Two Dozen Reasons To Vote Against Obama by Herb Denenberg
Here are two dozen reasons to vote against Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. I found one of my most widely read and circulated columns was the one on "Twenty-two reasons to vote against Obama" (Sept. 1, 2008) at www.thebulletin.us. So I've updated and expanded that column and here it is.
1. Sen. Obama says Iran is a tiny country that doesn't pose a real threat to us. Here is some of his exact language as reported by ABC: "If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance." That's ridiculous. Iran is killing Americans in Iraq all the time and sending weapons and terrorists to kill Americans among others. Iran has developed ballistic missiles and is getting close to going nuclear. And yet, Sen. Obama thinks Iran doesn't pose a serious threat to us, and even if they eventually do pose such a threat, "they wouldn't stand a chance." That is incredible nonsense of the first water. They may well try to smuggle a suitcase nuke into the U.S. or a dirty bomb of some sort. Why wouldn't that pose a serious threat and why would they not stand a chance? But wait a minute. Isn't killing and trying to kill Americans and American servicemen a "serious threat?" They've already killed Americans and others around the world.
2. Sen. Obama says the present financial crisis is the most serious threat to our financial system since the Great Depression. Yet, he didn't go to Washington as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., did to try to resolve the problem, and showed up only for the vote. He says, I have a phone, if you need me call me. The nation is on the edge of an abyss holding on by its fingernails, and he says if you need him call. Is that the way to handle a major crisis? This is another variety of his voting present more than 100 times in the Illinois legislature, meaning he doesn't want to vote yes or no, but wants to sit on the sidelines and not take a position.
3. During the presidential debates, Sen. Obama never used the word "victory" once. He also avoids the words "Islamofascist terrorists." Do we really want a commander in chief who omits the word "victory" from his vocabulary but incessantly calls for retreat and defeat in Iraq? Do we really want a commander in chief who refuses to use the words necessary to describe those that are now warring against us, now plotting terrorist attacks upon us, and are now killing or trying to kill Americans in Iraq and across the globe?
4. Sen. Obama keeps saying, "Put the middle class first." Do we really want a president who engages in class warfare? Why should the "middle class be first" ahead of all others? Why should those who are not in the middle class all come in second? Shouldn't all Americans get the same treatment regardless of "class?" In fact why is "class" even part of the vocabulary of presidential politics?
5. Sen. Obama simply won't admit he makes mistakes and turns away criticism of any kind as off-limits because it is the "old politics." Even when everyone proclaimed the surge as a success, Sen. Obama refused to admit it was a success, and went into verbal gyrations of the most extreme form to try to paint the surge as a mistake. One important quality of presidential leadership is the ability to admit mistakes. Sen. Obama lacks this essential quality of leadership and of honesty.
6. Do we want a president who voted for infanticide and murder? There is now proof beyond contradiction that Sen. Obama voted against a bill in the Illinois legislature that would have given an infant that survived a botched abortion the right to medical care. This voting position has been confirmed seven ways to Sunday, and yet Sen. Obama tries to lie out of it. This simply proves he is an advocate of infanticide and political lies.
7. Sen. Obama has the distinction of being the most radical pro-abortion advocate in the Senate. He has said, "The first thing I'd do as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act." This legislation would wipe out all restrictions on abortion imposed by federal or state laws, including the ban on partial birth abortion. Sen. Obama, who once taught constitutional law, thinks the chief purpose of our constitution is to legalize and facilitate abortion in all forms and in all circumstances without any restrictions or limitations. This is just one sign of Sen. Obama's extremism and radicalism that pervades his thinking, policies and associates.
8. Should the highest office of the land go to someone who campaigns as a race baiter and a race hustler? You've heard the sound bites from Sen. Obama that play the race card in various ways. Sen. Obama says the Republicans will try to scare you, as I have a funny name, and as I don't look like the other presidents. And then he adds that I'm also black. If that's not race baiting what is it?
9. Sen. Obama's tax policy shows that he is so enslaved to his radical, socialistic, redistribution ideas that he can't even set rational policy. His crowing glory of irrationality is a proposal to raise the capital gains tax, even though he knows that will cut tax revenue. He says that's because of his insistence on "fairness." Dr. Ernie Goss, an economist at Creighton University, said of this proposal, "Too bad that even the poor will end up with a larger piece of a smaller pie." Sen. Obama, the ideologue, puts his leftist ideology ahead of reason. Dr. Goss put this tax idea at the head of his list of the dumbest economic moves of the year.
10. Another one of Dr. Goss's list of dumbest economic moves of the year is the Obama proposal for a windfall profits tax on oil companies. This is dumb on multiple counts. First, it will cut oil production, as the more you tax something the less you get. It will discourage further production and further exploration of alternative energy sources. Second, it will put American oil companies at a disadvantage in global competition. Sen. Obama has a knack of packing a lot of stupidity into a single proposal. But he can't help himself. It's part of the Sen. Obama/Democratic Party reflex action to soak the rich, to tax and to spend. When you're talking about close to a trillion dollars in new spending, when you're promising everybody everything (health care, tax cuts, tuition payments, etc.), you have to stay up nights dreaming up new ways to tax.
11. Another wacky and unsound tax proposal of Sen. Obama's is to abolish income taxes for all senior citizens making less than $50,000. This shows Sen. Obama's radical, extremist approach as the idea has been condemned by almost everyone. Both the Brookings Institute and the Urban Institute panned the idea: "The proposal would exempt comparatively well-off, though not affluent, senior citizens from taxes and give them a benefits not generally available to working Americans." Investor's Business Daily (Aug. 13, 2008) points out that due to an array of resources seniors are now better off in many cases than their kids and grandkids. What's more the poverty rate of seniors has gone down from 35 percent in the late 1950s to about 10 percent today. This is just another reckless promise Sen. Obama tosses out to win votes and to please his far-left liberal base.
12. To appreciate the full stupidity of the Sen. Obama tax approach, you have to put it into a broader context. He wants to go on a spending binge, including such things as universal health care, just like Congressmen get. So he's promising everyone a Cadillac of health care at a time when we're under a budget-breaking, back-breaking deficit arising out of entitlements already on the books such as Medicare and Social Security. The total unfunded liability of Medicare and Social Security is now $85 trillion (yes, trillion with a "T"). And Sen. Obama is going full steam for even more entitlements. He hasn't figured out how to finance Medicare for those 65, and older, a program which is breaking us. But now he wants to dramatically extend that program to the whole population. You're supposed to learn to walk before you try to fly.
13. In case you think that Sen. Obama might leave one piece of the economy undisturbed and undestroyed you're wrong. He has proposed killing NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. He said that NAFTA was "devastating" and "a big mistake." One of his advisers told Canadian officials that his call to kill NAFTA was just part of overheated campaign rhetoric, and Sen. Obama has since partially flip-flopped, admitting NAFTA was at least a partial success. What he would do about NAFTA if elected is hard to say, as he lacks core principles that control what he says. But the unions oppose free trade so Sen. Obama will, too.
14. The best example of his total lack of core principles is his reversal on public financing of campaigns. Such campaign financing was about as central to what he claimed to believe as anything. He proclaimed his dedication at all times in all ways to public financing. Of course, as soon as he realized he could raise more money by not adhering to public financing, he shifted his position. This is just another one of his endless flip-flops that suggest his only principle is getting elected and advancing his personal interests. What would you expect from someone who came right out of the most corrupt political machine in America - the Cook County Chicago political machine - to which he is still attached.
15. Don't forget that Sen. Obama is at core a radical, an extremist, and a liberal. The National Journal found him to be the most liberal member of the Senate, more liberal than Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Edward Kennedy, and Sen. Joe Biden. He has surrounded himself with "political, social, and spiritual mentors who are so far to the left that many push the envelope on ideological respectability" (David Freddoso, The Case Against Barack Obama). You can be sure that if elected his cabinet and other appointees will come from that same group of liberals, radicals and extremists that he has always associated with.
16. Sen. Obama's record shows that he says one thing but does the opposite. His rhetoric has no relation to his reality. He talks about bipartisanship and bringing us altogether. Yet careful studies show he votes the party line almost exclusively, and he and his supporters are unable to specify a single time when he went against his party's call on any matter of significance.
17. Sen. Obama, among his many other qualities, is a certified liar. Perhaps the best proof of that is his 20-year association with Rev. Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright. He was a member of Wright's Trinity Church, he sat in the pews with his wife, he received the church's newsletter, he was a close associate of Rev. Wright's and even worked with him. He read the Chicago press, which often reported on Rev. Wright's raving and ranting, and yet when the media exposed Wright's view, he claimed he didn't know anything about it. This led to a Jackie Mason joke - he never listened even though he was there, he said these things on Tuesday and he was there on Thursday, etc. In fact, there is good reason to believe that Sen. Obama joined Rev. Wright's church because he was attracted to his beliefs. As Mr. Muravchik points out in an important article in Commentary (October 2008) titled "Obama's Leftism," "Obama, under pressure from the Hillary Clinton campaign, declared himself 'shocked' at Wright's vitriol. But in truth not only was he aware of Wright's views, they were what had drawn him to Trinity church in the first place." Either Sen. Obama was aware of Wright's racist and anti-American views for 20 years, or he is the dumbest man in America.
18. Another one of his noteworthy lies relates to whether he was ever a Muslim. Daniel Pipes has carefully documented his Muslim's connections in an article titled "Barack Obama's Muslim Childhood: How his deception about his past makes him unfit to be president." Mr. Pipes shows how he was educated, raised and worshipped as a Muslim in his childhood. Mr. Pipes writes, "Obama's having been born and raised a Muslim and having left the faith to become a Christian make him neither more nor less qualified to become president of the United States. But if he was born and raised a Muslim and is now hiding that fact, this points to a major deceit about himself that has profound implications about his character and suitability as president."
19. His speeches call for energy independence but his proposals and record call for continued energy dependence. Like the Democratic leadership in Congress, he opposes drilling and coal. These are the energy sources that dwarf what's in Saudi Arabia and could make us energy independent. His most famous energy initiative is to have everyone check their tires and tune-up their cars.
20. He has a remarkably thin resume, and seems to have spent most of his time in advancing himself rather than any cause or idea. In fact, those who have studied his career say that they can't find a single accomplishment of significance during his working life.
21. He has committed a series of gaffes that might have sunk another candidate. One of my favorites is his call to send the dispute between Russia and Georgia to the U.N. Security Council, apparently unaware that Russia has a veto in the Security Council. He said one of the first things he'd do is tell the Joint Chiefs of Staff to make plans to withdraw from Iraq. The Joint Chiefs don't even have jurisdiction to do that, as it rests with field commanders. Even after it has been pointed out many times he's off base on this, he keeps repeating the proposal. Another colossal gaffe is his moral equivalence between Russian aggression in Georgia and the U.S.'s liberation of Iraq.
22. As his own friendly biographer has pointed out, Obama is comfortable with anti-American types and seems to run with them. That may explain his objections to wearing an American flag on his lapel, his unwillingness to place his hand over his heart during "The Star-Spangled Banner," and similar suggestions of anti-Americanism. This also may explain his long-time association with unrepentant terrorist and America hater William Ayres.
23. Take all this and multiply it by 100. That's because the mainstream media, the largest media segment in America, has not vetted Sen. Obama and has acted like it is his campaign manager, not a journalistic institution. If the mainstream media had questioned and investigated Sen. Obama, based on what's come out to date, the record and views of Sen. Obama would get even more frightening.
24. When you cut through all the reasons, you come down to a candidate who is an eloquent windbag, who can deliver speeches, but who has dangerous ideas and dangerous associates, and who has demonstrated he can't accomplish anything but deliver fancy rhetoric. As the great columnist Thomas Sowell, whose work appears in The Bulletin, summarized it, "Obama of course has his usual answer: talk. Rhetoric seems to be his answer to everything." So if you want sparkling oratory containing empty words and meaningless generalities, elect Sen. Obama. With his speeches you will also get disaster on the domestic and foreign policy front, but you'll get an endless flow of pretty speeches. But they may not be worth the price of destroying America.Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org