Obama Poisoning the Well
by Vox Populi, Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 09:14:36 AM EST
For those familiar with my history here at MyDD, it should be clear that I am no fan of Hillary Clinton. I have long held that Barack Obama is my second choice for the nomination, behind John Edwards. I saw him as the next best hope for moving beyond the polarization the Clintons offer.
John Edwards and Barack Obama are ideological allies. They are both reform-minded outsiders running against the system. Stylistically, they are very different, but the heart of what they want is (I thought) the same. But lately, Barack Obama has been poisoning my well of good will.
When Barack Obama decided to go negative on Edwards, who remains in third place in both national and Iowa polls, rather than continue his attacks on Clinton, who remains in first place in both national and Iowa polls, he made his biggest mistake so far.
Let's take a quick gander at the hypocrisy for a moment. Obama has lately been attacking Edwards for apologizing for specific votes in his record. Obama apparantly doesn't believe it's OK to change your mind in politics. But he does believe that it's OK to vote "present" so you don't have to take a stand on the tough votes, or to not vote at all when it comes to major votes like Kyl-Lieberman where he DID have a chance to walk the walk in addition to talking the talk. As it stands now, we have to take his talk on the matter at face value, which up until now I have done.
"Nobody's got a more progressive track record in this race," Obama said Sunday morning. "I'm not the one who has to apologize consistently for votes."
Never mind that his voting record, when he shows up, is almost identical to Hillary Clinton. He wants you to believe that the other candidates simply aren't progressive.
Then we move on to his attacking Edwards for the 527 issue advocacy groups that are spending on his behalf. Never mind that Edwards denounced the issue ads, and never mind that Edwards is the only major Democrat participating in the "clean elections" matching funds program, and never mind that Barack Obama has spent upwards of $10 Million in Iowa alone. Obama is attacking Edwards for non-affiliated groups airing ads, yet has done nothing to stop the "Vote Hope" campaign in California, which serves essentially the same purpose as a 527 by encouraging Californians to vote early for Obama. Not a peep about the corrupting influence of that organization.
Finally, we move on to the "Harry and Louise" ads being run by Obama. Coverage mandates are an essential part of the Edwards-Clinton health care plan, and indeed the first step toward true universal health care. And don't forget, the Obama plan doesn't cover 15 Million Americans. That's 15 Million uninsured people, yet he still claims the coverage is "universal." On top of that, he mocks people like me who are insulted by his non-universal health care plan:
"Fifteen million sounds like a lot," he said. "But what they're really saying is I'll have 3 percent of the population -- I'll have 97 percent covered." http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1 207/The_healthcare_argument.html
The "Harry and Louise" ads are remeniscent of the 1990's era insurance company-backed ads that killed Hillary's health care plan. They feature a man and woman talking about mandates and their impact:
Have you seen or heard about the radio ad that Obama is running in Iowa about health care?
It has a man and a woman talking, with the man leading off saying that health care mandates "force those who cannot afford health care insurance to buy it, punishing those who don't fall in line." http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12 24/obama-goes-harry-and-louise
What has always bothered me about Obama is his style. Is he willing to screw the party and screw our principles so he can get elected? It's the same thing that's bothered me about Hillary Clinton. I think she is so centrally focused on her personal ambition and development, and like her husband would run against and away from the Democratic Party and "big goverment."
But at least with Hillary I know what to expect, and know where she stands. Obama is still a question mark, and I don't want to get buyers remorse. And the more he attacks the true populist, progressive, anti-establishment top-tier candidate in the race, the more I'm going to grow to distrust him. As things stand now, I'm an inch away from Hillary moving back into a distant second place.