Obamateurism of the Day

In yesterday’s OOTD, I covered the President’s criticism of Republican presidential hopefuls for not scolding the audience at the last debate for booing a gay soldier, despite the fact that the booing involved only three people at most — and Obama has his own history of not standing up when his own preacher publicly and repeatedly slandered the US over a 20-year association. This is what Obama said:

“You want to be commander-in-chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient,” the president told the crowd in reference to a recent Republican debate.

As Jeff Dobbs at VIMH pointed out after reading my post yesterday, there’s actually a better example of Obama’s hypocrisy on this point. Does anyone remember how Obama stood up for a man who wore the uniform when his political allies at MoveOn.org took out an ad in the New York Times to slander him as a traitor? OK, that’s a trick question:

When Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) cancelled a campaign trip to Rock Hill, S.C., his web site said it was “due to crucial votes in the Senate concerning the ongoing war in Iraq.”

So, why did Obama miss a key vote denouncing MoveOn.org’s recent advertisement about Gen. David Petraeus? The ad stirred outrage nationally for suggesting Petraeus was a lackey for the White House and disloyal to the country. “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” it asked.

Aides to Obama had no immediate response to queries about why the senator took a pass on the Cornyn vote, but the senator made his objections clear.

“The focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not on criticizing newspaper advertisements,” Obama said. “This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq.”

Obama later did criticize MoveOn.org for the ad — when it was politically convenient to do so while campaigning in a more conservative state, Missouri, during the general election almost a year later. Jeff comes to the obvious conclusion:

So Obama chose not to stand up for General Petraeus when it was politically inconvenient – Obama was in a hotly contested Democratic primary in which Moveon.org and the left/liberal faction of the party they represent was key to his prospects. …

The Betray Us ad was September of 2007, Obama’s speech denouncing moveon.org was July 1, 2008.

It is classic Obama – leading from behind.

And Obama self-righteously lecturing Republicans on standing up for men and women who wear the uniform when it’s not politically convenient, even as his own history shows that it is something he himself is not willing to do is another bit of classic Obama – cynical hypocrisy.

And basic pusillanimity, too.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

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