Obama's Free Media Pass

Ed Lasky
The media has heretofore treated Senator Barack Obama with kid gloves. He has enjoyed an immunity from political attacks from enthralled journalists who have put their critical faculties on hold or have refused to employ their investigatory powers to delve into Obama's past and his record. 

The well-regarded Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz wrote a column just yesterday exploring this dynamic and bringing to light several examples of double standards that have served to benefit Obama. As if on cue, today's news bring just two examples that reveal to the reading public (if they know where to look) that there is much less than meets the eye when one looks beyond the klieg lights.
The New York Times has a front-page article noting Obama's pattern of voting "present" when bills came before the Illinois State Senate when he served there (just a few short years ago)  . His refusal to take a stand perplexed his fellow State Senators.

The other article looks into Obama's campaign payroll and discovers that three political aides are REGISTERED LOBBYISTS FOR DOZENS OF CORPORATIONS (including Democratic punching bag WAL-MART).

The New York Times looks back into Obama's history as a State Senator in Illinois and it is a history notably lacking in leadership. His record of voting present-refusing to take a stand on a variety of issues-appears to be the "work product" of political calculation and cynicism. The paper::
  
In 1999, Barack Obama was faced with a difficult vote in the Illinois legislature — to support a bill that would let some juveniles be tried as adults, a position that risked drawing fire from African-Americans, or to oppose it, possibly undermining his image as a tough-on-crime moderate.


In the end, Mr. Obama chose neither to vote for nor against the bill. He voted “present,” effectively sidestepping the issue, an option he invoked nearly 130 times as a state senator.


In Illinois, political experts say voting present is a relatively common way for lawmakers to express disapproval of a measure. It can at times help avoid running the risks of voting no, they add.
 

“If you are worried about your next election, the present vote gives you political cover,” said Kent D. Redfield, a professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “This is an option that does not exist in every state and reflects Illinois political culture.”

He even voted present over popular measures supported by the vast majority of his fellow legislators:  

“Voting present was a way to satisfy those two competing interests,” Ms. Radogno said in a telephone interview.


Thom Mannard, director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said political calculation could have figured in that vote.


“If he voted a flat-out no,” Mr. Mannard said, “somebody down the road could say Obama took this vote and was soft on crime.”

And he even voted present on these two common-sense measures:

Mr. Obama was also the sole present vote on a bill that easily passed the Senate that would require teaching respect for others in schools. He also voted present on a measure to prohibit sex-related shops from opening near schools or places of worship. It passed the Senate.

Was Obama just a placeholder in the Illinois State Senate as his vision extended beyond Springfield? Did he neglect his duties as a State legislator? If so, history seems to be repeating itself.

He has been criticized for missing a string of votes in the United States Senate as he barnstorms around the nation to bolster his Presidential campaign (his absence on key votes in the Senate has become a source of consternation and has played a part in the inability of Senate Democrats to push their agenda). If Obama cannot take a stand when delaing with comparatively trivial state issues how will he perform as a President when dealing with decisions with a wordlwide impact? Will he freeze then? Will he be neglecting the need to take steps to benefit America because he is entranced with the possibility of winning the Nobel Peace Prize?

Political calculation is not a hallmark of Presidential leadership. Refusing to take a stand is not a profile in courage-a particularly apt comparison since so many view Barack Obama as John F. Kennedy's heir apparent (including Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorensen who has signed onto Obama's campaign and is following him around on the hustings).


The well-regarded The Hill newspaper also has an article today that reveals Obama's hypocrisy  After campaigning on the theme that he will bring lobbyists to heel comes the disclosure that three political aides on Obama's campaign payroll are registered lobbyists for dozens of corporations..including those of British Petroleum, Wal-Mart, and Lockheed Martin. These three corporation, by the way, could fairly be considered by Democrats as the "unholy trinity" of corporate America.

Wal-Mart has been routinely bashed by underpaying its workers-refusing to pay fair wages and provide health care coverage-as well as exploiting low-wage laborers in overseas markets that provide its stores with goods. Lockheed Martin is a defense contractor-otherwise known as a "war profiteer" by Democrats. British Petroleum is a carbon emitter who is polluting the planet, while raping it of its resources and reaping outsized profits by exploiting the public.


As the Hill notes:

The presence of political operatives with long client lists on Obama’s campaign contrasts with his long-held stand of campaigning against the influence of special interests. Obama has even refused to accept contributions from lobbyists or political action committees (PACs).

 The Hill forgets to note that Obama accepted money from lobbyists as a State Senator and has found convenient loopholes to do so again as a United States Senator.


What do these articles reveal? That Obama's front-runner status will invite inquiries into his record. However, it reveals much more. The candidate who campaigns on "leadership" and "clean government" may very offer neither. The charges of cynicism and hypocrisy that Obama routinely charges others with may merely be a smoke screen to cover up his own flaws. The man who can project his voice so well in an auditorium may also be demonstrating projection-the defensive mechanism at work when one attributes one's own unacceptable attributes to others.

The media has heretofore treated Senator Barack Obama with kid gloves. He has enjoyed an immunity from political attacks from enthralled journalists who have put their critical faculties on hold or have refused to employ their investigatory powers to delve into Obama's past and his record. 

The well-regarded Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz wrote a column just yesterday exploring this dynamic and bringing to light several examples of double standards that have served to benefit Obama. As if on cue, today's news bring just two examples that reveal to the reading public (if they know where to look) that there is much less than meets the eye when one looks beyond the klieg lights.
The New York Times has a front-page article noting Obama's pattern of voting "present" when bills came before the Illinois State Senate when he served there (just a few short years ago)  . His refusal to take a stand perplexed his fellow State Senators.

The other article looks into Obama's campaign payroll and discovers that three political aides are REGISTERED LOBBYISTS FOR DOZENS OF CORPORATIONS (including Democratic punching bag WAL-MART).

The New York Times looks back into Obama's history as a State Senator in Illinois and it is a history notably lacking in leadership. His record of voting present-refusing to take a stand on a variety of issues-appears to be the "work product" of political calculation and cynicism. The paper::
  
In 1999, Barack Obama was faced with a difficult vote in the Illinois legislature — to support a bill that would let some juveniles be tried as adults, a position that risked drawing fire from African-Americans, or to oppose it, possibly undermining his image as a tough-on-crime moderate.


In the end, Mr. Obama chose neither to vote for nor against the bill. He voted “present,” effectively sidestepping the issue, an option he invoked nearly 130 times as a state senator.


In Illinois, political experts say voting present is a relatively common way for lawmakers to express disapproval of a measure. It can at times help avoid running the risks of voting no, they add.
 

“If you are worried about your next election, the present vote gives you political cover,” said Kent D. Redfield, a professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “This is an option that does not exist in every state and reflects Illinois political culture.”

He even voted present over popular measures supported by the vast majority of his fellow legislators:  

“Voting present was a way to satisfy those two competing interests,” Ms. Radogno said in a telephone interview.


Thom Mannard, director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said political calculation could have figured in that vote.


“If he voted a flat-out no,” Mr. Mannard said, “somebody down the road could say Obama took this vote and was soft on crime.”

And he even voted present on these two common-sense measures:

Mr. Obama was also the sole present vote on a bill that easily passed the Senate that would require teaching respect for others in schools. He also voted present on a measure to prohibit sex-related shops from opening near schools or places of worship. It passed the Senate.

Was Obama just a placeholder in the Illinois State Senate as his vision extended beyond Springfield? Did he neglect his duties as a State legislator? If so, history seems to be repeating itself.

He has been criticized for missing a string of votes in the United States Senate as he barnstorms around the nation to bolster his Presidential campaign (his absence on key votes in the Senate has become a source of consternation and has played a part in the inability of Senate Democrats to push their agenda). If Obama cannot take a stand when delaing with comparatively trivial state issues how will he perform as a President when dealing with decisions with a wordlwide impact? Will he freeze then? Will he be neglecting the need to take steps to benefit America because he is entranced with the possibility of winning the Nobel Peace Prize?

Political calculation is not a hallmark of Presidential leadership. Refusing to take a stand is not a profile in courage-a particularly apt comparison since so many view Barack Obama as John F. Kennedy's heir apparent (including Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorensen who has signed onto Obama's campaign and is following him around on the hustings).


The well-regarded The Hill newspaper also has an article today that reveals Obama's hypocrisy  After campaigning on the theme that he will bring lobbyists to heel comes the disclosure that three political aides on Obama's campaign payroll are registered lobbyists for dozens of corporations..including those of British Petroleum, Wal-Mart, and Lockheed Martin. These three corporation, by the way, could fairly be considered by Democrats as the "unholy trinity" of corporate America.

Wal-Mart has been routinely bashed by underpaying its workers-refusing to pay fair wages and provide health care coverage-as well as exploiting low-wage laborers in overseas markets that provide its stores with goods. Lockheed Martin is a defense contractor-otherwise known as a "war profiteer" by Democrats. British Petroleum is a carbon emitter who is polluting the planet, while raping it of its resources and reaping outsized profits by exploiting the public.


As the Hill notes:

The presence of political operatives with long client lists on Obama’s campaign contrasts with his long-held stand of campaigning against the influence of special interests. Obama has even refused to accept contributions from lobbyists or political action committees (PACs).

 The Hill forgets to note that Obama accepted money from lobbyists as a State Senator and has found convenient loopholes to do so again as a United States Senator.


What do these articles reveal? That Obama's front-runner status will invite inquiries into his record. However, it reveals much more. The candidate who campaigns on "leadership" and "clean government" may very offer neither. The charges of cynicism and hypocrisy that Obama routinely charges others with may merely be a smoke screen to cover up his own flaws. The man who can project his voice so well in an auditorium may also be demonstrating projection-the defensive mechanism at work when one attributes one's own unacceptable attributes to others.