawed America, rather than appreciation of the vast difference between us and the alternative.
VDH's words point to Barack being very far left - no matter what Barack or supporters pretend to.

Circumstantially, if Barack is not solidly leftist, why has he spent his political life around leftists, communists, and former terrorists who remain radical? (video; article)

Re actions and rhetoric - one example amongst many: in a speech to the NAACP, Barack four times referenced his belief in "economic justice." Consider exactly what "economic justice" means. Then shiver.

Larry Petrash:

In his latest memoir, [Obama] shares that he’d like to “recast” the welfare net that FDR and LBJ cast while rolling back what he derisively calls the “winner-take-all” market economy that Ronald Reagan reignited.

Stanley Kurtz:

Throughout the 2008 campaign, Obama has made a point of refusing the liberal label. While running for Congress against Bobby Rush in late 1999 and early 2000, however, Obama showed no such compunction. At a November 1999 candidate forum, the Hyde Park Herald reported that "there was little to distinguish" the candidates, who "struggled to differentiate themselves" ideologically. Acknowledged Obama, "[W]e're all on the liberal wing of the Democratic party."


2. Has never been a reformer

David Freddoso (h/t Webutante):

The main lesson is that Barack Obama’s record, throughout his career, demonstrates conclusively that he has never been a reformer, that this image of “change and hope” that he projects is really a great lie. In fact there’s never been a single time in Senator Obama’s political career where he did something that was difficult and would cost him politically for the sake of needed reforms and change.
If you actually look at Obama’s record the incongruity is actually more obvious because he doesn’t have a record of being a reformer. Reformers don’t ... consistently support corrupt systemic arrangements in every public office they’ve ever held.

Maybe the most quease-inducing example of Barack's same old same old politics is his support for "card check" voting on whether or not company or industry employees will become unionized. Thomas Sowell:

We take it for granted that a vote means a secret ballot, but it was not always that way. Moreover, it will not remain that way for workers who vote on whether or not they want a labor union, if legislation sponsored by congressional Democrats and endorsed by Senator Barack Obama becomes law.

Before there were secret ballots, voters dared not express their true preferences if those who watched them vote could retaliate — whether by firing them, beating them up, or in other ways.

Anyone who is serious about people being free to express themselves with their votes wants a secret ballot.

The problem for labor unions is that workers in the private sector increasingly vote against being represented by unions. The proportion of workers in the private sector who are represented by unions has fallen below 10 percent.

Since unions are losing the game under the current rules, their obvious answer is to change the rules. Specifically, they want to do away with secret ballots when the government conducts elections to determine whether the workers in a particular company or industry want to be represented by a union.
Of course, the union organizers will then know who did and who did not vote for them. And they may have long memories, or short fuses, or both. Moreover, the workers themselves know that, so they may find it prudent to sign up for a union, whether they want one or not.

This legislation passed the House of Representatives last year but did not make it through the Senate. “I will make it the law of the land when I’m President of the United States,” Barack Obama has said to the AFL-CIO.


3. No notable professional accomplishment.

Karl, formerly of Protein Wisdom, produced the best overview.

Barack's "community organizer" career accomplished zero of note. Ace of Spades:

Kaus calls this "Obama's Katrina," explaining that if Obama is running on his record as a community activist and advocate, it's a pretty big deal a housing project he had his hand in is an almost-unlivable slum.
Perhaps Obama had good intentions here. Trouble is, he has a decidedly thin resume, and one of the biggest bullet points on it reads Miserable Failure.

In 1995, Barack headed the $49M Chicago Annenberg Challenge effort to reform education. That effort - the largest enterprise Barack has ever headed - was a flat out and dismal failure, complete with massive squandering of monies, though The Annenberg organization couches "failure" in this Title language for their report: "Successes, Failures, and Lessons for the Future".

If you know of notable accomplishment during Barack's abbreviated legal career, please inform.

As an Illinois State Representative - as beneficiary of Dem. Majority Leader Emil Jones' ultimately successful strategy to help make Barack into a U.S. Senator - Barack infamously claimed credit for about-to-be-passed legislative bills which Jones had taken away from other legislators. Beyond legislation gifted to him by Emil Jones, Barack accomplished nothing of note.

Hillary was on the mark:

"The question is what have you done over the course of a lifetime to equip you for that moment. Now I think you will be able to imagine many things Sen. McCain will be able to say. He has never been the president. He will put forth his experience. I will put forth my experience. Sen. Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002."


4. Historical ignorance

Suffice to say: Barack sees history through a patina of liberal lies about questions of fact.

As a result: some of Barack's proffered solutions were already tried and proven to be failures during the Carter Administration. For example, a Windfall Profits Tax resulted in drastically reduced government tax receipts from oil companies.

In other instances, Barack is historically ignorant in a way which is independent of being on the left: 1, 2, 3, 4. This is a problem b/c Barack has a penchant for shooting his mouth off without checking his facts. If he allowed his staff to do some research, then his historical ignorance would not be a huge problem. I speculate Barack has arrogance which precludes him from acknowledging areas of ignorance, and thus precludes assigning staff to do research in those areas. I speculate this trait, combined with his apparent belief he can escape any jam via rhetorical brilliance, results in numerous historical gaffes.


5. Naivete - as you would expect from someone who has no substantive accomplishment and is historically ignorant. Scrappleface weighs in. Barack himself weighs in:

Barack also accomplishes the difficult double of being simultaneously naive and condescending, as in:

Americans "cling to God and guns".


6. "Deeply deceptive".

Example of blatant deception: asked at Saddleback to cite an instance of working across the aisle, Barack cited working with Sen. McCain on earmark reform, even though Barack infamously double-crossed Sen. McCain via backing away from supporting earmark reform. Hugh Hewitt recounts:

Obama sent McCain a letter backing out of the effort. McCain responded with a blistering rebuke.
"I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable," McCain responded. " [T]hank you for disabusing me of such notions."
No matter what one thinks of the merits of the Obama flip-flop, for him to cite his work with John McCain on Senate reform as the best example of his willingness to work against party and self-interest is more than just oily. It is deeply deceptive.

Deceptive Blank Screen: from Barack's 2006 book, "The Audacity of Hope":

I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripe project their own views.
To this day, people who should know better believe that Barack - sometimes in blatant opposition to his own words - will nevertheless legislate as they most fondly desire. Consider the usually shrewd Ann Althouse, in a liveblog of last night's Saddleback forum:
7:25: Define marriage. It's "the union of a man and a woman," and for him as a Christian, it's "sacred" and "God's in the mix." [...] I'm sure in his heart he supports full rights for gay people, but obviously, at this point, he can't say it.
I too suspect Barack "in his heart" supports gay marriage. I only quibble with one of Althouse's words - but it is telling: "sure". My point is: no one actually knows what Barack truly believes about many issues. His words are frequently meaningless - no one believes them: not even his supporters, not even his own staff. Even his staff sometimes doesn't know what he believes when they show up on TV to talk about him. Barack's true beliefs are but wispy fog.

One thing we do know: similar to Terrell Owens' "I loves me some me", Barack believes in and loves his own personal advancement.

More from Ann Althouse, in a closing update to her Saddleback live-blog post:
A telling comment from XWL: "McCain has the advantage of just being able to say what he thinks."



In summary, the most important things to know about Barack:

1. Very far left (arguably the furthest left of any Pres. Candidate in history)
2. Has never been a reformer
3. No notable professional accomplishment
4. Historical ignorance
5. Naivete
6. Deeply deceptive

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