What will Obama change?

The mantra for Obama is change. I admit he’s a new face and a new color, but can anyone clue me in on how, politically, he is different from the other candidates? I mean this as a serious question, and I’d appreciate serious answers. So far, Teddy Kennedy seems representative of those who flock to the Obama standard, in that they’re mesmerized by what he’s not — he’s not a Republican, he’s not Clinton, and he’s not white — but no one seems to articulate what he is. And as a voter, since I think there’s a good chance I’ll be stuck with him as my President, I’d like a strong handle on what he actually stands for.

His website, by the way, does not help. I’ve gone to his issues page and discovered a few things that indicate that he’s almost identical to every other Democrat, except in the area of Iraq, where he’s not just a fool, but a damned fool.

First off, to the extent he has a little quotation at the top of his web page, what the heck does it mean? “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington . . . I’m asking you to believe in yours.” My what? My believing in belief? My personal ability, as a Mom in Marin to change Washington? I keep thinking of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, with that theory going along the lines of “If you believe in fairies, clap your hands.” This supports my belief that he’s a master of meaningless platitudes, a demogogue who says nothing but who, like Chance the Gardener, enables people to attach their own meanings to his banal statements.

But back to his issues page. As far as I can see, when it comes to the economy, he’s promising to expand the government, which strikes me as same old, same old Democratic stuff. He’s going to give a large rebate to those who pay the least in taxes (which means he’s going to raise taxes against everyone else). He’s going to force government preschools, something that was tried in California and that, thank goodness, failed. There aren’t a whole lot of details, but there are promises: I’ll make schools better; I’ll be a tough negotiator, I’ll sneak a national health care plan in under the guise of benefitting small businesses. And on and on. It sounds like a typical Democratic plan for more government involvement in people’s lives and finances. No change here.

On Iraq, he opens by announcing that yeah, well, the Surge worked, but it didn’t work well enough to suit Obama’s high standards (whatever the heck they are when it comes to Iraq). Obama does assure us that he knows what he’s doing in Iraq, not because he’s studied military strategy, or the political situation in Iraq, or Islamic fundamentalism, or the Middle East, but because he voted against the war. Even if I agreed with his “no” vote, which I don’t, I’d feel compelled to add that even a stopped watch is right twice a day. It doesn’t mean Obama has any understanding of the complex situation in Iraq. Also, to the extent someone is whispering in his ear, I’m not thrilled about the radical pro-Palestinian whisperer he’s chosen. Since Obama has professed that his only qualification to deal with Iraq is his “NO, NO, NO” stance it’s scarcely surprising that his entire Iraq strategy is to bring all Americans home ASAP. It didn’t work in Vietnam, when it paved the way for the Killing Fields, and I’m quite sure that, if Obama succeeds in this plan, Vietnam and Cambodia will look positively benign compared to what happens in Iraq when he whistles the troops home. Oh, and by the way, once he’s removed the iron hand, Obama assures us that he’ll use his empty velvet glove to really, seriously, pretty-please ask the Iraqis to get along with each other. I’m sure that will work. I lost heart about here and couldn’t make myself read the rest of his Iraq page. The man is a lightweight. He’ll certainly change things in Iraq, but only for the worse.

On homeland security, which marches hand in hand with Iraq, Obama makes a few obvious promises, none of which are harbingers of change: he’ll guard chemical plants and water supplies, help families unite in emergencies, and track nuclear waste. Laudable goals all and, as far as I know, they’re already part of national homeland policy. Obama makes no reference whatsoever to the reason why we might need homeland security, something that was not on the political agenda ten years ago.  Apparently we’re protecting these things against chimerical beings, without form or identity.  Change? For a Democrat with a head buried deeply in the sands of denial, I don’t think so.

Healthcare? He’ll nationalize it, an idea that’s old (think Hillarycare), so I’m still looking for change.

On faith, Obama assures us he has it, but I have to admit to being a bit worried about the company he keeps, given that his minister is an outspoken antisemite and black supremacist. Kind of makes you wonder about Obama’s own deeply held beliefs. This really isn’t a change issue, unless you think it’s a change to have a closet antisemite, black supremacist in the White House.

And how about the judiciary? Well, Obama doesn’t really say. That is, he has no tab for “judiciary,” so you kind of have to guess. Considering that he supports unlimited abortion rights, and considering that, whether you support abortion or not, you have to concede (if you’re honest) that it’s not a right hidden in the Constitution, one has to assume that he will advance judges who believe in creative Constitutional interpretation. As you know, I am someone who forces myself to be honest here, because I’m ambivalent about abortion. I’ve grown up believing in it, and I think there is a narrow place for it (which doesn’t mean it’s an alternative for birth control), and would hate to see it vanish entirely. I’m enough of a Constitutional purist, though, that I believe we should arrive at abortion rights (whatever they end up being) either through appropriate states’ rights action or through a national Constitutional amendment. The Supreme Court’s cheating in 1973 cheapened the Courts and the Constitution.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on for such a long time about Obama, but I truly don’t see any “change” in him, aside from the fact that his election, if it occurred, would change us over from a Republican to a Democratic administration, with all the accompanying ideological changes that would inevitably occur with such a shift. As far as I can see, the only differences he has from Hillary are that he’s black and she’s white; he’s male and she’s female; and he’s an idiot when it comes to Iraq, while she’s a pragmatist. Oh, and he’s quite possibly a closet black supremacist and antisemite, neither of which are labels I like to see near an American president.

So, if you can offer concrete reasons why Obama is a genuine agent for real change (as opposed to snarky comments or meaningless adulation), please use my comments section for that purpose. Otherwise, I still think Obama’s a stuffed shirt, with little to offer in any significant areas of government, except for a real chance to be profoundly, dangerously stupid when it comes to America’s security. And if you can’t offer any reasons, can you explain to me why everyone is jumping on the Obama bandwagon when he’s precisely the same as the other candidates, only with even less experience than Hillary (who at least knows how to find her way around the West Wing). God knows, I never thought I’d promote Hillary’s candidacy but, compared to the others, she looks less scary.

UPDATEMitt Romney offers a bit more substance when it comes to (a) acknowledging the terrorism against us and (b) having a plan.

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  • Gringo

    For those who think that all change is good, consider the following examples.
    1) 1890s Jim Crow laws enacted in the South
    2) How Hitler changed Germany
    3) How the Communists changed Russia etc.

    For those who think all change is bad.
    1) Civil Rights and Voting Rights Bills in the 1960s.
    2) Most environmental protection ( not all)- air in LA in 1960s compared to today, but w many more cars today.
    3) John P. Wintergreen got elected President on a platform of LOVE ( in the Gershwin musical “Of Thee I Sing”)

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    The one trait that defined America for hundreds of years was optimism. Americans believed, at a gut level, that they lived in the best possible country and that it was only going to get better. Americans believed in America!

    For the last 40 years, the Democrat party, with its victimhood, multi-culturalism (in which every culture is valuable and worthy except our own), pitting of American against each other based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., rejection of capitalism even as they benefit from it, and unceasing criticism of all things American, has eaten away at that confidence. We’ve become an embittered, deeply divided and deeply pessimistic nation. No wonder the rest of the world hates us. We hate ourselves.

    But there is a part of us that still wants to believe in Amerca that way we once did. That’s why we loved Reagan so much. He told us it was okay to be proud to be Americans. He reminded us that America, with all its faults, was and is the greatest nation on earth.

    Obama is the first left-of-center politician in a long time to tap into this desire. People want to believe that he means it when he calls on us to believe in ourselves again. No, we don’t have a clue what kind of a President he’d make. We didn’t really know how Reagan would do at his age, and we didn’t have a clue what Kennedy would do. We elected them anyway, because they gave us hope.

    It is foolish to elect a President on a hope and a prayer? Of course. Do I disagree with Obama on nearly every political issue you describe? Of course. Do I think he’s qualified to be President? Of course not. But there is a part of me that wants so badly to believe in someone who believes in Americans and in America.

    I can’t imagine voting for Obama. Certainly not this time and perhaps not ever. But, oh, how I want to!

  • http://helenl.wordpress.com/ helenl

    This isn’t rocket science, people. “Change” means anything is better than GW Bush.

  • rockdalian

    While abandoning Iraq, Obama has said he would invade Pakistan to root out Al-Queda. [www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/08/07/obama.pakistan/]
    At the time of the vote to authorize force in Iraq, Obama was an Illinois state senator. He was elected to the US Senate in 2004.

  • Mike Devx

    It’s dangerous to *believe* in a politician, because they are skilled at saying things in a way where different people hear different things. Different people will hear what they WANT to hear. What they hear is generally not what the politician is saying.

    Having said that, let me make an attempt, and only an attempt, to answer Book’s question. I’ll take an optimistic slant.

    Obama is pledging, to the Democrat primary voter, that he will not be a President who engages in the bitter bipartisanship that has dominated Washington. That the time for that is over. This implies that he will reach across the aisle.

    One can only wonder what Democrat primary voters are hearing. Do they really want to compromise with Republicans? Because that is what it appears Obama is promising. He is saying “I am as liberal as any among you, but I will not be partisan, and I will compromise.”

    That’s the optimistic spin: He is far left but is determined to reach compromise, for whatever is “good for America”, instead of just “good for the Democrat Party”.

    It’s all fluff and promise. But again being optimistic: It gives him a LOT of room to move to the center for the general election. But then, if he became President by moving toward the center, would he actually govern that way?

    The pessimistic spin: It is the Republicans who will have to compromise, via complete surrender. Obama will put forward his far-left agenda, and claim everyone must compromise with him by giving completely in.

    It is intriguing to watch the Democrat primary drama. I’m very interested! Though my mere hope is that come my state’s primary in March, I’ll still have a meaningful selection to make among the Republicans.

  • Danny Lemieux

    “If you believe in fairies, clap your hands.”

    Perfect, Book! Suddenly, all of my conflicted ideas about what exactly the Democrat Party stands for crystallized when I read that line.

  • Al

    Sounds like many here feel if Obama gets the nomination, he wins the Presidency. Come on, gang, Obama against Romney or Giuliani is fluff against experience. Republicans win. Obama against McCain, that’s another story.

  • expat

    For me, Obama’s greatest appeal is that he would unseat Jackson, Sharpton and co. as THE black leaders. But we don’t elect a President of the Interior. He is clueless on foreign affairs, and we can’t afford an apprentice running things at this time.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I’m not sure that I agree with you, Al. I remember when the citizenry elected Jimmy Carter because they wanted “change”.

  • Friend of USA

    What if this race was a “hare and tortoise” type of race?

    The democrats candidates having a spectacular fast start in the race, the whole Main Stream Media cheering for them, and then they sit on their laurels while no one is paying attention to the unspectacular slower runners that are the republicans candidates…

    Didn’t the tortoise win in the end?

    Just an idea…

  • Trimegistus

    Obama will change… his socks. Twice a day. He’ll change tailors. He’ll change his address if he gets elected. He’ll change the date on the calendar every morning. He’ll change his schedule.

    And that’s about it.

  • Anonymous 7

    Al, How I wish Giuliani still had a chance! But the media has done such an unrelenting & successful hatchet job on him (starting with the NYT), he’s probably not even going to survive FL. Rudy was the ONE viable candidate to beat the Dems, the media KNEW it, and began chipping-away at him months ago.** He is/was a PROVEN leader, the most fiscally conservative/responsible of ANY of them, by far — a straight-shooter with class. But Republicans have apparetnly fallen for the left’s manipulative tactics, and selected Romney’s pretty face (with the low-weight words to match) or they’ve bought the media-created appeal of John McCain, the Dems number one choice because he will be the EASIEST to beat in November.

    As for Obama — I somewhat agree with DQ’s statements implying Obama, at least, expresses an element of new “hope” in a largely hopeless society. I sense a degree of “decency” in him that the other two are completely devoid of. Yet Obama’s message is basically hollow and thus, he’s hardly fit to occupy the Whitehouse.

    Right now, I’m not too jazzed about ANYONE left running for the presidency, save Giuliani — and he’ll probably be toast within a few hours.

    ** Did anyone notice, ref the last debate, how Giuliani was asked the FEWEST questions by the moderators? He got several less than the other two leading candidates. (I counted.) I also noticed how the cameras were so ready to “catch” him when he was apparently trying tohold up his (slipping-down) glasses by using his upper-lip and nasal muscles, alone. The result was a scrunched-up face, a man looking like a total dufus & truly ridiculous! These camera-shots of him were out of the blue i.e. while someone ELSE was doing the talking, the subject of which had nothing to do with HIM at all.

    Why Giuliani was not properly coached before such an important television appearance, is beyond me. To “look Presidential” EVERY SINGLE second while on that stage, was so square-one, basic.

  • Kirk

    Giuliani as our president is truly ridiculous. He’s a flat out facist. We need better people than we’ve had for 7 years. It’s all moot anyway. The damage done by the worst president ever will be our un-doing. Enjoy.

  • wf

    Agree about Giuliani. Great accomplishments, great policies. And he never pandered. What a crying shame.

    As for Obama, here´s my suggestion for campaign song:

    Harmony and understanding
    Sympathy and trust abounding
    No more falsehoods or derisions
    Golden living dreams of visions
    Mystic crystal revalation
    And the mind’s true liberation
    Aquarius!
    Aquarius!

  • Danny Lemieux

    So, Kirk, as a man of the Left, what exactly is the problem that you have with “fascists”?

    Also, please enumerate all the “damage” done by this “worst president ever” – although, please use facts rather than venting your emotions with invective. We are so curious to read what you have to say.

  • Zhombre

    All these lefties crying ‘fascism’ live lives of security, safety, affluence and privilege. They’re cicadas: mere noise. Fascism is just the buzz word they spout, nothing more. They have no concept of actual fascism, actual repression, actual suffering, actual want, actual resistance, actual heroism and no idea how arid their ideas and how puerile their minds are. They are as idiotic as Cindy Sheehan making a “fast for peace” but taking vitamin supplements and having an occasional latte, or these idiots who diminish their tax withholding to protest the war, and wait for the IRS to levy their wages for the unpaid tax so they can call themselves martyrs. Fools. Lately I reread Swift and his insight hits me like a splash of cold water: the Lilliputians are among us.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Fascists, Naziis, Communists, Socialists – same thugs, different gang colors.

  • jj

    I have to admit, I get a (small) charge out of seeing all these people standing behind Obama waving signs that say nothing more than “change.” It’s cute, I suppose, in an unfocused, vaguely warm and fuzzy way – but “change” is hardly a program.

    I’m kind of curious about what it is these people think they’d like to change. As for Obama himself, I doubt if he has any clue what he’s talking about: he’s a straight Illinois democrat machine ward-heeler,and one of the first things most honorable people would change would be the process that got him the job he currently holds.

  • O Balm Ahhh

    Looks like Obama is in danger of not pandering sufficiently to AIPAC and the racist Jewish supremacist vote.

    Not to worry, there’s alway Clinton and Leon Trotsky loving Rudy JewlieAnnie.

    Tough break for Obama though.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Let’s see. I’ve now heard from Obama supporters who accuse me of being racist for not liking him, and who display overt antisemitism in his defense. Kind of makes you wonder about his fan base, doesn’t it?

  • wf

    Any guy who talks about creating Heaven on Earth should be setting off alarms. In that way, Obama sure rings my bell.

  • http://wolfhowling.blogspot.com GW

    I was going to write a similar essay on Obama, but you have beaten me to it and done a better job than I would have. A great post. Perhaps the only things I would add are that his willingness to freely engage Iran and Syria is incredibly naive and his claim that he will make unapproved forays into Pakistani soil (read act of war) plays well at home, but would likely go a long way to destabilizing the already shakey Pakistani government.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Kind of makes you wonder about his fan base, doesn’t it?

    He’s a Democrat. That should make your wondering take much less time, Book.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Fascism is just the buzz word they spout, nothing more.

    Fascism is what they are going to bring about, Z. It is a bit more alerting than spouting off about nothing.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Hey, wasn’t Kirk that guy from Blackfive who thought winning in Iraq could benefit from having Star Trek knowledge?

    I’m not kidding, there was a Cpt Kirk over at Blackfive doing just that a few months ago.