There is no doubt that Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama has clearly inspired millions of voters in what had become an arguably depressed electorate. His words have engaged many who might have otherwise watched the primary process from the sidelines those who were resigned to the belief that change is virtually impossible within America’s current political landscape.
“If we don’t inspire the country to believe again, then it doesn’t matter how many policies and plans we have,” said Obama on February 17, according to Bloomberg News.
True, words, even if some phrases are borrowed, have the ability to inspire the electorate. But it’s the policy that gets enacted that impacts and ultimately changes American lives. And when one takes a closer look at the nuts and bolts behind Senator Obama’s message, there are troubling signs that the change Obama espouses might be nothing more than beautiful rhetoric.
You’d be preaching to the choir if you wanted to harp on the Clinton machine’s flaws and scars and then, there’s always her yes vote that giving President Bush military authorization before the invasion of Iraq.
But, the Clinton machine has been, and continues to be picked and cleaned dry by the press, its past, its campaign tactics, its relationships have been questioned, blasted and torn apart by conservative as well as liberal columnists, pundits and bloggers.
The Obama camp has yet to be fully vetted by the majority of the press that seems almost shy about interrupting what many have called a movement. Those that have done their homework and posed legitimate questions about policy, relationships and other issues have often been met with arrogant, evasive and dismissive shrugs and a fiercely protective network of supporters who shoot down critiques of the anointed beacon of change.
According to a February 17 “New York Times” article by Kate Zernike called “The Charisma Mandate,” Obama campaign’s volunteer training sessions have a revivalist flavor where “volunteers are urged to avoid talking about policy to potential voters, and instead tell how they came to Mr. Obama.”
But it would be naïve to think that sort of tactic will work in November and it would serve Democrat’s interest if the contradictions and holes in the message were pointed out now, before the Republican attack machine brings out its own weapons of destruction and doubt.
Central to Obama’s message of change are claims that he is free of lobbyist influence. But in fact, he has been, and still is being funded by some of the same sort of interests and corporate interests as Clinton and other candidates through big corporate donors known as bundlers.
In fact, he’s received so much funding, an estimated $30 million per month, that his campaign appears to be backpedaling on a November pledge where he said if he was the Democratic nominee, he would aggressively pursue and agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.
“The Washington Post” said in a February 16 editorial that “this kind of backtracking and parsing is’t what the millions of voters who have been inspired by Mr. Obama are looking for.”
More telling, a November 2006 Harpers article “The Making of a Washington Machine” by Ken Silverstein quoted an anonymous Washington lobbyist, “big donors would not be helping out OBama if they didn’t see him as a player.”
“What’s the dollar value of a starry eyed idealist?” the anonymous source said according to the Harpers article.
No one can say for certain what kind of role that big money contributions would make in a future Obama administration but they deserve full airing and warrant further questions that require answers, not evasive missives from the man who might be President.
A February 3, article by “The New York Times” reported that Exelon Corp, the nation’s largest nuclear plant operator is one of Obama’s largest campaign donors. According to the article, Exelon’s support of Obama far exceeds money given to the other candidates.
The “Times” pointed out that Exelon chairman John W. Rowe has been an Obama donor and is also chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear power industry’s largest lobbying group.