Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 14, 2008
POLITICS: The Integrity Gap, Part II of III: Sen. Barack Obama

In Part I of this series on the "Integrity Gap" between the two national tickets, I looked at Governor Sarah Palin's record of integrity in public office - her battles against corruption and wasteful spending, even by the powers controlling her own party in her home state of Alaska - even when she was putting her career at risk. As I explained, integrity is not just about honesty - it's also about one of the crucial presidential character traits, toughness. Palin has proven that she doesn't back down no matter who she has to take on.

In Part II, I will look at Senator Barack Obama, who is easily contrasted to Palin because they have careers of similar length in both local and statewide office, in states controlled largely by their own party. I have previously explained here why Obama lacks every kind of experience that we usually rely upon to test the character of potential presidents and teach them the lessons they will need to govern, and I've explained here why the flurry of flip-flops at the outset of his general election campaign raises questions specifically about his toughness, his principles and his convictions. During the recent financial crisis we got a taste of Obama's leadership style in crisis: do nothing and hope he can shift the blame to somebody else.

Nearly all of Obama's appeal requires his supporters to take on faith that he will do things he has never done. But on the question of whether Obama will ever take a meaningful stand against corruption or waste in his own party or stand up to vested interests and ideological extremists on his own side, we have a certain answer: he has bypassed too many opportunities to do so already. To the contrary, Obama is so thoroughly marinated in extremism and corruption that it would be nearly impossible to extricate himself and still have a meaningful identity left.

Given the length of this post - at over 21,000 words, it runs more than twice the length of Part I and 33% longer than my entire five-part series on Mitt Romney from the primaries - it was necessary to break the body of the post into six separate volumes that follow this introduction:

Obama's Rootless Ambition looks at the influences that shaped Obama before he ran for office.

Obama and the Extremists looks at his relationships with left-wing radicals and how they were an integral part of his rise in politics.

Obama and ACORN looks at his intimate relationship with a network of community organizers with a pervasive record of voter fraud and deep involvement in the subprime housing crisis.

Obama and the Machine looks at Obama's long, deep and multifacted partnership with machine politicians in Chicago and Springfield.

Obama and the Favor Factory looks at Obama's routine practice of trading favors with his political benefactors.

Obama, "New Politics" and Principles looks at the illusory nature of Obama's "new politics," his absence of a record of fighting tough battles on principle, and wraps up and concludes the series.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)

If he's so unwilling to go against his party, how do you explain his FISA vote?

Posted by: AstrosFan at October 14, 2008 12:58 PM

Hmm...ACORN and John McCain...maybe want to think twice about the hate message on that one...

Posted by: AstrosFan at October 14, 2008 1:09 PM

Great work Crank. This is an excellent collection of the different issues that are mysterious to the MSM but not to those willing to dig in. I shot your collection of links to some undecideds.

Posted by: son of brock landers at October 14, 2008 1:52 PM

Obama basically caved on FISA when pressure was applied on him: he said he was standing up for his principles and wouldn't compromise them...then he did. It was not exactly McCain on immigration.

As for a video of McCain speaking on an unidentified date under unspecified circumstances to a collection of left-wing interest groups that support, yeah. He tries the olive branch approach with his enemies. You will note that nowhere in here have I blamed Obama solely for speaking to people - there's always more ties than that, a lot more. It's more cargo cult to quoque.

Posted by: Crank at October 14, 2008 1:53 PM

I Obama ties are real ties, McCain video saying "you are the people making this happen in America" or whatever, while speaking to ACORN, is not a real tie.


Posted by: AstrosFan at October 14, 2008 8:36 PM

Lemme put it this way: if you were a big fan of gun control, and you were worried about Palin being a lifelong member of the NRA, and Obama went and spoke to a crowd once that included some NRA representatives and said nice things about them...would that mean you should now be equally concerned about Obama? Um, no. And if you were, you'd be a moron.

McCain's not a former community organizer. McCain never gave ACORN money. McCain never trained ACORN organizers. McCain never supported ACORN housing policy. McCain never did voter registration with an ACORN group. McCain was never endorsed by ACORN. ACORN volunteers never worked on McCain's campaigns, and are not now out registering new pro-McCain voters. All those things are true of Obama. You can't possibly be making this argument in good faith unless you have a serious inability to think logically, you know that and I know that.

Posted by: Crank at October 14, 2008 8:45 PM

That was an amazingly comprehensive disarticulation of Obama. When the pieces are put together, the result is frightening.

Posted by: scalpel at October 15, 2008 4:23 AM

When you write up your piece about McCain, will you mention his unsavory associations, i.e., his transition chief's ties to Saddam Hussein's regime? If you care about Bill Ayers, you might care about this terrorist connection.

According to Huffington Post, "William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who heads McCain’s presidential transition team, was involved in a lobbying effort on behalf of Saddam Hussein around the same time as Clinton launched strikes against Iraq “to ease international sanctions against his regime,” as Murray Waas reports today.

Posted by: Steve at October 15, 2008 11:04 AM

Steve, doesn't McCain kind of have a history of supporting a war to overthrow and execute Saddam Hussein? If Saddam was buying his influence, it didn't really work out.

Posted by: Jerry at October 15, 2008 11:10 AM

That was some defense of Obama, Steve. You'd think that given the volume of these posts, you guys would have some defense of him by now, rather than the tacit admission that he is, in fact, up to his eyeballs in trading favors with machine politicians and left-wing extremists. Instead we get more of these cargo-cult responses, designed to ape the format while completely missing the actual substance. The Ayers stuff is about the money - Obama entrusting Ayers to educate children.

I guess your argument is that this is why McCain was...soft on Saddam? You seem to have missed McCain's sponsorship of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, to say nothing of his support for pretty much every hard line taken on Saddam by the last three Administrations. Like the Rick Davis Fannie stuff, that Waas article amounts to "McCain employs lobbyist who opposed McCain's policies."

Posted by: Crank at October 15, 2008 11:18 AM

Is it too early to declare John McCain the winner of tonight's debate by a slim margin?

Posted by: jim at October 15, 2008 11:45 AM

The argument is not that McCain was soft on Saddam, but that every politician has associations that raise eyebrows. That's how they get elected, that's how they stay in power. We discussed this a few weeks ago. I noted that McCain associated with Kissinger for foreign policy advice. In my view, that association is far more questionable than Obama's associations. Reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to your position, as the Court must do on a motion for summary judgment [that's an inside lawyer's joke for you non-lawyers], Obama's "friends" killed a few people, or hung around people who did. But my cross-motion for summary judgment shows that Kissinger is responsible for substantially more deaths at home and abroad than anyone that Obama has associated with. I don't care to debate this any further, but note that your "association" argument cuts both ways.

As for McCain's support for hard-line administration postures against Saddam over the last three administrations, I wonder if McCain protested when his patron said, Ronald Reagan, sent weapons and diplomatic support to Saddam during the 1980's. I doubt that McCain did raise any objections, but . . . we have debated that issue as well in the past.

Posted by: steve at October 15, 2008 2:23 PM

I'm sure McCain would settle for this election being decided by whether the average American finds Henry Kissinger more objectionable than the Weather Underground.

Posted by: Jerry at October 15, 2008 3:02 PM

See, Jerry, that's the problem. Americans have no idea the crimes that Kissinger has committed in his lifetime. It's easy to focus on a guy like Ayers. The objection to Ayers can be summed up in a 30 minute commercial. To understand the objection to Kissinger, you have to read books. How many Americans actually read history books? Very few.

Posted by: steve at October 15, 2008 3:04 PM

The American people didn't elect Kissinger, of course, but they elected and re-elected his boss. I think that, by definition, makes him different than a guy who decided to bomb the Pentagon based on his own personal opinions.

Posted by: Jerry at October 15, 2008 3:45 PM

I also don't think you will hear McCain at any point in a debate saying "even Bill Ayers agrees with me..." the way Obama did with Kissinger.

Posted by: Crank at October 15, 2008 3:52 PM

That a man like Kissinger still commands respect in our society is a sad commentary.

Posted by: steve at October 15, 2008 6:02 PM

Steve, you are entitled to think what you want about Kissinger. He certainly has some blood on his hands (more than the amount you automatically acquire by making foreign policy decisions, which inherently get somebody killed). But the discussion is about the political perception of the man. Americans have kept electing administrations that did a lot of the same things Kissinger did, so clearly they don't view him as a pariah. Thinking that is wrong is thinking the American people are wrong, which is by definition not a political winner.

Posted by: Jerry at October 15, 2008 9:33 PM
I Obama ties are real ties, McCain video saying "you are the people making this happen in America" or whatever, while speaking to ACORN, is not a real tie.

Posted by: AstrosFan at October 14, 2008 8:36 PM

The truly funny part of this is, you don't even realize how badly you are a parody of yourself.

You actually, truly believe that McCain speaking in front of a group that includes some ACORN volunteers and uttering a political platitude is morally equivalent to Obama working in conjunction with ACORN for more than a decade, training their workers, borrowing their workers for his own campaign, advocating their favored causes in the legislature, and funnelling $800,000 of precious campaign funds into their "voter registration drives."

There's nothing more to be said. You may as well go home, your credibility is gone forever.

Posted by: Plumb Bob at October 16, 2008 1:36 PM

This has to be the silliest tu quoque fallacy I've ever encountered:

"I noted that McCain associated with Kissinger for foreign policy advice. In my view, that association is far more questionable than Obama's associations."

Let's set aside for the moment that there's no shame whatsoever in associating with Henry Kissinger, a widely respected academic and political advisor. Let's just observe that this represents an attempt to compare a fine suit with a single thread hanging loose, with a threadbare army jacket on a homeless man. There's just no valid comparison.

Let me put it this way: try to find me an associate of Obama's from his entire lifetime, from birth to the time he ran for public office in the 1990s, that was NOT some manner of neo-Marxist radical. You won't find any. All his friends -- ALL of them -- were radicals. Not Ted Kennedy liberals, mind you. Radicals, the kind that paste "American Imperialist Pig" fliers all over college campuses, or advocate a Separate, Ascendant Black Nation based on imaginary black Egyptian philosophies. His mother, his father, his stepfather, his mentors, his college buddies, his professors, his employers, his churchmates, his community organizing associates... all of them. And even after he ran for office, all he did was add Chicago Democrat power politics to the mix. There are NO influences in the Obama lifetime, other than radical influences and Chicago politicos.

Now... do you really want to try that tu quoque nonsense? Or are you getting a sense of just how silly you're sounding at this moment?

Posted by: Plumb Bob at October 16, 2008 1:48 PM

Er... wasn't Sarah Palin just cited by the Republican Legislature of Alaska for unethical conduct?
And didn't she then deny the report said she was unethical?
And she lied (and continues to lie) about the bridge to nowhere.
Isn't that a major integrity gap?

Posted by: agorabum at October 16, 2008 7:39 PM

agorabum, don't believe everything you read on lefty blogs. The Alaska Legislature did no such thing - it's a report by one guy (I'll have more on that some time in the near future). And if you bothered to read Part I of this series you'd see that she is entirely correct to claim credit for killing the Bridge to Nowhere.

Posted by: Crank at October 16, 2008 7:46 PM

What an amazing body of evidence you've managed to collect here ! If the MSM only reported half the facts you've amassed then I'm sure Obama would never have made it to the US Senate, let alone be running for President. Thank you for doing all's reassuring that some people are willing to point out what the would-be-Emperor's clothes are really made of.

Posted by: Terry Johnson at October 17, 2008 1:18 AM
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