Friday, May 02, 2008

Obama: Does His Failure to Develop as a Candidate Reveal Fundamental Character Flaws?

If Barack Obama is elected President in November, he may end up being the gift that keeps on giving to the Republican party. Obama's failure to develop as a candidate may well translate into a presidency that will insure that I will never again see another Democrat elected as President of the United States in my lifetime. For a long time I have maintained that Obama wasn't yet ready for a Presidential run, needing more time in the Senate for seasoning, and nothing has demonstated that more clearly than the flap over Obama's minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Today, Charles Krauthammer puts his finger on just what's wrong with Barack Obama's candidacy

This 20-year association with Wright calls into question everything about Obama: his truthfulness in his serially adjusted stories of what he knew and when he knew it; his judgment in choosing as his mentor, pastor and great friend a man he just now realizes is a purveyor of racial hatred; and the central
premise of his campaign, that he is the bringer of a "new politics," rising
above the old Washington ways of expediency. It's hard to think of an act
more blatantly expedient than renouncing Wright when his show, once done
from the press club instead of the pulpit, could no longer be 'contextualized' as
something whites could not understand and only Obama could explain in all its

Michael Gerson weighs in on the perils of Barack Obama's condesceding attitude toward Rev. Wright:

Wright may be a camera-seeking egotist. He is certainly a showman,
enjoying his moment. But his main argument seems to be: "No, Barack, I actually
hold these theological convictions. You may need to attack me for political
reasons. But don't you dare dismiss me as a batty uncle."

The mainstream media is slowly catching on with the genuine problems Barack Obama's candidacy poses. These problems have nothing to do with race and everything to do with the man who Obama is--or isn't. I remain sure that if Obama had been able to contain his ambition and spent the necessary years in the Senate learning the craft of national politics, the type of problem which plagues him today would have never occurred. There is a real question whether the Obama who is being sold by his crack campaign team is an entirely different version from Obama the man. Nothing underscores that more than Obama's failure to develop as a candidate. The Obama of today seems far lesser than the Obama of a year ago, and that is a genuine problem indeed.

The failure of the media to scrutinize Obama early in the game was a matter of infatuation with a relatively unknown candidate, not because Obama had no flaws. Were those flaws visible early on? As I saw the issue, the answer was yes. To test my theory I went searching in my own blog archives. I was amazed at what I found. Certainly, as Illinois' senator there was a great deal more press available in Illinois than elsewhere. Nearly a year and a half ago, in January, 2007, I questioned how Obama could be so out of touch with the American electorate. Still an issue. In February of 2007, I raised the issue of Rev. Wright, still an issue. By March, 2007 I was questioning Barack Obama's lack of judgment and self importance, still an issue. In a campaign cycle, January, 2007 until now is a very long time. The issues that have arisen just in the last couple of weeks are issues that have persisted from the beginning. Has anything changed?

The "bitter Americans" who cling to their guns and religion do, as a general rule, like both ministers and Marines, both of which Rev. Wright is. In their minds, Barack Obama should have been paying better attention to Rev. Wright's political viewpoints over the past twenty years, rather than using him for political advantage and breaking with him when convenient. For them, it is not only a failure to develop as a candidate, it is a failure of character.


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