Friday, February 15, 2008

Setting a Few Matters Straight_ Why I'm for Hillary and not Obama. Part 3: Why I'm Not Sold on Obama.


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Obama, as I have pointed out in Part 2, is one of the good guys. However, if Hillary isn't the Devil, then Obama is not Jesus.

But he is closer to Dionysus, and he has his Maenads.

Apparently he has been Dionysus for a long time in Illinois. An April 3, 2007 New York Times article has this to say about Obama's fundraising skills:

Improbably, Mr. Obama, running as something of an outsider, wound up raising $15 million and winning that 2004 Senate race. Now that he is running for president, his fund-raising prowess has helped make him the chief rival to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

And later:

A look at his 2004 Senate race shows how he laid the foundation for his current fund-raising drive. Even as he cultivated an image as an unconventional candidate devoted to the people, not the establishment, he systematically built a sophisticated, and in many ways quite conventional, money machine.

The article goes on to say that Obama drew early support from Chicago's black professional class "using it as a springboard to other rainmakers within the broader party establishment."

His popularity increased soon after he gave his famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention bigtime fundraising soon followed. According to the article, though Obama wrote that he felt uncomfortable early on asking for money, he learned how to cultivate donors the same way he cultivates voters on the campaign trail. Good for him. No one is impugning his integrity. I'm just proving that he puts his political pants on one leg at a time - like everyone else.

For instance the Times article states that for the 2004 Senate race, faced with a self-financed opponent, Obama's donors weren't above exploiting campaign financing loopholes like giving up to $12,000 per donor:

As a result, nearly half of the more than $5 million that Mr. Obama raised in the primary came from just 300 donors. In a stroke of luck, he had just enough money to pay for a television advertising blitz in the final weeks as Mr. Hull’s campaign crumbled amid accusations that he had abused a former wife.

Well, lucky Barack! He impresses people with his directness and intelligence and aw shucks modesty. And he does know how to sell himself during a campaign. According to the Times Obama has a hold so strong on Chicago that Hillary, who grew up in Chicago, didn't even think of having a fund-raiser there during the all important first quarter of '07.

After losing the Congressional race in 2000 against former Panther Bobby Rush, he had to pay back a $9,500 personal loan and questions from FEC. He had to lend his own campaign committee $11,100 more to get back refunds to donors who overdonated.

Yet no sooner than the two years it took to repay himself, he was back on the hustings. At first, donors demured, but soon Obama worked his boyish charm, and soon Obama's support increased so that even the Pritzker family, founders of the Hyatt Hotel chain.

The Bacchanalia continued as heretofore Clinton supporters like Jesse Jackson, David Geffen and Michael Froman of Citigroup went to Obama.

Now that the Obama charm may also be viewed as a sales technique as much as a characteristic, let us see how plausible Obama really is well he sells his message to the public at large.

Obama  on Iraq

When we listen to our politicians get all eloquent about their own positions and strident about those of their opponent's, we often do not hear the unsaid omissions, indicators that have all the volume and pitch of dog whistles to our uncomprehending ears.

Thank heavens we have a few bloodhounds, setters and pointers who make it their job to sniff out the unseen, and hear the unsaid. Folks like the ones at are very impartial in uncovering the innaccuracies and sins of omission committed by both Hillary AND Obama. In this article I won't get into Hillary's mistakes. There are plenty of people more than willing to do that job. I'm here to point out where Factcheck shows Barack is less than honest.

Here is an excerpt from Factcheck on January 3, 2008 called "Obama's Creative Clippings:"

• Obama's ad touting his health care plan quotes phrases from newspaper articles and an editorial, but makes them sound more laudatory and authoritative than they actually are. //
• It attributes to The Washington Post a line saying Obama's plan would save families about $2,500. But the Post was citing the estimate of the Obama campaign and didn't analyze the purported savings independently.

• It claims that "experts" say Obama's plan is "the best." "Experts" turn out to be editorial writers at the Iowa City Press-Citizen – who, for all their talents, aren't actual experts in the field.

• It quotes yet another newspaper saying Obama's plan "guarantees coverage for all Americans," neglecting to mention that, as the article makes clear, it's only Clinton's and Edwards' plans that would require coverage for everyone, while Obama's would allow individuals to buy in if they wanted to.

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's ad on his health care plan has been running in Iowa. A hat-tip to The Washington Post for first revealing some of the twists in this 30-second spot.

Obama Writes His Own Reviews

The ad flashes a line credited to The Washington Post that says the Illlinois senator's health care plan would cut costs, "saving $2,500 for the typical family." But the Post didn't say that; the Obama campaign did, and the Post reported it as the campaign's estimate. The fuller citation from the May 30, 2007, article reads:

Washington Post:The senator's aides estimated that his plan would save the average family $2,500 per year and would allow those without insurance to buy it through a new health-care option that would resemble the one federal employees can choose.

Obama Strengthens His Own Reviews

The ad also says that "experts" called Obama's health care plan "the best," words that are attributed to the Iowa City Press-Citizen. We found the citation in an editorial from Dec. 19, 2007. With all due respect to the paper's editorial writers, they aren't "experts" in the same sense as, say, full-time health care researchers at think tanks or university professors who teach the subject. Editorial writers are paid to give their opinions, and in this case no actual experts were quoted.

But that wasn't the only time that Obama warranted special attention from Factcheck. Enter Obama's Creative Clippings Part Deux

On January 17, Factcheck again found it necessary to correct a new ad run by the Obama team, saying "The ad may be new, but we've seen this tactic, from this candidate, before:"

This is the second time in as many weeks that we've written about Democratic candidate Barack Obama's misleading use of quotes pulled from newspapers. This ad is running in Nevada in advance of Saturday's caucus.

Obama for America Ad: "President"
Obama: I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message.

Obama: I'll be a president who finally makes health care affordable to every single American by bringing Democrats and Republicans together. I'll be a president who ends the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle class tax cut into the pockets of working Americans. And I'll be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home. We are one nation and our time for change has come.

Universally Wrong About
Health Care Plan

The ad flashes the quote "Obama offers universal health care plan." That was a headline on a May 29, 2007, Associated Press story.

Correction, Jan. 17: We originally reported that the AP story didn’t include the quote used in the ad. We were looking at the final version sent on the AP wire that day. But the Obama campaign contacted us to point out, correctly, that an earlier version of that story included those words as a headline.

However, the story merely reported that Obama said he would sign a universal health care plan. The article goes on to cast doubt on the universality of his own plan:

AP: Obama's first promise as a presidential candidate was that he would sign a universal health care plan into law by the end of his first term in the White House. But there is some dispute over whether his plan would provide universal care. It's aimed at lowering costs so all Americans can afford insurance, but does not guarantee everyone would buy it.

It's an important distinction we've raised a few times. Obama's plan wouldn't guarantee that every individual had health insurance, just that everyone would have the opportunity to obtain it. The AP story also includes a quote from a representative of Families USA, a liberal group that pushes for expanded government health coverage, who says, "It's not totally clear that it would result in universal coverage." The ad even shows video of Obama using more accurate language when he says he wants to make "health care affordable."

But is that the most questionable creative editing on the part of Obama's handlers? No.

Obama's ad makes a big thing about being the first to oppose the war in Iraq. Once again it quotes AP when it says "Obama opposed the war from the start." But just as Factcheck points out AP does say this:

Nobody can dispute that Barack Obama opposed the Iraq war from the start and, with striking prescience, predicted U.S. troops would be mired in a costly conflict that fanned "the flames of the Middle East."

But nobody should accept at face value the Illinois senator's claim that he was a "courageous leader" who opposed the war at great political risk.

The truth is that while Obama showed foreign policy savvy and an ability to keenly analyze both sides of an issue in his October 2002 warnings on Iraq, the political upside of his position rivaled any risk.

And, once elected to the U.S. Senate two years later, Obama waited months to show national leadership on Iraq.

I could have used Factcheck's version of the quote, but they do make the originals accessible, so I went straight to the horse's mouth, read the article, and found a few more paragraphs Obama's ad omitted:

Courageous or calculating? These are the facts:

In 2004, while getting ready for his star-making address to the Democratic National Convention, Obama gave presidential nominee John Kerry and other leading Democrats a pass for backing Bush on Iraq.

Noting he was not privy to intelligence reports shown to Kerry and others, Obama told The New York Times, "What would I have done? I don't know."

Once elected, Obama didn't force the issue in the Senate. His first floor speech encouraged Democrats to drop challenges to the 2004 presidential election "at a time when we try to make certain we encourage democracy in Iraq."

His first major address on Iraq came in November 2005, when he said U.S. forces remained "part of a solution."

And even Factcheck missed this one:

Seven months later, he was voting in step with Clinton for a middle-of-the-road approach. On June 22, 2006, they both backed a nonbinding resolution to pull troops out of Iraq.
More meaningfully, they also rejected a bill backed by the force of law that would have required the troops to come home by a date certain.

Interesting that Obama's ad should fail to mention that part of AP's article.

And I suppose Obama's people also found it inconvenient to mention the article states that in his run for Senate nomination his opponents were also against the war.

A lot of footage on the cutting room floor.

A look at their advertising is one thing, but a look at their money trail offers more interesting examples of Obama's disingenuousness.

Once again I'll leave it too others to expose Hillary's bundlers. They are there at Public Citizen's White House For Sale site You'll find them right next to Obama's bundlers.

So let me just give you a small list of Obama's more interesting. Obama says he won't play any games, but some of his donors are players:

David Geffen


Dreamworks SKG

Amount Raised.
Bundler for Barack Obama, raised at least $50,000.00


Name Disclosed by Candidate

Mark D. Gilbert


Lehman Brothers

Bundler for Barack Obama, raised more than $200,000.00


Name Disclosed by Candidate

David Heller


Goldman Sachs

Bundler for Barack Obama, raised more than $100,000.00


Name Disclosed by Candidate

All I set out to point out is that:

• Hillary is NOT the Devil

• There is really very little daylight between both candidate's views

• Obama's "politics of hope" is at best unattainable, and since he's really still playing the game, how much does he really believe in it?

The man still puts his pants on one leg at a time, like the rest of us.

Here are a few graphics from that illustrate my point:






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