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Posted by on Jul 8, 2008 in Economy, Politics | 19 comments

When the Bloom is off Obama’s Rose

Vacation offers a chance for reflection and introspection, (perhaps too much?) and mine has been no exception. While catching up on the news around the political sphere, I have found a heavy dose of my typical old cynicism sneaking up on me. A major portion of this has come about regarding the shifting tides of the Obama campaign.

While I still swear no fealty to either party, in the early days of the campaign I must admit that I had been swept up in a wave of hopefulness. Upon first hearing Barack Obama’s “Yes we canspeech in New Hampshire, I confess that I found my eyes welling up a bit. I was ready to believe that there was a glimmer of hope for a change in the typical politics which seem to corrupt our government more than helping its citizens. I began to bristle upon hearing the candidate’s detractors calling him “Barry HUSSEIN Obama” and questioning his religion and upbringing. I felt a temptation to overlook his lack of experience and say, “Let’s just give the new kid a chance here.” (Obama is younger than I, so I will take the liberty of calling him “kid.” Please spare me any accusations of racism or ageism.)

However, as time has passed, I have (along with many others, it seems) become dismayed by the seemingly random changes in Obama’s positions as the political winds shifted. I understand that the Obama team refers to these incidents as “refining” the candidate’s policy points, but come on now. If you refined crude oil as often as Obama has refined his policy positions it would long since have turned to high-test gasoline. I no longer have any idea where the Illinois Senator stands on gun control, abortion, public financing, FISA, NAFTA, when and how to withdraw from Iraq or the debate structure for the campaign. I understand that candidates will often “run to the center” after the primaries end, and it’s not uncommon. It comes from an old nautical term, where a sailor on a ship listing heavily to one side will rush to midships to right the vessel. But Obama’s actions have been more like a youth with his finger in a hole in the dike who is suddenly dashing all over as more and more leaks erupt.

Make no mistake, I have not been entirely sold on John McCain’s positions for every area either. I still have major differences with Senator McCain on important foreign policy issues, and am far too uncomfortable with how he might select Supreme Court nominees. On domestic issues, though, I’ve at least found some consistency in sensible proposals. Most recently, McCain put forth a fairly comprehensive economic plan which, while still having some holes in it, addresses many of my concerns. His energy plan, as I have previously stated, is the only one I’ve heard which includes a solid, long range plan while addressing the need for gap filling measures to get us through the rest of this century.

At this stage, neither candidate has closed the deal to pull me off the fence and away from possibly supporting Bob Barr this fall, but I must concede that Obama has launched a general election bid which seems to show him as something less than originally advertised. The bloom is off the rose, and Obama is showing me that, sadly, he really is “just another politician” and if he wants my vote, he will need to put in a lot of work to clarify exactly what I’ll be getting if I help elect him.

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