A Question of Character - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Question of Character

“A man running for the Presidency must talk up, way up there.”

He also has to tell the truth.

The fact that Illinois Senator Barack Obama doesn’t grasp the first point, made by John F. Kennedy to his friend Theodore H. White at the close of White’s classic The Making of the President 1960, and simply ignores the second, is providing those of us here in Pennsylvania a startling look at two repeated behavioral patterns of a man who would be president.


As I write, Obama is running ads here in Pennsylvania in which he says:

“I’m Barack Obama. I don’t take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists…”

Uh-huh. Says the Annenberg Political Fact Check:

“Obama has accepted more than $213,000 from individuals who work for companies in the oil and gas industry and their spouses.”

“Two of Obama’s bundlers are top executives at oil companies and are listed on his Web site as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for the presidential hopeful.”

If you follow the link here to Oil Change International, a site that tracks contributions from the oil industry to politicians, you can even discover the Obama contributors by oil company name, title and precise individual amounts. Hint: do the names Exxon-Mobile, BP and Hess ring a bell?

Then there’s the business of attacking those big, bad pharmaceutical companies, from whom Obama doesn’t take money either:

A quick trip to OpenSecrets.org shows that Obama outstripped all candidates of both parties in the category of financial contributions from “Pharmaceuticals and Health Products,” racking up an impressive $528,765 in contributions.

If that’s not enough, check in with the folks over at Investor’s Business Daily and up pop these two gems:

“The Washington Times reports that while Sen. Obama has said he won’t accept money from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA), he has accepted “tens of thousands” from partners at Covington & Burling LLP, which was paid nearly a half-million dollars to lobby for PhRMA last year.”


“The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reports that partners at Covington & Burling have given Obama $25,000 in contributions and $10,560 since October. Covington & Burling lawyer Eric Holder, a former top deputy in the Clinton Justice Department, gave $4,600.”

This is truly an amazing if cynical sight to see. A candidate for president who is running on a platform of change looks the camera directly in the eye and brazenly tells a blatant untruth that he knows is a blatant untruth. Hoping, presumably, that in this day and age of the Internet there’s such an avalanche of stuff out there that no one will pay it any attention. Wrong.

Where else has this Obama pattern been seen at work?

Iraq: Obama attacks Senator John McCain for saying the following at a New Hampshire town hall meeting: “President Bush has talked about our staying for 50 years, maybe 100. We’ve been in Japan for 60 years, in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or killed.” In spite of the fact that McCain’s comments were captured on video and in context from beginning to end, Obama deliberately misrepresents the statement by saying this at a town hall meeting of his own here in Pennsylvania.: “John McCain wants to continue a war in Iraq perhaps as long as 100 years.” In other words, tape or no tape, Obama simply told his audience something that was not true, that something being that McCain wanted a 100-year war in Iraq.

Campaign Financing: Obama commits to accepting public campaign financing were he to win the Democratic nomination, the identical commitment made by Senator McCain on the Republican side. Now, suddenly and unexpectedly close to victory, Obama reneges, saying the system is “creaky” and that he may not participate. Leaving a rarely startled McCain to say in astonishment: “He committed to it….in direct contradiction to his rhetoric, he’s now saying well he may not do it.

The UCC and the IRS: Obama accepts an invitation to appear at the General Synod of his United Church of Christ denomination saying he will only speak about his “faith journey.” Instead he campaigns for president from the pulpit, gets the church socked with an IRS investigation, then says he never discussed his campaign — in spite of both video and transcripts that show this not to be true.

With this first pattern of telling repeated falsehoods coming into view, the obvious question is why? Why does he do this? Or what makes him do this? Here again are a telltale series of signs about a second Obama pattern.


With the Almighty secularized out of the way, what is it that liberalism worships? Power. Raw political power. As much as it can possibly accumulate. Do they want that power over the rich? Sure. But as many have come to understand over the years, the left also wants power over the poor. Over the working class. Over the middle class. Over everybody — else. Except, of course, their like-minded souls. And when in the company of like-minded souls, Obama is apparently unable to see any problems. Which would explain:

* Obama’s lack of alarm at serving on the board of a foundation with the un-repentant Weatherman William Ayres, who has said “I don’t regret setting bombs…I feel we didn’t do enough.”

* Obama attends the UCC Trinity Church in Chicago and says for 20 years he never knew pastor Jeremiah Wright was preaching the kind of sermons now so vividly documented on the DVD’s supplied by the church itself, sermons widely described as racist.

* Obama praises abortion by saying that having a baby is “punishment.”

* Michelle Obama’s statement that this is the first time in her adult life she’s had anything to be proud of as an American.

Thoughts that he should not serve on a board with Ayres or that he should use his power as a Trinity UCC member to get his pastor dismissed — a power the UCC gives its members — apparently never occurred to Obama. It is reasonable to ask why. The answer, based not only on Obama’s lack of reaction in these two cases but, with the other recent incidents declaiming against babies as “punishment” and his wife’s inability to see any reason up until the Obama campaign to be proud of America are what Wall Street types might call “leading indicators.” Surefire signs that this is a man with a reflexively far-left wing ideology, so reflexive that Obama himself doesn’t even recognize the signals he or his wife or his minister or Ayres send by their own statements and actions — or lack thereof.

Which would also explain his latest dustup causing a stir here in Pennsylvania. Read again the remark that Obama has already tried to apologize for, something he has said “everybody knows is true.”

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them….And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not,” he said.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” he also said.

The thinking here is clear. Crystal clear. Obama has clarified that his views are an “underlying truth.” They are also stunningly condescending, something JFK warned against. Particularly are they so towards blue collar and small town Pennsylvanians.

IN THE OBAMA WORLD (and note he said this in San Francisco, not in Altoona), the thought honestly just doesn’t occur that someone in Pennsylvania towns like Juniata or Chambersburg or Bedford or Forest City or Warren could own a gun for the sheer joy of hunting on a crisp late fall day in the woods of Pennsylvania. Or even because one believes passionately in a Second Amendment right to do so. Or, gasp, because in the pursuit of happiness one just loves to shoot a gun! No, all those hunters you see in the huge swaths of Penn’s woods are tramping around in their fashionable camouflage and bright orange come deer season because, in Obama’s leftist world, they must have some sort of “frustration” that can only be soothed by clinging to guns. In heaven, the sound is heard of Charlton Heston laughing.

Having already displayed a mind-boggling elitist view of Pennsylvania gun owners, Obama wanders on to reveal an elitist’s thoughts on our religion. He quite seriously believes Pennsylvanians “cling” to religion out of the same kind of bitterness that has them clutching guns in their warm, very much alive hands. One wonders whether the Senator has ever bothered to ponder that those of us who attend churches in small Pennsylvania towns do so not because of the Marxian inanity that religion is the opiate of the masses but because we are the lineal descendants of William Penn and his Quakers. Penn’s followers came to Pennsylvania intent on the words of English Quaker George Fox: “My friends…going over to plant, and make outward plantations in America, keep your own plantations in your hearts, with the spirit and power of God, that your own vines and lilies be not hurt.” As historian Daniel Boorstin noted in The Americans: The Colonial Experience, the very insistence “on a belief in equality” that was instilled by the first Pennsylvanians came out of — and is maintained today — precisely because so many Pennsylvanians of all faiths saw their churches as a place to nourish and care for the “inward plantation” that is a human soul believing both in an Almighty God and the liberty of all men and women.

These views are alien doctrine to Obama and his wife Michelle, both well-educated and well-paid liberal elitists, for a reason that has been abundantly clear to Americans since about 1968. The moral core of modern liberalism has been hollowed out, the heart once vibrantly represented by FDR and JFK replaced by a bleak and soulless view of the world that not only gives a pass to the racism of a Jeremiah Wright or the bomb setting of a William Ayres it never blinks at the telling of falsehoods designed to gain the heights of power. Political power is the only god left for liberalism to worship. It may be sought with bombs by Ayers, racism by Wright or by Obama’s simply never blinking as he tells an increasingly longer list of outright falsehoods.

But in the end, the question that keeps coming back into view is always the same. Every time an Obama commercial sails on to a Pennsylvania television screen, that question — and the patterns that raise it — becomes more insistent. It is a question of character.

Based on what we are seeing here in Pennsylvania, all by itself that one question should disturb.

A lot.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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