Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Friday, February 16, 2007
Obama the Present
Nathan Gonzales writes today about Barack Obama's voting record in the Illinois State legislature. In doing so, I think he's hit on my precise concerns about Obama:
Voting "present" is one of three options in the Illinois Legislature (along with "yes" and "no"), but it's almost never an option for the occupant of the Oval Office.

We aren't talking about a "present" vote on whether to name a state office building after a deceased state official, but rather about votes that reflect an officeholder's core values.

For example, in 1997, Obama voted "present" on two bills (HB 382 and SB 230) that would have prohibited a procedure often referred to as partial birth abortion. He also voted "present" on SB 71, which lowered the first offense of carrying a concealed weapon from a felony to a misdemeanor and raised the penalty of subsequent offenses.
Gonzales goes on to outline many of these instances where Obama didn't take a stand on many issues facing the state.

The last thing I think Democrats need is another blatant triangulator or a politician with a huge disconnect between presentation and reality.

Yes, I know that political calculations are cooked into the cake with all politicians. But there are degrees to which each individual candidate is willing to play the game. Bill Clinton might represent one end of the spectrum where a politician is always putting his finger in the air while Bush may represent the other end with a politician that refuses to respond to the democratic process. Ideal politicians strike a balance between these extremes and display congruity between the public presentation and policy implementation.

At this point my discomfort with Obama comes from the fact that his rhetoric is closer to Bushian politics while his record seems to be very Clintonian. That disconnect makes me nervous about the guy and his lack of authenticity.