August 4, 2008
Obama's CraftinessBy Ed Lasky
Barack Obama is one crafty fellow, reaping political success out of career that got precious little done. He has accomplished very little legislatively in his entire career; his vaunted accomplishments in the Illinois Senate were more the result of the handicraft of his political ally and mentor State Democratic head Emil Jones (who tacked Obama's name on legislation to bolster his career) than his own work on the issues .
Obama has done virtually nothing at the Senate level -- he has not even seen fit to call a meeting of the Committee he heads, the Senate Subcommittee on European Affairs. Despite its name, Obama's subcommittee has some oversight over Afghanistan. While he now says on the campaign trail that Afghanistan requires more focus and attention , he overlooked his own jurisdictional responsibilities in that theatre for the entire time he has served in the US Senate. He refuses to take time off his victory tour to call his subcommittee to order to provide such oversight.
Even worse, Obama has a record of taking credit often for work he has not done -- one of the last refuges of a poseur. During his campaign against Hillary, even his fellow Democrats swatted down the presumptuousness of his ploy to gain credit for the work of others. Once he claimed credit for an immigration bill when a camera team was in the vicinity .
Now that Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee, his gall often is overlooked when he claims credit for the work of others, or when he claims to have played a role in the actions of, and membership on, the Senate Banking Committee.
Obama is skilled in certain types of legislative maneuvering though. He learned in Illinois statehouse politics how to place poison pill amendments in legislation, or how to sneak regulatory requirements in otherwise innocuous-seeming legislation. While still serving in the Illinois State Senate, he proposed federal legislation that would cripple people's ability to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Obama wanted to see a federal law against licensed firearm dealers operating within five miles of a school or state park. Experts have wonder if this proposal, given the numerous parks and schools that dot our landscape, would all but foreclose the ability of gun dealers to operate, except in the most remote locations. .
As a presidential candidate, however, he now claims to believe in the Second Amendment. Constitutional law lecturer or not, he certainly got the law wrong when it came to the Washington, D.C. handgun ban. And he has supported a wide variety of proposals that would all but eviscerate the practical exercise of that right . He might say he supports the right of Americans to own guns, but he has supported actions that would all but deny them that right.
Barack Obama has also proclaimed his tepid support for nuclear energy (his campaign manager David Axelrod has had one very important client besides Obama: Exelon, a major nuclear power utility player. Axelrod planned and executed an Astroturf maneuver -- a fake, corporate sponsored ostensibly "grassroots" campaign, in this case, to compel Illinois to grant the utility the power to raise rates). Yet at the same time, executes behind the scene tactics that would impede the development of nuclear power.
Obama has touted his environmental credentials. With global warming scare, nuclear power has become one of the formerly verboten energy sources some environmentalists have warmed to. Yet he has worked to kill the chances of nuclear power becoming an important power source for Americans. Along with the Majority Leader, Nevada Senator Harry Reid, Obama has supported all foreclosing the possibility of using Yucca Mountain (located far away from any people) as a nuclear waste repository. He even advocated the abandonment of the entire project. This despite the fact that billions have been spent developing this critically needed site. This opposition comes despite the fact that America is running out of places to store nuclear waste (right now it is done on-site). This opposition despite studies that show Yucca to be a safe way to store the relatively small amount of nuclear waste generated by our power plants.
Paul Mirengoff of Powerline caught Obama in another legislative sleight of hand . The candidate has long opposed off-shore drilling, following the views of many other liberal interest groups. Obama has now flip-flopped again and made a feint towards supporting offshore drilling. Yet Obama, according to Mirengoff,
But Mirengoff writes:
His effort is understandable, politically, if not in terms of the national interest. Barack Obama would face even more political problems if the vastness of our offshore energy resources became more widely known. Because there is no way to produce oil, nobody has bothered to explore the extent of the oil which might be found using modern technology.
We have been pumping oil in the Gulf of Mexico for many years. California is our fourth largest oil producing state and we know that it has vast oil reserves offshore because it was producing great amounts of oil offshore until political pressure from the Santa Barbara oil spill all but killed offshore prospects. Our oil and gas technology has vastly improved since then, though Democrats prefer to remain oblivious when it comes to oil and gas technological strides.
It is getting downright embarrassing that Cuba has granted offshore drilling rights to Chinese companies that abut Florida's offshore boundaries. Barack Obama knows we cannot have a serious informed debate over offshore oil reserves until we have the facts in hand, and he has worked to make these facts unavailable to fellow Americans. Barack Obama would rather keep us in the dark -- figuratively now, and perhaps literally in the years to come.
What else has he kept us in the dark about? Well, he has not been touting his "Global Poverty Act" lately (S.2433)-though earlier he promised to make passage of this bill a "priority"
This pleasant sounding bill has provisions buried within its language that would impose many billions of dollars of foreign aid obligations on America (up to $845 billion in the next 13 years over and above what we already give in foreign aid). Some believe that this would grant the United Nations the power to bind America in a wide variety of other areas, as well. Barack Obama is a global citizen, after all.
Barack Obama's pattern of legislative behavior should concern all Americans. He has tried to have his cake and eat it, too. He may broadly "support" a wide variety of politically popular causes (the right to bear arms, nuclear power, and now offshore oil drilling) but engage in legislative sleight of hand to foreclose the chances of these goals ever being achieved. This is merely the legislative version of the double-dealing that Barack Obama has displayed over the years.
On the campaign trail, he can talk a good game about post-racial politics, but for twenty years he was an acolyte of a man who preached the absolute opposite. He can claim he supports bipartisanship but has the most liberal record in the Senate. He can pander in front of one audience and then change his position the very next day ("Undivided Jerusalem"). Outside the halls of Congress, he can support this or that proposal, but then try to kill it through smoke and mirrors within the halls of Congress. He can take one position and if this is proved wrong or becomes a political problem he can deny he ever held that position or blame staffers for his mistake -- which he has done repeatedly. He can say he supports a political goal for political reasons, and then use legislative actions to prevent this goal from being achieved.
For a man who promotes transparency, he sure has a funny way of showing it. His political principle, such as it is, may be "Do As I Say, Not as I Do". It may not sound as pleasant as "Change you can believe in," but it has a track record you can believe in.
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.