Saturday, July 5, 2008

Obama: New and Not Improved

The New York Times Editorial Page is now criticizing Obama for his swift move to the center. It begins with a complement (deserved): Senator Barack Obama stirred his legions of supporters, and raised our hopes, promising to change the old order of things. He spoke with passion about breaking out of the partisan mold of bickering and catering to special pleaders, promised to end President Bush’s abuses of power and subverting of the Constitution and disowned the big-money power brokers who have corrupted Washington politics.

The first point they make is alarming to me, more so than anything he has said or done since winning the nomination. The Board says: Now there seems to be a new Barack Obama on the hustings. First, he broke his promise to try to keep both major parties within public-financing limits for the general election. His team explained that, saying he had a grass-roots-based model and that while he was forgoing public money, he also was eschewing gold-plated fund-raisers. These days he’s on a high-roller hunt.

Even his own chief money collector, Penny Pritzker, suggests that the magic of $20 donations from the Web was less a matter of principle than of scheduling. “We have not been able to have much of the senator’s time during the primaries, so we have had to rely more on the Internet,” she explained as she and her team busily scheduled more than a dozen big-ticket events over the next few weeks at which the target price for quality time with the candidate is more than $30,000 per person.

This is the #1 point why I did not automatically support Obama and was with Edwards for a while because the numbers did not lie. Though, Obama was raising bucket loads of money over the internet he still was raising money from large donors. Since the nomination he has "eschewed" the internet and gone the way of all politicians. What will be owed after these? Or more aptly, what is already owed? How about flip flops on the warrantless wiretaps. Who only knows what else?

The Editorial continues to target him for these flip flops and blasts him for the faith based policies as well as FISA, but leaves two huge issues for the end: the death penalty and gun control.

It ends with this: We are not shocked when a candidate moves to the center for the general election. But Mr. Obama’s shifts are striking because he was the candidate who proposed to change the face of politics, the man of passionate convictions who did not play old political games.

There are still vital differences between Mr. Obama and Senator John McCain on issues like the war in Iraq, taxes, health care and Supreme Court nominations. We don’t want any “redefining” on these big questions. This country needs change it can believe in.

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