Barack Obama, Version 2.0
Now that the general election campaign is in full swing, we are beginning to see some telling traits come to light, which are defining the Obama political machine. In just over the last few days we've learned of several unique actions that can be chalked up to nothing but Politics as usual'.
The most shocking has been the revelation illustrating to what lengths the Obama campaign will go, and likely has gone throughout his run, to craft the Obama image. Politico.com broke the news of two female Muslim supporters of the nominee being barred from sitting behind Obama on Monday at a campaign rally. The volunteers that prevented the two women from appearing behind Obama's podium did not want the women who donned their traditional headscarves to appear in any campaign images behind their candidate in photographs or on television.
It's been pretty clear that the Obama image has been a highly crafted and closely managed one. But, events such as this coming to light, are very troubling - events which clearly show the lengths they will go to in trading decency and respect for people in exchange for that desired image. If this is how calculating and dismissive Obama and his camp will go with his supporters to further his political prospects, I'd hate to see how far he would go with those in opposition to his views.
Another notable action by Obama '08 this week is yesterdays announcement that Senator Obama will be the first modern presidential candidate to refuse general election public financing. In making the decision, Obama will refuse the $84 million from the federal government. But, he will in turn not be limited by the program to spending $84 million.
Obama has built much of his image as being a new kind of candidate' on the strength of his major statements in support of the public financing system in the election process - (See a retrospective from Politico.com right here highlighting the evolution of Obama's views on public financing). Any reasoning he states for his complete 180-degree turn, at this point, rings completely shallow. This shallowness in his decision is based on two major favorable facets of the race Obama finds himself in Yes, both reasons given are actually in efforts to further two advantages Obama already has!
The first is in relation to just how much success he has enjoyed with his private fundraising - through April of this year, Obama had raised an incredible $266 million. With this being his reality at this point, why stick to his guns? Why place the limits on himself under these advantages, when those restrictions and rules could just be for "the other guy"... You know, "other people".
Another one of his excuses he tries to use is his need to counter the political tactics that are surely to come from the GOP and the John McCain camp in the general election. It is no secret to anyone, if there has ever been any national candidate who has stressed his desire to keep a race issue-based and has wanted to limit "special-interest" ads (whether he should have any say in that matter, being another issue entirely), that candidate would be Obama's opponent, Senator John McCain. Obama could not have faced an opponent, even if he chose one himself, who could dispel his claims for needing to refuse public financing, better than Senator John McCain.
As this general election campaign is starting to shape up in earnest, so are the efforts to reimage and retool the democrat politician by the name of Senator Barack Obama an empty suit bringing us empty words.