The Obama Enigma
Change . . . from what to what?
By Victor Davis Hanson
Why is the charismatic Barack Obama not quite yet a shoo-in?
Easy. Voters apparently still don’t know who Obama is, or what he wants to do — and so are still not altogether sure that Obama is the proper antidote to George W. Bush. After more than a year of campaigning, he still remains an enigma.Obama promised to be the post-racial candidate who would bring us together.
But when asked in March 2004 whether he attended regularly Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ, Obama boasted, “Yep. Every week. 11 o’clock service.”The healer Obama further characterized the racist Wright as “certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for.”
And Obama described the even more venomous father Michael Pfleger as “a dear friend, and somebody I interact with closely.”Obama can dismiss his past associations with Bill Ayers as perfunctory and now irrelevant. But why then did an Obama campaign spokesman say Obama hadn’t e-mailed with or spoken by phone to Ayers since January 2005, suggesting more than three years of communications — in a post-9/11 climate — after Ayers said publicly he had not done enough bombing?
Obama’s campaign shrugged when legal doubts were raised about the sloppy voter registration practices of ACORN — an organization that Obama himself has both helped and praised.
Yet Obama once was a stickler for proper voter documents. In 1996, he had all of his Democratic rivals removed from the ballot in an Illinois state primary election on the basis of sloppy voter petitions.
Many of Obama’s surrogates — from congressional leaders like Rep. John Lewis to his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden — have suggested that the McCain and Palin candidacies have heightened racial tensions. Do such preemptory warnings mean that one cannot worry about Obama’s 20-year relationship with Rev. Wright or long association with Father Pfleger?
And change? Obama himself has changed positions on FISA, NAFTA, public campaign financing, town-hall meetings with McCain, offshore drilling, nuclear and coal power, capital punishment and gun control, his characterization of Iran, the surge in Iraq, and the future of Jerusalem. So change from what to what?
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