Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Obama All Talk, No Action, on Foreign Policy

The Obama campaign is getting silly with the hysterical screeches for HRC to "Take it back! Take it back!" on the drug issue. Well, duh, you pea brain. Of course the Republicans are going to make you into the dog's dinner over that one and why shouldn't your opponents nail you for it? Frankly, I've been around a lot of "recreational drug users," and I think a lot less of you for sticking blow up your nose. I prefer people who have the sense not to do drugs in the first place. Deal.

HRC has been accused of murders she didn't commit, thefts that didn't happen, skulduggery that never occurred and sexual proclivities we can only hope she took advantage of, and she's not whining about that. Every time someone waves a little negative press in your direction, you have the vapors. If you are such a freaking panty-waist that you can't stand the bald truth about the political disadvantages of your own drug adventures, step aside now.

Of course, the deep problem here is that Obama is little except his media facade, and if he loses that image of wonderfulness, he will drop like a rock. His big foreign policy claim to fame, having verbally opposed the Iraq War, is consistently shown to be worth very little. Susan UnPC, on Larry Johnson's No Quarter blog, has a long and detailed post about Mr. All Talk, No Walk. Some key paragraphs:

Obama is rising in the polls because he’s expressing FEELINGS that people WANT to hear. People are worn down by the last seven years, and they want to believe what they’re hearing from a hopeful, fresh candidate. The problem is, it’s just talk. Here are some pithy examples of (1) Obama as the triangulator extraordinaire, and (2) Obama as a do-nothing — yes, a do-nothing.

A do-nothing? You can’t even find it listed at his Senate Web site, but Sen. Obama is the chairman of the Subcommittee on European Affairs for the Senate Foreign Relations committee. That subcommittee oversees “U.S. involvement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), relations with the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Matters relating to Greenland and the northern polar region are also the responsibility of this subcommittee.”...

Then there’s IRAQ, and Obama’s (and Oprah’s) incessant claim– as Oprah told the Des Moines crowd on Saturday, “long before it was the popular thing to do, he stood with clarity and conviction against this war in Iraq.”

In July of `04, Barack Obama, “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don’t know,” in terms of how you would have voted on the war. And then this: “There’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage.” That was July of `04. And this: “I think” there’s “some room for disagreement in that initial decision to vote for authorization of the war.” It doesn’t seem that you are firmly wedded against the war, and that you left some wiggle room that, if you had been in the Senate, you may have voted for it. (”Meet the Press,” 2004, via MyDD, Nov. 11, 2007)

“What would I have done? I don’t know” … “There’s not much of a difference” between him and George W. Bush … “some room for disagreement in that initial decision. …” If that’s not triangulation, I don’t know what is....

We Americans all love good orators. We yearn to feel our hearts soar with optimism. We flock to the “sunny” candidates like Ronald Reagan. We want to feel better about our country but — when we’re sober and reflective — don’t we really want the candidate who’s walked the walk.

Sen. Clinton has stuck her neck out — by voting against Gen. Casey’s confirmation, by voting against the attack-dog resolution against and by voting on the Iran resolution. (Yes, the last was controversial, but remember that she was the first senator to warn Pres. Bush against taking military action against Iran and that she partnered with Sen. Jim Webb’s resolution to require Congressional authorization before any military action against Iran.)

Sen. Obama failed to show up for the MoveOn or Iran votes, and in effect lied when he lamely told Wolf Blitzer that he didn’t know the Iran vote was coming up and didn’t have time to get back from campaigning in New Hampshire. (In fact, all senators were informed the day before that the Iran resolution vote was to come up the next day.)

Read all of Susan's article. She goes into some detail about the lengths to which Obama has gone to avoid having any kind of political trail, and the ways in which he has failed to take a solid and defining role in foreign affairs, despite having been given a plum chairmanship of a foreign relations sub committee.

The opening point is very good and echoes what I said over a year ago in my post Avatar Politics from May 2006 - that what is fueling much of the netroots energy is a search for politicians who will become avatars of people's emotional reactions and act out in ways that give the spectator personal emotional satisfaction. Obama is surfing the upside of this desire, to find some actor on whom we can project our fantasized best self, and has everything to lsose should people stop doing this. He knows he has nothing to new or distinctive to offer on issues.

The point here is that Obama's campaign is keeping the media narrative on trivialities beacuse every time a substantive issue comes up, like health care or immigration or the future of Iraq, he has nothing worthwhile to say, just weaker versions of what every other Democrat is presenting. As long as the story is Mr. Wonderful vs. The Wicked Witch, he's got an advantage. When he stands up next to her and is forced to address policy, he too often sounds like the slow kid in the class. Biden and Edwards are far better off-the-cuff speakers and HRC is second to none in the ability to make very clear points about complex topics. All Obama can do is yell over and over that HRC is going negative.

I don't want "Hope" - I want a seasoned pol with a proven track record of supporting progressive domestic policies and initiatives at every stage of her public life.



Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

What a good, spot-on post! I think the Americans who voted for Obama are people who simply needed a boost of confidence (and don't take it personally, i just feel these people are stupid) without seriously considering what he can really do for them and what he has done for them - which is nothing. There is absolutely nothing but empty hope and promises that a lot of politicians the world over have used over and over again. But it doesn't solve problems. Optimism without concrete plan, without action doesn't change things. You put a smart woman and charming man side by side - the world chooses looks over brains and words over action. Its a sad pathetic world we have and coming from an non-American, all i can say is - Good luck America.

Anonymous said...

I could not have said it better myself. Hillary has been fighting for the middle and working class during her time in the US Senate. She is a leader in foreign affairs who has approved funding for our brave troops here and at war. She, unlike Obama has taken an interest in visiting wounded soldiers. She will not increase income taxes for any person who makes 250,000 or less per year unlike Obama's 90,000 and up promise. Who is he working for? It sure isn't the working or middle class. We would not have SCHIP without Hillary's devotion to our nation's children. Hillary has fought for better education funding for our grade school children and college students in the Senate. Obama works against union workers unless it is convenient for him i.e. Las Vegas, NV. Also, his healthcare proposal leaves 15 million Americans without any health coverage. Hillary's plan covers us all without an undue tax burden on us working folks. Hillary is presidential material. Obama just talks the talk. We already have a lame duck President. He wants to get us to vote against our own interests, something he admired Ronald Reagan for. We do not need another Reagan. We do not need a war with Pakistan who have just been "hit" by the horrific loss of Bhutto. The Pakistanis need our help more than ever , not Obama's pledge. He is too wishy washy on the issues most important to mainstream America. Hillary will stand up for the middle class and has more to say than "hope" and "change". Hillary is my family's choice for thoughtful, decisive change.