Cal  Thomas

"The real Obama? Š Fundamentally, he is a big-government redistributionist," says Kurtz, who offers examples of Obama's partisan Illinois legislative record. Included are his writings for and coverage by two Chicago publications, the Hyde Park Herald, Chicago's oldest community newspaper, and the Chicago Defender, once the nation's most influential African-American daily.

Combing through the archives of those newspapers, Kurtz concludes, "What they portray is a Barack Obama sharply at variance with the image of the post-racial, post-ideological, bipartisan, culture-war-shunning politician familiar from current media coverage and purveyed by the Obama campaign. As details of Obama's early political career emerge into the light, his associations with such radical figures as Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, Reverend James Meeks, Bill Ayers, and Bernardine Dohrn look less like peculiar instances of personal misjudgment and more like intentional political partnerships. At his core, in other words, the politician chronicled here is profoundly race-conscious, exceedingly liberal, free-spending even in the face of looming state budget deficits, and partisan. Elected president, this man would presumably shift the country sharply to the left on all the key issues of the day, culture-war issues included. It's no wonder Obama has passed over his Springfield years in relative silence."

Now there is substance worthy of debate. How does Obama's liberalism apply to energy, fighting terrorism, the economy, taxes, spending, health care and the proper role of government? And given Obama's past history of refusing to compromise on anything important, why should voters accept his "makeover"?

As for McCain, who does have a record of compromising, on what issues would he hold fast and never compromise?

These are important questions that ought to be at the center of the presidential contest. Unfortunately, they have been replaced with the silly, irrelevant and juvenile. This is not what the public was promised.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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