I just don't see it.
From the Trib:
Throughout his time in the Senate, Obama has followed a cautious path, avoiding any severe political bruises. Even before the national mood was turning on Iraq, Obama was a critic of the war, but for most of his time in the Senate he was not a strong voice in opposition. Similarly, the former civil rights attorney and University of Chicago law lecturer did not take to the bully pulpit to speak out publicly on judicial appointments. His strategy called for him to turn away from the cameras when he might otherwise have been a resonant voice.Yes, we must ask ourselves, "Why didn't Barack Obama spend his first year in Washington D.C. becoming the Dennis Kucinich of the Senate?"
Now, don't get me wrong -- I agree with Mr. Kucinich on nearly every issue. But I also recognize that he would have to moderate his message significantly to even qualify as "a lone voice in the wilderness".
The Trib informs us that Obama's actions since joining the Senate were the based on the savvy calculations of a band of political masterminds:
First and foremost, the Obama team placed a high premium on working well with others.Now there's a smoking gun.
Clearly Obama's so-called "cooperation" was a creation of this Machiavellian cabal. After his speech at the Democratic convention -- "[W]e are connected as one people *** there's not a liberal America and a conservative America — there's the United States of America" -- no one could have imagined that a Senator Obama would value working with others.
The Trib again:
Obama the candidate for U.S. Senate spoke out forcefully against the Iraq war. For most of his tenure in Washington, though, Obama the U.S. senator has not been a moving force on Iraq.First of all, let's get something straight: No Democrat in Washington D.C. lead public opinion on The War.
He left it to others to lead public opinion. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) emerged as the strongest voices against the war. Those critics all spoke out before Obama gave his first major policy speech on the war -- 11 months after he took office.
The Democratic base was against The War since before the 2004 election -- the Democratic voters had to drag their representatives kicking and screaming to an anti-war position, not vice versa. And the remainder of Americans has turned on the War due to the Bush administration's self-evident failures.
Perhaps nothing changed the nation's outlook on Iraq quite as much as Katrina and its aftermath. The Bush administration told the exact same litany of lies about New Orleans as they did about Iraq:
- It won't be that bad.
- It's not as bad as the media is saying.
- We're making good progress on fixing it up.
- The media is lying about what's happening.
- We're right and everyone else is wrong
It was simple enough for the public to apply the same analysis to the "Heck of a Job" in Iraq.
Second, even if anti-war Democratic politicians had made a difference in public opinion, it would not have made a damn bit of difference with regard to the Bush administration's actions in Iraq. Today, the vast majority of Americans believe that Bush is leading us in the wrong direction in Iraq and that we should be preparing to pull out. But instead, Bush's Pentagon is sending more and more military men and women into the grinder.
I'm a big fan of Sen. Obama, but anyone who thinks that his voice could have changed the Bush administration's course of action in Iraq holds Obama in much higher esteem than I do.
And third, what does Russ Feingold, a Democratic leader in opposition to The War in the Senate, say about Barack Obama vis-à-vis Iraq? The Tribune says he gives Obama "mixed reviews" but let's let Feingold speak for himself:
I regard him as clearly stronger [on Iraq] than Sen. [Hillary Rodham] Clinton, indeed than [former] Sen. [John] Edwards," Feingold said. "Of all the people I've worked with that are running for president, I think Sen. Obama probably made the proposal that was most helpful in moving the [Senate Democratic] Caucus in the direction I would like to see it go.Talk about praising with faint damnation. By name he says Obama is "clearly stronger" than the other two top tier Democratic candidates for President.
We should all pray for such "mixed reviews".
What other juicy bits can we pluck from the Tribune's expose?
A broader examination of Obama's voting reveals a decidedly liberal record.A Democrat who's a Liberal? One who supports workers' pay, science and free speech? One who's votes might be opposed by Republican critics?
He voted to increase the minimum wage, to permit federal funding of stem cell research and against banning desecration of the flag, votes that could become fodder for GOP critics.
Such a revelation.
Thank heavens for the Tribune's "broader examination".
In his second year, Obama began to make use of the bully pulpit that had been at his disposal all along.May I offer a slightly more accurate version of that sentence -- "In his second year, Obama began to make use of the bully pulpit that, in retrospect, may have been at his disposal all along -- provided the press did not decide that, by speaking out in his initial year in the Senate, he was an arrogant rookie who needed to be taken down a peg or two."
Not that the press has ever torn someone down after building him up.
Speaking of the press, let's turn back to Tribune coverage of team Obama's cabalistic machinations:
In keeping with the original game plan, staff members spent nights and weekends scouring the chapters [of "The Audacity of Hope"] as they rolled in, looking for potential political pitfalls -- a vetting committee Obama didn't have when he published his earlier, more provocative memoir.So, as a United States Senator, Obama is now writing more carefully than he did as a recent law school grad?
I certainly hope that the Tribune reveals an instance of authorial malfeasance on the part of Obama's coven of mountebanks...
For instance, when Obama was seeking to name someone as the epitome of left-leaning politics, an aide urged him to use a House member instead of a Senate colleague. So the book names now-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), though Obama's voting record is similar to hers.A party leader in the House was given as an example when he might have used the example of a party-member in the Senate?
How deep does this deception go?
Clearly everything Sen. Obama has ever written or said is now suspect. But the conspiracy of deception surrounding Barack Obama will be tougher to penetrate than the DiVince Code. The job may simply be too much for the press.
Someone get Patrick Fitzgerald on the phone -- this demands a full investigation!