My job is to tell you about what’s going in the election, not to tell you how to vote. But a thought or two in the final 24 hours, for those who have convinced themselves that Obama is really a moderate…
Obama says he’s going to go through the budget, line by line, and eliminate unnecessary programs. But he’s never done this in the Senate.
He says he’s going to cut taxes on the middle class. He said he would do this when he was running for the Senate in 2004. He never even introduced a bill to do it.
He says he’s going to limit tax increases to those making more than $250,000. If that’s his line in the sand, one wonders why he voted for a (nonbinding) budget proposal that raised taxes for those making $42,000 and up. And you wonder how hard he’s going to fight to preserve the Bush tax cuts when they reach their expiration date of January 1, 2011.
He sometimes talks about replacing race-based affirmative action with class-based affirmative action. Again, no bill introduction or serious effort to change federal policies.
He says he supports merit pay for teachers, in opposition to the teachers’ unions. Again, no bill introduction or co-sponsorship. His “support” means he mentions it in a speech.
Obama is frequently painted as a reformer by his supporters and himself, at times. Read Freddoso’s book, and see how often and how quickly he knuckled under when the Chicago machine wanted its way. In the end, it’s easier to tell lawmakers they have to stand instead of sit when they’re eating on a lobbyist’s dime.
Obama says he opposes the Fairness Doctrine. If he vetoes that bill, I will become a vocal and enthusiastic supporter of him for that act that day. But how much are you willing to bet that Obama will stand up to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to defend the First Amendment rights of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity?
He has not indicated support for the proposal before the House Financial Services Committee to eliminate the tax benefits for 401(k)s, effectively destroying them (why put money in them if there is no tax advantage?), nor Barney Frank’s proposed 25 percent cut in defense spending. The question is, will a man who has refused to have a “Sistah Souljah moment” standing up to his own party in the campaign suddenly have them after taking the oath of office?
We know this phenomenon. We know it personally, in fact. Obama’s righty or centrist-sounding pledges – I’m gonna eliminate wasteful spending! I’m gonna cut taxes on 95 percent of Americans! I’m gonna reform affirmative action and pay teachers based on merit! — when he’s never fought for these policies before are the same as our perennially-unkept New Year’s Resolutions. “This is the year I lose those ten pounds, quit smoking, quit drinking, clean out the attic, pay off my credit card debt,” etc.
Defying your party is hard; this is one of the reasons Obama does it so rarely, and only when the stakes are so limited.
If Obama becomes president, and ends up being the bulwark against bad, far-left ideas from Pelosi and Reid, I’ll shout from the rooftops early and often that I underestimated the man. But right now, there’s nothing in his history to suggest that Obama would be anything but a rubber stamp for what came out of a heavily-Democratic Congress.