Barack Obama, the most vocal advocate for [fill in the blank] ever

Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft notices another pattern from Barack Obama — a tendency to see himself as a quasi-messiah on every possible issue. In an interview with The Advocate, a magazine for the gay/lesbian community, Obama says that he has been pounding the podium on behalf of gays more than any other presidential candidate in history. That reminded Jeralyn of another claim made in recent days:

Barack Obama gave an interview to the Advocate about his positions on gay issues. This leapt out at me:

“So I actually have been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history.’’

That strikes me about as credible as his comment about his record on anti-semitism:

And nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti- Semitism than I have.”

I’d call it hyperbole, except his exaggerations are not unintentional. He seems to really believe it.

What’s more, the advocacy Obama claims always seems to end just shy of the point of taking action. Obama supports civil unions but not gay marriage, because … he comes from a mixed marriage?

“I’m the product of a mixed marriage that would have been illegal in 12 states when I was born. That doesn’t mean that had I been an adviser to Dr. King back then, I would have told him to lead with repealing an antimiscegenation law, because it just might not have been the best strategy in terms of moving broader equality forward.”

He thinks crack sentencing guidelines are inherently unfair — a point with which I agree — but he doesn’t want to do much for that, either, as he tells the Boston Globe. Why? He doesn’t want to spend political capital:

“Even if we fix this, if it was a 1-to-1 ratio, it’s still a problem that folks are selling crack. It’s still a problem that our young men are in a situation where they believe the only recourse for them is the drug trade. So there is a balancing act that has to be done in terms of, do we want to spend all our political capital on a very difficult issue that doesn’t get at some of the underlying issues; whether we want to spend more of that political capital getting early childhood education in place, getting after-school programs in place, getting summer school programs in place.”

Medical marijuana? Obama will light up but won’t inhale. Again, Obama pays lip service to the idea of legalizing it, but doesn’t want to spend his political capital on that, either:

I would not punish doctors if it’s prescribed in a way that is appropriate. That may require some changes in federal law. I will tell you that — I mean I want to be honest with you — whether I want to use a whole lot of political capital on that issue when we’re trying to get health care passed or end the war in Iraq, the likelihood of that being real high on my list is not likely…

I guess we could call Barack Obama a political capitalist. If he only cared about real capital and preserving it for use in free markets rather than sucking it into massively inefficient government bureaucracies as he does about political capital, he might make a decent President.

Do we see a pattern here? Obama sets himself up on every issue as the secular savior who can deliver Hope and Change, and then turns around and says that he can’t deliver on anything at all. It doesn’t just sound like the kind of pragmatic wheeling and dealing that he has opposed as practically a brand since starting this race, but a lack of testicular fortitude. He wants to claim support for all sorts of issues without having to do any work to actually support them.

That’s not New Politics — it’s the same old song and dance. Small wonder he has to compensate with all of the exaggerated claims of advocacy.