“Senator Obama keeps telling us he’s going to change everything. So what’s he waiting for?”
Monday, September 15, 2008
So when, exactly, did it occur to Senator Obama that he was going to change the way Washington does business? The simple answer is that it never has. It’s all talk calculated to win the Presidency. How can I be so sure? For those of us who still believe the old adage, that actions speak louder than words, consider the following:
1. What’s he been doing since he was elected to the US Senate to convince us his commitment to change is credible, and to prove that his ability to accomplish change is truly something in which we can believe?
According to Senate voting data published by the Washington Post(1), during the 110th Congress Barack Obama voted with his party 96.0% of the time. Make no mistake about it, Barack Obama is an establishment Democrat. “If it walks like a duck…”
His party, not incidentally, was in control of both houses. To what end? Which of the new “agent of change” programs on his website has he attempted to put in place during the time he’s been in office? What, precisely, has he done to change the way our government operates? How hard has he tried? In what specific ways has he succeeded? Where is all the innovative, bipartisan legislation he keeps promising? Was that what he was busy preparing during the 291 votes (45.5% of the total) he missed during the 110th Congress? Too busy running for office, too busy talking about change to make any happen?
2. Why select the consummate Washington insider as his running mate?
For Vice President he selects Joe Biden for his foreign policy experience, a card carrying member of the Washington establishment Senator Obama insists he’s going to turn inside out. If he wanted Senator Biden’s advice, he could have had it from Biden’s vantage point inside the Senate where his power and ability to help a President Obama pass all that new legislation would have worked to his – and our – advantage. He could have made Biden Secretary of State or a foreign affairs or national security advisor. The fact is, he mistakenly thought that adding Joe Biden to the ticket would counter concerns about his (Senator Obama’s) lack of relevant experience, Biden’s “old school,” establishment background and relationships notwithstanding. Change had nothing to do with it. Picking his Vice President was just one more missed chance for Senator Obama to prove the substance of his rhetoric.
3. Why stop asking for earmarks?
In fiscal 2008 alone, Senator Obama requested 112 “earmarks” totaling $330 million, but none for fiscal 2009.(2) Now that’s a change alright, but why wait until now, until the McCain campaign calls him to task, his lead in the polls evaporating? If earmarks were signs of the old Washington establishment he plans to change, why not start by setting an example the first day he arrived in the Senate? In his first three years in office, Senator Obama earmarked funding for 326 special projects costing a total of $860.6 million.(3) That must have been before he had the epiphany that he could change all this squandering.
Senator Obama keeps telling us he’s going to change everything. So what’s he waiting for? The simple and intentionally sarcastic conclusion is that he’s apparently saving that torrent of change he’s been holding back until he’s elected President. It’s the ultimate “trust me” candidacy, but why should we?
(1) Senator Obama’s Voting History Published by the Washington Post
(2) CNN On-Line Article About Earmarks Requested by Senator Obama
(3) Taxpayers for Common Sense Study of Earmarks Requested by Senator Obama