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The Yawning Gulf of Barack Obama

Rational-thinking Briton Gerard Baker writes in the Times Online today that the reason the presidential race is so close is because there is a "yawning gulf between what [Barack Obama] says and how he has acted." He's right.

It's a pretty sober column, and worth reading in its entirety, but here are some excerpts:

This election is a struggle between the followers of American exceptionalism and the supporters of global universalism. Democrats are more eager than ever to align the US with the rest of the Western world, especially Europe. This is true not just in terms of a commitment to multilateral diplomacy that would restore the United Nations to its rightful place as arbiter of international justice.

It is also reflected in the type of place they'd like America to be - a country with higher taxes, more business regulation, a much larger welfare safety net and universal health insurance. The Republicans, who still believe America should follow the beat of its own drum, are pretty much against all of that.
This is of course true, and explains why Barry is so immensely popular with Europeans, young and old alike. Obama and the rest of the American Left are essentially the arbiters of egalitarian values; values which seem to work just fine for Europe, but which are distinctly un-American. However, Baker says this isn't the only reason to be nervous about Obama:
Even if you think that Americans should want to turn their country into a European-style system, there is a perfectly good reason that you might have grave doubts about Mr. Obama.

The essential problem coming to light is a profound disconnect between the Barack Obama of the candidate's speeches, and the Barack Obama who has actually been in politics for the past decade or so.

Speechmaker Obama talks about an era of bipartisanship, He speaks powerfully about the destructive politics of red and blue states.

Politician Obama has toed his party's line more reliably than almost any other Democrat in US politics. He has a near-perfect record of voting with his side. He has the most solidly left-wing voting history in the Senate. His one act of bipartisanship, a transparency bill co-sponsored with a Republican senator, was backed by everybody on both sides of the aisle. He has never challenged his party's line on any issue of substance.
If you're an Obama voter, yet still possess some capacity for rational thought, this could be devastating. If I were John McCain, I'd be loading my cannons with this ammunition. This isn't an opinion, it's a fact, and one that I'm glad someone outside the United States is mentioning: John McCain, as insufferable as he can be at times, is the only person running for president with real reform experience, and a resume full of uncomfortable positions which went against his own party's interests. Or, to put it in terms Mr. Obama can understand, "change from the politics of usual."

Of course we know Barack Obama had the number one most liberal Senate voting record in 2007, and has never broken from his party on the Iraq war, abortion, redefining marriage, health care, taxes, immigration, or any issue of importance to the American people. He's a dyed-in-the-wool Leftist who, until just a few years ago, no one knew existed. Baker continues:
Speechmaker Obama talks a lot about finding ways to move beyond the bloody battlegrounds of the "culture wars" in America; the urgent need to establish consensus on the emotive issue of abortion.

Politician Obama's support for abortion rights is the most extreme of any Democratic senator. In the Illinois legislature he refused to join Democrats and Republicans in supporting a Bill that would require doctors to provide medical care for babies who survived abortions. No one in the Senate - not the arch feminist Hillary Clinton nor the superliberal Edward Kennedy - opposed this same humane measure.
So it seems Obama does break with his own party, but only to run even farther to the left of them. Gerard sums up his analysis with the following gem:
The fact is that a vote for Mr. Obama demands uncritical subservience to the irrational, anti-empirical proposition that the past holds no clues about the future, that promise is wholly detached from experience. The second-greatest story ever told, perhaps.
As I've said before, as the Hope-ium and Dreamamine highs slowly wear off, and the enlightened and anoited drift back down to Earth, Captain Change doesn't seem quite so bulletproof anymore.

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