Gerard Baker feels the burden of Barack Obama’s collapse. He has to explain to friends and co-workers how Obama could possibly lose the election, being the Lightworker that he is, to a 72-year-old Republican. His British colleagues attribute it to American racism or a beauty contest stemming from Sarah Palin’s entry into the race. Baker patiently explains that the problem is Obama himself:
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 has built his campaign on the promise of reform, the need to change the culture of American political life, to take on the special interests that undermine government’s effectiveness and erode trust in the system itself,
Politician Obama rose through a Chicago machine that is notoriously the most corrupt in the country. As David Freddoso writes in a brilliantly cogent and measured book, The Case Against Barack Obama, the angel of deliverance from the old politics functioned like an old-time Democratic pol in Illinois. He refused repeatedly to side with those lonely voices that sought to challenge the old corrupt ways of the ruling party.
His post-partisanship doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, either. As Baker notes, Obama has no track record of standing up to his party in Congress, either. His only real record of reform comes from a bill creating a searchable budget website, co-authored with Tom Coburn, and so controversial that it met no opposition whatsoever.
Obama asks the nation to take on faith that he will somehow become something completely different than the machine pol he has been throughout his brief political career. Meanwhile, he also asks voters to take on faith that John McCain will somehow become a carbon copy of George Bush despite a decades-long history of fighting wasteful spending. He wants Americans to believe that he has the superior judgment in time of war, and at the same time ask them to forget that John McCain got the surge right and he got it completely wrong.
That seemed to work, at least for a while, but Americans have begun to realize that Obama not only has little political experience, he has none in reform or leadership. Indeed, on both, he’s given some good speeches, but he’s never actually accomplished anything. Instead of beating Obama on the head with lipstick, McCain should be running ads that ask, “What has Obama ever done except run for office?”
Our friends across the pond may not like the answers to those questions, or want to recognize the yawning gap between Obama’s rhetoric and his reality.