July 4, 2008
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Despite being a pretty loyal Democrat for the last few elections, I missed the boat on Barack Obama, failing to see in him what has captivated millions of otherwise apathetic citizens across the country. Initially, I think it was the lack of details behind his ambitious speeches and message of “change”. I wasn’t thrilled with Hillary, but she got my vote in the Ohio primary. Now that Obama is the Democrat’s guy, I’ve been trying to get behind him, but he keeps making it harder and harder.
First, there was the news yesterday that he was going to “refine” his pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months, which it appears now that he is quickly trying to back away from. Then today, I was reading an editorial in the NY Times (which Secret Storms, a big Obama supporter, kindly shared with me) entitled ‘The New and Not Improved Barack Obama‘ which shows him doing an about face on a number of issues that are important to me. I was shocked to read that he is actually talking about expanding(!) Bush’s seemingly un-Constitutional policy of funneling taxpayer money to religious-based organizations, in a move to attract evangelical Christians to vote for him. In addition, it appears that he is supporting the use of warantless wiretapping, a complete 180 on his previous position. Also, two issues that are big to me, gun control and the death penalty, he is moving to an almost conservative position.
Make no mistake, I’m not going to go out and vote McCain anytime soon. But at this point, Obama is looking no different to me than the John Kerry or Al Gore that the Democrats have trotted out the past two times. I just hate how the Democratic primaries are almost a battle to see who can be more liberal, and then as soon as they become the nominee, they quickly move back to the center to try to win the general election. I realize that this is might be what needs to be done to win a general election, but I’d like a candidate that can stick to their positions and not fold in the face of popular opinion. I’d like to think that Americans would have more respect for someone who has strong opinions and stands behind them than someone who will flip at the drop of hat to attract more voters. It already sounds like his apparent waffling on the Iraq issues is getting him some big criticism, and deservedly so. Hopefully he learns his lesson from that and sticks to the other promises he made during the primaries.