Barack Obama: Winning at any price, literally.

“In case you haven’t noticed, one of the candidates is in the process of buying the Presidency.”
Monday, October 6, 2008

Senator Obama’s lead in the polls is no doubt primarily the result of growing concerns about the economy which usually favor the challenger, the party not in office. It’s hard enough for John McCain to distance himself from President Bush and his economic policies, or lack thereof. Even if he could, McCain is still a Republican and this mess seems to have happened on their watch. I say this despite the fact that the Democrats have been in charge of Congress for the past three years, during which they and Senator Obama, in particular, have failed to do anything about the conditions which precipitated the current crisis.

Without question, Senator Obama is even less prepared than Senator McCain to manage an economic recovery. He (Senator Obama) is just a better salesman. More to the point, there’s very little any President can do to fix the economy. Whoever’s elected need only wait a couple of years for the economy to repair itself, and then take credit for it. (Bill Clinton didn’t create the favorable economic conditions that we enjoyed during his two terms in office. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.)

The economy may be the primary reason for the point spread among likely voters, but campaign financing is also a major factor. In case you haven’t noticed, one of the candidates is in the process of buying the Presidency.

As everyone knows, Senator Obama made a point about favoring campaign reform and committed, early in the primary process, to taking public financing as did Senator McCain – only to change his mind when he realized he could collect far more if he passed on public campaign funding, which he did, unapologetically. To be clear, he allowed expediency to trump his commitment to campaign reform. He put getting elected ahead of what he had previous told us was in our country’s best interest.

It’s a disturbing pattern. All candidates, McCain included, show more than a little flexibility in their drive to get elected, but the changes that Senator Obama has been willing to make are particularly upsetting for what they suggest about his motivation and objectives, about his level of commitment to God and Country. For 20 years he was an active member of Jeremiah Wright’s church, only to dump the good Reverend when he became a liability. Twenty years is a long time. Likewise, he was adamant about the fundamental importance of campaign reform for our democracy until it occurred to him that he might be able to raise enough money to literally buy the election if he took a different course. As of this writing,* McCain has raised only $230 million, including public financing, of which he has spent $194 million so far. Obama, $454 million, of which he has spent $377 million to date – outspending his opponent almost 2:1 to buy campaign television advertising, mailings and door to door materials, and to fund campaign staff, special events and voter registration drives.

No experience. Tons of money. Promises, promises without regard to the feasibility of accomplishing any of it. And, perhaps most important, the moral flexibility to do whatever it takes to get elected. And we wonder why many better qualified men and women of higher integrity don’t participate in our political system.

*Dollar amounts are from an analysis conducted by http://www.OpenSecrets.org using data published by the Federal Election Commission, September 21, 2008…
Banking on Becoming President.


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