May 13, 2008
The Obama Change We Really Can Believe InBy Peggy Shapiro
Barack Obama's call to action is "Change we can believe in." I would love to believe it, but until now I haven't even been able to understand it. What is going to change? With his latest about face on direct talks with Iran's Ahmadinejad, Obama has finally clarified what he is going to change: his opinion. From terror to funding for tots, where there's controversy and two sides to be wooed, there is the Obama about-face.
On unconditional presidential meeting with terror-sponsoring states: Yes to No
This week, Obama's key foreign policy advisor, Susan E. Rice, told the New York Times that Obama never claimed he would be willing to meet "unconditionally" with Iran's president Mr. Ahmadinejad. Dr. Rice said that Obama would not meet at the presidential level with this Iran or any other so-called "rogue" state without the preparation to use such a meeting as leverage for change. In fact, it was only right-wing machinations or imagination that "distorted and reframed" Obama's views.
That was certainly a change from numerous statements candidate Obama made on the same topic. Did John McCain enter the following posting on Obama's campaign website? "Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions."
Nothing could have been clearer than Obama's response to Anderson Cooper during the YouTube debate. (transcript)
On talking with the terrorist group Hamas: No to Yes (but it wasn't really me)
Obama has repeatedly stated that he would not engage in talks with Hamas until the group stopped its terror campaign against Israel, yet on May 9, 2008 the Times of London reported that Obama adviser Robert Malley, a noted critic of Israel, had been conducting talks with Hamas. Of course, Malley's position of advisor was downgraded to "informal." How did Obama fire Malley if the man never worked for him?
On driver's licenses for illegal immigrants: Yes to huh?
As an Illinois state senator, Obama voted to require illegal immigrants get a license. His position seemed cleared, yet when Wolf Blitzer questioned Obama about his stance, the response was anything but clear. From the November 15, 2007 debate:
Whatever the response really meant, it does not sound like a man who sticks to his convictions.
Funding child welfare: No to Yes
Sometimes the change of opinion is framed as an accidentally incorrect vote; for example, there was the time Barack Obama voted to cut millions of dollars from a Chicago-area child welfare office. When angry Democrats rebuked him, Obama claimed that he was not aware that he had voted no. It may have been a mistake or an easy way to placate both sides of an issue.
Freer rules for riverboat casinos: Yes to No
When Chicago churches were opposing looser rules for riverboat casinos in 1997, Obama cast his vote with the gambling industry. After the measure passed, Obama stated that he wanted to be recorded as voting "no." Voting both sides of an issue could perhaps garner him support from both churches and casinos.
Reverend Wright: Didn't say it, didn't hear it, isn't accurate, is justifiable, is unacceptable
The number of opinion reversals on Reverend Wright are mind-spinning: his church is not especially controversial, he never heard the hate-speech, the snippets of the sermons are "charicatures peddled by some commentators," the pastor's remarks were akin to those made by Obama's white grandmother, rejecting the anti-American and anti-Semitic minister would be rejecting all of black America, and on and on. Obama thus courts the radical left by participating comfortably in its extremism and mollifies middle American with a range of excuses.
Iraq War: It's dumb, I might be wrong, We can win, Failure would be a disaster, Failure's inevitable, I don't know, Reduce troops, not withdraw, Withdraw troops, Maybe?
Although Obama boasts that his is the Democratic candidate that has not changed its tune on the Iraq War, he has been quoted singing different lyrics. The Boston Globe online tracks some of Obama's variations.
Although I still don't know how a President Obama would change the nation or if these "changes" would benefit or harm the country, I now know that there is a change I can believe in. Just present Barack Obama with a controversial issue which requires a firm stand on principle, and we are guaranteed change.