Monday, April 14, 2008

In politics, honesty is not the best policy

Barack Obama has found out the hard way that providing an honest opinion can be a real problem in the world of politics. At a recent private campaign event, Obama opined that some people in rural areas who have been victims of economic downturns have become bitter and cling to issues related to guns, religion or a distrust of those who are unlike them. Hillary Clinton and John McCain were lightning quick in trying to paint Obama as some sort of elitist who looks down on the "common man." It's pure politics. While Obama probably could have chosen his words more carefully, there are undeniable truths in what he said. There are a lot of people out there who are bitter because of their lot in life, and there are plenty of single-issue voters, folks who make gun control, abortion or an immigration crackdown the be-all, end-all when it comes to judging a candidate. Obama made a deadly mistake for a political figure: He gave an honest answer to a question. Guess what? People don't want to hear the truth from candidates, because the truth, as Al Gore might put it, can be very inconvenient. Some voters do their homework and carefully consider the pros and cons of candidates. But, collectively, we are a bunch of sheep who can be swayed by any charlatan who promises us tax cuts, full employment and a chicken in every pot. My advice to Obama would be to stick to the script and duck and cover if someone asks him a question that calls for a controversial answer. Just avoid a direct reply and spout off a few vaguely relevant campaign themes. If he's having trouble grasping this concept, he might want to try picking up some pointers from the competition.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If someone asks him a question that calls for a controversial answer. Just avoid a direct reply and spout off a few vaguely relevant campaign themes."

You mean like he's done throughout his campaign? There's absolutely no substance to this man.

April 14, 2008 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Sen Obama's comments have sparked enough interest to help the voters better understand this candidate. As time passes, and more of these comments emerge, the character of the man is emerging. I was one of those a few months ago that kept saying, "I don't know much about this man," but was also saying, "The election cycle is too long." I now retract the second comment. The time element has helped the voters understand all the candidates, including Sen Obama. I believe I know more about the man now.

His comments are part of the "everybody is a victim" mentality that has swept across the country. Promoters of this thinking has some leaders, such as Oprah, Dr Phil, and others of their ilk. The pattern goes something like this: Everybody is a victim, even though they may not know it. Or, if they they think they are a victim, they don't know the nature or the "why" of the victim status. The leaders promote the idea that somebody can dig around in a life long enough, they will find why a person is a victim, and who is responsible for the victim status. Then a finger can be pointed at that target, thus relieving the person of any personal responsibility because the blame has been moved elsewhere.

What Obama is saying fits the above pattern. The cause of the uproar against such comments centers on those who do not want to claim victim status. He claims the outcome of circumstances is bitterness. Then he cites the reasons why they are a victim, such as trade policies. This provides the target for their bitterness -- somebody else is to blame for their so-called victimization.

There are many of us who do not want others putting us into the "victim" category. We don't view life's experiences in that way, and don't want somebody else trying to explain our circumstances in that way.

His notion that guns and religion are the method of dealing with circumstances that created the bitterness. These statements reinforce his understanding of a system of beliefs, one that is not within the realm of Christianity. Since he professes Christianity, I have to presume that when he uses the term religion, he is using his own base of experiences to shape his thoughts.

A person called to be a Christian believes the fundamentals of the faith, regardless of job losses, or other circumstances of life. For the Christian, eternal destiny trumps all other considerations. His comments suggest that "clinging to religion" is primarily a way of dealing with temporal life, apart from eternal considerations. A Bible based Christian faith includes a life with trials, pain, suffering, and difficult circumstances. Sen Obama seems to imply that religion is a crutch to deal with the 25 years of job losses. The Bible never promises the Christian a life free from these difficult temporal circumstances, rather gaining a perspective on dealing with them.

I will reserve comments on the "gun" part of his outworking of the bitterness. Somebody else can carry that torch.

April 15, 2008 at 7:09 AM  
Blogger Dale Lolley said...

If I've got a gun, I don't need a torch.
Just kidding.

April 15, 2008 at 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First he was not answering a question, but speaking at a fundraiser. Second, to state that someone is clinging to their religion or guns is insulting beyond belief and has shown a side of his character that many people have attempted the mainstream media to understand.
His comments in Washington today about roughing it with a 3 BEDROOM CONDO and HAVING TO SCRAP ICE! Having grown up in rural poverty (and not really seeing it as a bad thing honestly), I realized just how out of touch this man from Chicago is. I have never been more angry and upset at a national political figure in my life. Worse he runs ads about being "President for all of America" His comments have proven him to be not only out of touch, but a liar for running those ads.

April 15, 2008 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I don't know...personally, I think that what destroyed John Kerry's bid for the presidency, aside from his lies, his record, his psychotic wife and his booooring personality, was the fact that he couldn't answer a question. Neither he nor Edwards could say anything that sounded like anything BUT a verbatim recitation of the bullet points of their platform.

But I have to agree with Brant. Obama should stick to the plan. In this day of 24-hour news saturation, ad libbing an answer can be devastating. Brant is right, too, in that most Americans are sheep who are willing to let themselves be swayed by the topic du jour. This whole election scares the hell out of me. Not because of this incident, but because of the lack of focus of the candidates as well as the voters.

April 15, 2008 at 9:06 PM  

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