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April 18, 2008
'How Obama Fell to Earth'
David Brooks writing in the New York Times highlights the rise and fall of Barack Obama. Once an almost untouchable icon of the "new politics," Obama has been exposed as a "conventional politician and orthodox liberal:"
He sprinkled his debate performance Wednesday night with the sorts of fibs, evasions and hypocrisies that are the stuff of conventional politics. He claimed falsely that his handwriting wasn’t on a questionnaire about gun control. He claimed that he had never attacked Clinton for her exaggerations about the Tuzla airport, though his campaign was all over it. Obama piously condemned the practice of lifting other candidates’ words out of context, but he has been doing exactly the same thing to John McCain, especially over his 100 years in Iraq comment. Obama also seems to be digging in his heels about his timetable for leaving Iraq. Brooks points out why this is so dangerous:
Obama also made a pair of grand and cynical promises that are the sign of someone who is thinking more about campaigning than governing. He made a sweeping read-my-lips pledge never to raise taxes on anybody making less than $200,000 to $250,000 a year.
That will make it impossible to address entitlement reform any time in an Obama presidency. It will also make it much harder to afford the vast array of middle-class tax breaks, health care reforms and energy policy Manhattan Projects that he promises to deliver.
Then he made an iron vow to get American troops out of Iraq within 16 months. Neither Obama nor anyone else has any clue what the conditions will be like when the next president takes office. He could have responsibly said that he aims to bring the troops home but will make a judgment at the time. Instead, he rigidly locked himself into a policy that will not be fully implemented for another three years. The voters are having their eyes opened about Obama largely as a result of the candidate's past associations. They reveal a man who does not share the values of a majority of Americans. This has turned off vital sectors of the electorate and, as Brooks argues, has probably made Obama unelectable.
If Obama is elected, he will either go back on this pledge — in which case he would destroy his credibility — or he will risk genocide in the region and a viciously polarizing political war at home.