Third Party & Independents Archives

Obama: The Democratic Messiah?

What a wonderful political distraction is Senator Barack Hussein Obama. Perhaps a good part of his attractiveness is that he is in so many ways the complete opposite of George W. Bush. Yet, what amazes me is how our bipartisan obstacle to true political competition continually creates illusions of change and reform. Thus it keeps a grip on Americans’ hope for the future, and preempts public support for more profound political change.

Is Obama just another example of how our corrupt political system ingeniously creates candidates to keep hope alive? Is the self-professed progressive Obama the real thing? Is he something other than a conventional politician? I have read many of his speeches and other statements. I applaud his upbeat rhetoric, but few policy details are given.

Joseph Sobran opined that “the Democrats are looking for a political messiah, and many of them think they’ve found one in Illinois’s junior senator, Barack Obama. And Obama is, without question, a very charming, intelligent, and impressive young man who is, moreover, catnip to the press corps.” Cal Thomas made the good point that many Americans look at presidential candidates as political messiahs. He said Obama “can also play dual roles of messiah figure and one of the Wise Men.” And he astutely asked: “Have political ‘messiah figures’ become false gods?”

In truth, none of the current presidential hopefuls have obtained the political messiah mantle as much as Obama has.

Yet I remain skeptical. Is he a true populist? Is he willing to do whatever it takes to become President? In our diseased political system, whatever-it-takes-candidacy produces screw-the-public-politics-as-usual. Here are some things that would truly impress me about Obama’s uniqueness, and that would support viewing him as something other than just another opportunistic politician – albeit with a race, good looks, anti-Iraq war, and intelligence advantage.

First and foremost, I would be deeply impressed if Obama soon committed to taking campaign contributions only from individuals and only in small amounts, say no greater than $50. Because if he raised the huge amount of money necessary for a competitive presidential campaign - say $100 million - from the usual sources, then he will inevitably become (assuming he is not already) corrupted.

Second, his voting record in the Senate shows a strong allegiance to labor and teacher unions, according to data from Project Vote Smart. These groups can be hugely important sources of big campaign money. I would like to hear Obama explicitly pronounce policy positions that show he is not a lackey of organized labor.

Third, he has supported the views of the Population Connection, better known by its former name: Zero Population Growth.. One of its core positions is: “The only acceptable solution to the population problem is through expanding educational, advocacy and service efforts that lower birth rates.” Additionally, for the United States it advocates “efforts to conserve energy and natural resources and improve efficiency, eliminate our 'disposable society' lifestyle, and use the best possible technology to protect the natural and human environment.” I would be impressed if Obama spoke out about the compulsive consumerism hallmarking U.S. culture. And if he solidly supported higher gasoline taxes and stricter vehicle mileage standards to promote less driving and gasoline use. Besides favoring abortion rights and backing the interests of Planned Parenthood, what else does he support to cut global population growth?

Forth, he has demonstrated little support for the policy goals of the National Taxpayers Union, that lobbies for “the merits of limited government and low taxes,” fights corporate welfare and tax advantages for the wealthy, and advocates for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. Similarly, his record shows little support for what the Americans for Tax Reform groups advocates. A core position of this group is: "Politicians often run for office saying they won't raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing." So, this is what I would like to hear from Obama: tell us you are not a free-spending liberal that will easily justify raising taxes to increase funding for social programs. And that you will fight for a balanced budget constitutional amendment - in fact, be the first presidential candidate ever to advocate for an Article V convention of state delegates to consider this and other possible amendments!

Fifth, his views on illegal immigration are very consistent with those of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and opposite to those of groups working to stop the massive influx of illegal immigration. Has he bought into labor union’s desire for more members, despite illegals lowering wages for working-class American citizens, just what corporate interests want? Does he favor ANY strict measures to stop the invasion of illegal immigrants, including stiffer penalties for illegal employers? What would he do to combat the plight of local governments facing high costs from illegal immigrants?

Obama says “America is a land of big dreamers and big hopes.” Then please tell us - exactly and soon - what are YOUR big dreams and big hopes for America that you intend to pursue if you become President. Give us details that differentiate you not just from the other presidential candidates, but from all conventional politicians that have lost the trust and confidence of most Americans. You say “we need the political will.” For what exactly? Not just the big, broad goals, but tell us the 'how' - the policy paths that you will fight for to reach lofty goals.

I don’t care that he has little government and no executive experience, not if he is willing to boldly speak out with specifics about exactly what he would try to accomplish as President.

Cynic though I am, if he really is the Democratic messiah, then as an American I would be very happy. But I share Cal Thomas' skepticism: “What puzzles me is why so many people put their hopes in politicians, when politicians (and politics) repeatedly let them down.”

I want Obama to speak with such clarity that he either earns the messiah label, or makes realists of even his strongest supporters. We do not need another political false idol, from the left or the right.

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at January 22, 2007 12:22 PM
Comments
Comment #204401

He did write a book, you know. You could start there. That was a lot more than Bush ever provided.

Your post sounds like a Republican’s thinly veiled criticism that O’Bama is a Democrat. Everyone knows he’s a Democrat.

Posted by: Max at January 22, 2007 12:47 PM
Comment #204412
in fact, be the first presidential candidate ever to advocate for an Article V convention of state delegates to consider this and other possible amendments!

Another post about this, only in disguise?

Posted by: womanmarine at January 22, 2007 2:11 PM
Comment #204417

Obama is just the current pin-up boy for white, affluent left-wing Democrats, a relatively small group.

He has little support nationally, surprisingly little even among African-Americans, and it’s only going to get worse for him once he has to start taking strong political positions instead of just spouting feel-good Chicken Soup for the Soul.

And remember: it won’t be Republicans who tear Obama down either. It will Hillary Clinton and her legions of surrogates in the media.

There’s a theory out there that Obama is actually angling for the VP slot, which might make sense in any other cycle than this one. The problem is the other candidates.

Hillary would need somebody to balance out her negatives. I just can’t see a ticket that has the first female at the top also having an African-American. To put it bluntly: she needs a white male with a strong poltical resume from the South or West. Bill Richardson would be ideal for her.

As far as Edwards go, Edwards would need sombebody (as Bush did with Cheney) to counter his perceived lack of experience. He especially needs somebody with a strong background in foreign policy. Obama would not help him on that score at all—in fact, it would make the problem much worse.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at January 22, 2007 2:28 PM
Comment #204431
Cal Thomas wrote: “What puzzles me is why so many people put their hopes in politicians, when politicians (and politics) repeatedly let them down.”

It’s not really that puzzling.
There is a very logical reason for the voters’ huge interest in Obama:

  • It is largely because of the voters’ desperation for reform,

  • and their laziness that makes them look for a quick and easy fix.

  • Obama doesn’t yet have many glaring defects to indicate that he is ethically challenged.

  • There are a lot of unknowns about Obama, which is working to his advantage at the moment. So far, Obama has only talked vaguely about change, but hasn’t provided any details.

  • The voters let themselves down by repeatedly re-electing irresponsible politicians, regardless of the rampant corruption.

  • Politicians are experts at tapping into the voters’ laziness. A great example is fooling voters into lazily pulling the party-lever (i.e. vote straight ticket), rather than considering each candidates’ qualifications. Hence, many voters aren’t even aware of who they’re voting for. I’m ashamed to say I used to do that. Politicians fuel the partisan warfare and encourage the blind party loyalty to distract from their own malfeasance and incompetence.

So, the voters’ laziness is at the root of the problem, and only have themselves to thank for it, since too many voters choose the lazy path, look for the quick, easy fix, rather than take the time and effort to find the real solution; rather than look inward to the real root of the problem. Only the voters can fix it. Politicians will not reform themselves, as we have already observed for many decades of Congress growing increasingly corrupt, bloated, intrusive, and oppressive.

And the real solution is NOT continually rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them, and failing to educate themselves to understand the importance of Education, which is vital to understanding the importance of Education and Transparency, which is essential for Accountability, which leads to Reponsibility.

The voters have a very simple mechanism right under their very own noses, but they are too easily distracted and lured into wallowing in the circular, divisive, distracting partisan warfare, or being bribed with the voters’ own tax dollars. The solution will require effort, but effort is work (and somewhat painful). So the effort required is trumped by laziness, until the consequences of the laziness becomes more painful. And it will eventually. Some hard and unavoidable lessons are already in the pipeline.

In our diseased political system, whatever-it-takes-candidacy produces screw-the-public-politics-as-usual.
Yes, and too many voters help it along by rewarding bad politicians by repeatedly re-electing them. The powerfully effective partisan warfare, which politicians love to fuel, tricks voters to be more fearful of the OTHER party winning seats, pits voters against each other, and distracts voters from the fact that politicians of BOTH parties are roughly, equally irresponsible, which is evidenced by the fact that no one can name 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible, accountable, not FOR-SALE, and don’t look-the-other-way.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at January 22, 2007 4:29 PM
    Comment #204433

    I think Obama could do a great job in the president seat.

    His voting record, although short, is unique in that it doesn’t cry out what party he is. Very few politicians have this.

    I don’t think he will win unless he actually speaks about his opinions.

    If he pushes the ‘political integrity’ issue he could pull it off, but then he would actually have to live up to it, which may be difficult no matter which party is in office, except maybe the libertarian party, but that is not going to happen in the next few years, sadly.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at January 22, 2007 4:39 PM
    Comment #204438

    Bryan, you think Obama’s voting record doesn’t cry out what party he’s from? Wow.

    The Americans for Democratic Action—a left leaning group—has ranked Obama’s voting record 5 percentage points more liberal than Ted Kennedy’s.

    If you can’t figure out what party Obama’s from, then you must scratch your head trying to figure out what party Kennedy’s from too.

    Don’t forget that Obama also a voting record—a much more extensive one—from when he was a state legislator in Illinois. Like everything having to do with Obama, this has been very little scrutinized so far. But don’t worrry. That will change as soon as Hillary gives the order.

    Posted by: Loyal Opposition at January 22, 2007 4:59 PM
    Comment #204445

    Loyal,

    I have always known what party he is from.

    Also, I wasn’t making my opinion based on a record produced by a VERY biased source.

    I was basing it off the actual bills he voted nay/yay on, with Libertarian and Green Party’s piont of view included.

    Project Vote Smart

    Nor was I considering the Liberal or Conservative parties which don’t actually count since neither REALLY exist.

    I would say he is more along the Libertarian line than the Hilary line.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at January 22, 2007 5:58 PM
    Comment #204446

    Oh! and just for the record,

    I am in no way implying that Obama is in any way Libertarian… he is very green party though.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at January 22, 2007 6:05 PM
    Comment #204447

    Some Obama Votes:

    07/13/2006 Firearm Confiscation Prohibition Amendment Y

    10/31/2006 Secure Fence Act of 2006 Y

    05/25/2006 Confidentiality Requirement Amendment N

    05/25/2006 Immigration Reform Bill Y

    05/18/2006 English as Unifying Language Amendment Y

    05/17/2006 Employment-based Immigrant Visa Amendment N

    06/21/2006 Increasing Minimum Wage Amendment N

    09/13/2006 Security of Cargo Containers Amendment Y

    03/02/2006 USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Y

    I guess ADAction missed those… ;)

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at January 22, 2007 6:15 PM
    Comment #204489

    If Obama is the messiah I guess that make Hillary the Virgin Mary.

    Posted by: KAP at January 22, 2007 9:29 PM
    Comment #204502

    Just a small comment… you know how everyone talks about him as a black candidate? He’s also a white candidate… that strikes me as pretty profound. And I’m for it, but that betrays my bias.
    Plus there’s nothing wrong with baby steps as long as you’re going the right direction. Major change NOW always has its’ attraction, but it usually ends up with alot of people hurt, dead even i.e. French Revolution as opposed to gradual British evolution, or more recently British ‘big bang’ economic reform or slow (maybe too slow) French transformation - more or less the same result, but very different paths.

    Posted by: loki at January 22, 2007 10:18 PM
    Comment #204530

    Obama appears to be centrist straddling the left/right line, to me. A rather encouraging sign if voters take a liking to moderates. Encouraging indeed. Clinton is going to have to blow it in Iowa and N.H. though, if Obama is going to even have a chance.

    If I had a gun to my head and forced to choose a Democrat candidate, it would have to be Ms. Minnie Mouse! Make that Mrs. She has to have married Mickey by now.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2007 12:12 AM
    Comment #204585

    On the Issues found enough data to do a profile on him.

    I think Obama and Giuliani both have a big hurdle with the gun issue in a Presidential.

    Posted by: George in SC at January 23, 2007 9:51 AM
    Comment #204592

    OnTheIssues.org is a great voter-education web-site.
    I completely disagree with Obama’s stand (below) on illegal immigration, and countless polls show most Americans do too. Obama :

    • wants to extend welfare and Medicaid to immigrants. (Jul 1998)

    • Voted YES on establishing a Guest Worker program. (May 2006)

    • Voted YES on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security. (May 2006)

    • Voted YES on giving Guest Workers a path to citizenship. (May 2006)

    Wonder if we’ll see a big flip-flop in order to get votes?

    Posted by: d.a.n at January 23, 2007 11:02 AM
    Comment #204641

    Any politician who refuses to close our borders to illegals first and foremost, is a danger to our society and our nation. That makes Sen. Obama a danger to our society and nation.

    If we first get maximum control over who enters our nation, then, Dem’s can talk to me about citizenship for legally entered guest workers, and seasonal legal worker migrations. But, not until our government has maximum control over who enters, and that can only be accomplished with a border barrier, monitored and interdicted when breaches occur.

    And no more immunity for illegals who are shot by our border patrol. A grave injustice is being done two of our Border Patrol agents now sentenced to prison. They may or may not have deserved to go to prison, but, we will never know since, we gave immunity to the illegal in exchange for his testimony against our Border Patrol. With a deal like that, why would anyone expect the truth from the illegal. Given the choice between a lie and years in prison, would not most of us lie?

    Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2007 5:05 PM
    Comment #204745

    If capped public financing of elections were in place, Sen. Obama might well win against Hillary Clinton. But, Sen. Obama hasn’t a prayer in hell of beating Clinton’s 100 to 150 million dollar campaign. Sorry, it is just not in the stacked deck.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at January 24, 2007 3:22 AM
    Comment #204858
    Any politician who refuses to close our borders to illegals first and foremost, is a danger to our society and our nation. That makes Sen. Obama a danger to our society and nation.
    Thank you for pointing that out that way.

    That’s one reason I can’t vote for Obama.

    I certainly won’t vote for Hillary Clinton.

    Hillary Clinton also (as Obama did) voted:

    • YES on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security. (May 2006)

    • NO on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration. (Feb 2002)

    • YES on establishing a Guest Worker program. (May 2006)

    • YES on giving Guest Workers a path to citizenship. (May 2006)

    It will be interesting to see how Hillary Clinton explains these allegations:

    • Took a $100,000 bribe, camouflaged as futures trades, from Tyson Foods Inc.

    • Speculated in Health Care industry futures while overseeing legislative reform of same.

    • Failed to correct false testimony by co-defendant Ira Magaziner in Health Care trial.

    • Obstructed justice by ordering the shredding of Vince Foster’s documents in the Rose Law Firm.

    • Ordered members of the Health Care Task Force to shred documents that were the target of a court probe.

    • Ordered the removal of documents from Vince Foster’s office and told aides to lie about their removal of documents.

    • Obstructed justice by keeping her billing records, a document sought under subpoena, in the White House residence.

    • Lied to investigators about her knowledge about billing records.

    • Lied to investigators about her involvement in the Castle Grande land flip con.

    • Ordered the use of the FBI to discredit Travel Office employees.

    • Lied to investigators about her involvement in the firing of Travel Office Employees.

    • A Federal judge ordered a trial on 25-July-1994 to determine if Hillary Clinton’s health care task force illegally operated in secret.

    • The White House finally released more than 2,000 documents on June 25, 1996, relating to the travel office firings, originally requested two years prior by congressional investigators.

    I don’t care if who ever I vote for (in 2008 for President) doesn’t win, but neither Hillary or Obama is getting my vote.

    Posted by: d.a.n at January 24, 2007 7:03 PM
    Comment #204959

    d.a.n, Hillary couldn’t possibly get my vote. That would install a unified one party government again. I have learned that lesson all to well, thanks to the Republicans.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 10:45 AM
    Comment #205056

    No doubt about it.
    That will weigh heavily in my decision.
    I don’t yet see anyone yet from the two-party duopoly that I’d voter for.
    I’m think I’m with Andre M. Hernandez.
    Especially since Congress is so dysfunctional, it can no longer even control the unruly (dictator like) Executive Branch, that thumbs its nose at Congress and the majority of voters.

    Posted by: d.a.n at January 25, 2007 7:38 PM
    Comment #210041

    Damn! I thought this was a THIRD PARTY gig. I’ve become a damned party wonk reading all the non-third party re-elect the same turds forever Sh^t you sheeple are so geeked up over. What about a third party, or even an objective discussion on how to break the damned duopoly you seem so unable to envision the nation without? Are we sooo enamored with our current jailers that we can’t fire them? Are we to expend all resources engaging in a debate we have no hand in shaping? At WHAT point will we wake up to the fact that there are NO VIABLE CANDIDATES, NO VIABLE IDEAS, NO VIABLE OPTIONS within either repugnacon, or demoncratic organizations? At best, you will be noodled a bit less violently than the other guy, provided of course, you vote “correctly”. At this very hopeless point, I suggest that we concern ourselves with a very basic goal, one which I’m confident we can all agree on. For the next couple of elections, simply UN-elect all officeholders. Without exception. If the turd is IN- He’s gotta go. I dare say that if such were accomplished, it would more than send a message. It would indicate the unanimous opinion that this game SUCKS! In spades. From that humble rejection of the last two hundred years of BS we’ve been served, perhaps a genuine discussion might ensue. Does even this humble suggestion have a chance? Not in THIS environment. Third party/independent indeed. You will ALL vote for your corporate dicksmoker without hesitation, as you have niether the testicular mass nor the vertabrae to do otherwise.You won’t even vote the turds out. Mark my words. How do any of ya propose to improve the debate OR the field, when ya spend every minute yacking about this geek or that one, and the “marketability” of each? Without exception, they are louts and con-men, using the political arena as the means to achieve their and other people’s ends. And you buy it ALL. It’s really very simple. Fire them ALL without exception. More than once. Demand the absolute prohibition of all private money in elections. Change the “two party-winner take all” “system”. Only having accomplished such with authority, can any meaningful change ensue. And it MUST be done with authority, as all authority is from the people. The message must be clear to all. The “party” is over. Focus on these basics, get them accomplished, for ALL Americans. Anything else is but a distraction. Don’t let “them” frame the debate. It was once ours. “We” have abandoned it like dirty laundry, and lost control of not only the debate, but our NATION as well.

    Posted by: William Sell at March 1, 2007 5:44 AM
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