Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why Barack Obama is Not Perfect

I've been accused of being "in the tank" for Barack Obama. Guilty as charged. For the first time in my life I have contributed to a candidate running for office (any office).  For the first time in my life, I have volunteered (a little any) to help a political campaign.  For the first time in my life I have registered with a political party. It feels good to actually feel enthusiastic about a candidate and to be able to vote without holding my nose.  I'm not going to be ashamed of that.  I'm celebrating it.
But, I've been accused of being so blinded by the glare coming off of the Messiah that my eyes are no longer "wide open".  I think some think I am incapable of seeing Obama's shortcoming, mistakes and ,yes, lies.  So, I want to take a few minutes to tell you some of the issues I have with Obama and some of the mistakes I think he's made in this campaign.

  1. Barack Obama is not against capital punishment- Barack Obama is for capital punishment under certain circumstances.  While he did vote to stop the wrongfully convicted men in Illinois from going to their deaths and he has written that he think the death penalty:  "does little to deter crime." But he supports capital punishment in cases "so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment.  I say, let's join the rest of the civilized world and eliminate the death penalty in all cases.  The only justified killing is the taking of a life to protect another life.  Killing the "captive in chains" is barbaric.
  2. Barack Obama is not strong enough on gun control.  When the Supreme Court struck down the 32 year ban on handguns in D.C., Obama agreed with them the the law (which was working) "went too far".  No Barack. I disagree.
  3. Barack Obama has been running negative ads- After promising a different type fo campaign, Barack Obama's ads are, quantitatively  anyway, more negative than John McCain's.  A recent analysis showed McCain's negative ad ratio in the 50% range and Obama's in the 70% range. Living in Ohio and getting the juiciest of both ads (we get to see ads most of you never see), I thought it was more like 90% and 95%.  I can only recall one ad from either candidate that did not mention the other's name and that is a recent ad by McCain-Palin.'
  4. Barack Obama has been lying in his ads- until recently, most of the ads I saw by Obama seemed to be pretty much true.  The $5M joke that McCain told (if you made less than $5M you're middle class) was pounced on by the Obama campaign though.  That was a cheap shot.  The 100 years in Iraq was taken way out of context.  That was hitting below the belt.  But, the worst so far is the mischaracterization of McCain's social security plans.  That is a very McCain like ad, IMO.  In Obama's defense, I think he has told less lies than McCain has and I think a scan of FactCheck.Org would back me up on that.  And I think he's told less whoppers.  But, I think he has allowed the McCain organization to pull him into the mud.  American politics requires a politician look "strong" and to look "strong" Obama has had to hit back. Sad.
  5. The Obama campaign got sidetracked by Sarah Palin- they took their eye off of the ball on this one and played right into McCain's hands by allowing McCain to bring up the experience issue again by comparing Sarah Palin to Barack Obama.  Fortunately, I think that one is behind us. 
  6. Barack Obama needs to clarify his position on late-term abortions- a lot of people are still asking questions about Obama's decision not to vote for a bill that would have made it mandatory in Illinois to try to save babies "born alive" during late term abortions.  I understand his position to be that he thought the law was designed to chip away at abortion rights (as did a lot of other legislators) and that it was redundant as doctors were already required to work to save born alive babies.  However, the most clear information I found on this was on factcheck.org and it has not been very clearly addressed by the campaign, IMO. Now, as President, he would have very little (none?) say over what abortion limits are set. But, you've got people running around thinking Obama supports putting live born babies to death.  A vote for Obama is not a vote to increase the number of abortions or on late term abortions.  But,  he needs to clear that up. 
  7. Obama has allowed himself to be painted as a tax and spend liberal-  He needs to be more clear on his message and the average tax payer needs to know their income tax goes down more under an Obama administration than under a McCain administration.  How they've allowed this myth to linger this long is beyond me.
  8. His response to Reverend Wright wasn't strong enough or quick enough- Obama underestimated White America's fear of a screaming Black man.  By trying to remain loyal to Reverend Wright for too long, he suffered permanent damage in the minds of a few anyway.  His assertion (which I heard just a few days ago again) that he was not in church to hear those sermons is unbelievable to those who heard the clips and assume he must have heard some of it or at least something like it. While I can believe he did not hear those particular clips (the man is a United States Senator, I wonder what his church attendance record actually was), surely he heard things "like" this while he was in church. Obama knew Wright might be a problem back before he hit the political trail.  For political expedience, he should have gone with his gut and distanced himself then.
  9. Barack Obama needs to learn to be more "to the point"- I admire his brilliance, his ability to see all sides of an issue, his nuance and his way with words.  But, Joe Lunchbox thinks Obama is talking over his head and relates more to the certitude of John McCain (which scares me because it's reminiscent of the certitude of Bush 43).  During the debates, he's got to learn to leave out some of the nuance and give a "straight" answer.  I think the charges of elitism about Obama are not because he drinks wine or eats arugula.  It's because intellectually, he is having trouble connecting to the average American voter. He needs to be a little less polished, a little less perfect.  I know it's hard for him because all of his life he's strived for excellence.
OK.  There you have it.  Barack obama is not perfect and those are my top 9 reasons why he's not.  Yes, I'm still "in the tank" for Obama.  I still agree with him on most issues. But, I don't agree with him on everything.


kc bob said...

I'm convinced Brian.. looks like it's McPalin for me :)

Brian said...

Oh no, Bob! Do I have to do a why McCain is not perfect article? I don't have enough time. I'd be writing from here up until the election. ;-)


Anonymous said...

I am voting for McCain. Clearly he is not perfect. I could give you a list much longer than this one if I felt the need to make lists. First and foremost, his position on this bailout is his biggest flaw in my eyes at the moment.
This bailout is absolutely insane.


President Bush and congress are about to sell our Constitution to Wall Street. It drips of socialism and if the democrats in congress get their way with their plan to add that the US Government will become share holders in these companies, I would call it absolutely fascist. Imagine a government with financial interests in corporations. Especially considering only one man will be in charge of it all.

Americans need to wake up. This plan gives an unelected official complete oversight of the US Government's financial policies. I quote:
"Sec. 8. Review. Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Do you get it? Section 8 of the bill the Real Rulers are pushing through forbids courts from reviewing the legality of these rules! And neither can any agency heads or any entity within the government, elected or unelected. NO ONE can challenge the CONSTITUTIONALITY of this new law Congress is being rushed into passing.

This is a de-facto nationalization of the entire banking, insurance, and related financial system. Specifically:

"(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;"

That's right - every bank and other financial institution in the United States has just become a de-facto organ of the United States Government, if Hank Paulson thinks they should be, and he may order them to do virtually anything that he claims is in furtherance of this act.

This might include things like demanding that a bank or other financial institution sell him its paper, even if it forces that firm to collapse and be assumed by the FDIC!

You didn't buy any bank stocks last week did you?

"(a) Authority to Purchase.—The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States."

We should instead let these institutions fail. That is called moral consequences. What's bad for wall street is actually good for main street. When the big guys fall, there is a period of turmoil, but the opportunities to fill the void spring up everywhere for the small businessman.
This is a coup. The candidate that recognizes this and speaks out against it has my vote. If Obama , whom I have fundamental differences with philosophically, steps up to the plate and comes out strongly against this action, and actually demonstrates a measure of leadership with his fellow Senators and tries to stop this, he will have my vote. The key here is action, not words.



Believe it or not, I'm usually the optimistic one. In this case, I am extremely worried. This is real. We are being led astray from a government of the people, for the people, and BY the people. Think about it: every American is either wickedly in debt and wants a bailout or has serious investments and wants a bailout.
Every avenue of escape of this treasonous action has been shut down. I didn't spend a career in the military, going to Iraq twice for this.

Brian said...

Wow, Someday. How do you really feel?

The "bailout" is actually a misnomer. The Federal Government will buy assets, not corporations. They will not be running corporations but will be buying a (shaky) portfolio of mortgages. They will then hire managers to manage those portfolios (as I understand it).

I think "selling our Constitution to Wall Street" is overstating it a little as is using the term socialism. I don't like the bailout either. But, the markets have run amok and if we simply allow the natural consequences to occur, a lot more little guys will get hurt. People's pensions, 401ks and savings are at jeopardy. If it were just a matter of letting the fat cats deal with the consequences of their greed, I'd be right there with you, Someday. But, we need to have confidence in Wall Street. We all need it and we need the government to restore that in this time of crisis.

I hope Obama wins your vote. The Dems are demanding some accountability, not just handing out a blank check. But, I'm pretty sure this will happen, in one form or another.

Brian said...

Wow. I've got to do some more reading on this bailout. Someday, I just read a piece in the Huffingon Post which gives me great pause. And, before that I read an opinion piece by Ron Paul that has me thinking too.

Here's the link to the HuffPo piece.


Here's Ron Paul's


Maybe we should all just take a deep breath before we sign off on this.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see the Huffington Post pick up on section 8. I'm pleasanly surprized.

Ron Paul correctly identifies the root of the issue. That is the strengthening of CRA regulations that forced banks to give in to the pressure of groups such as ACORN and make loans to risky borrowers.

This alone isn't the only cause of course. It started the ball rolling where banks made these loans then sold them off to mortgage buyers such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who essentially were mandated to buy them.
Having this illogical over regulation in place made the Clinton Administration's lifting of the depression era Glass-Steagall Act a very bad idea. But it was lifted. Republicans and Democrats lined up to lift this act. I'm all for it, but first the CRA should have been repealed. The two things in combination made for a timebomb for the more unscrupulous financial institutions. On the one hand you have over regulation forcing banks to take abnormal risks, and on the other hand no one is watching the industry otherwise.

As I said, I'm all for deregulation as long as it is done correctly. But with deregulation comes moral responsibility. In other words, the moral hazard of failure must be a reality. This bailout removes that hazard. Banks fully expected to be bailed out too. They count on it. This is why I am against the bailouts. As long as we keep bailing them out, true to human nature, they will do it again. More of the same. There is no moral hazard for the banks now. They continue on the same course and as usual, the socialist (as in corporate welfare-ists) minded will have the taxpayers step in to "save us all".
The only ones being saved is big business. In the process, more money will be printed, the value of the dollar will continue to decline, prices will rise as a result, and inflation will stifle a chance for a natural rebound. The agony for the average Joe is the result.
Ask yourself this question. Who in congress stands to lose a lot of money if these banks fail? Who in Congress has taken money from these institutions? Who is working for you?
What about the candidates?
Obama? McCain? Biden? Palin?