Kathryn Lopez

There's a lot we don't know about Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. But there's also a lot we do. We've been in this presidential election swing for more than a year now, and I've been watching him since his big speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. We have his record in the U.S. Senate and the Illinois state legislature. In other words, he wasn't born yesterday. We ought to start paying attention to what information we have and stop projecting our hopes and dreams into his frequent, energizing -- but empty -- rhetoric at campaign rallies. Consider what we do know about Obama. He says he'll "immediately" pull American troops out of Iraq.

He took his daughters to hear the Rev. Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright preach. He and his wife chose to make Wright a part of their family's life and career; it was only after Wright was invited to Obama's campaign announcement that the offer was reconsidered and taken back.

Obama has the most liberal voting record in Congress, according to National Journal.

As the president of the United States, he would sit down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, one-third of the original "Axis of Evil."

Obama has said: "Listening to the views, even of those who we violently disagree with, that sends a signal to the world that we are going to turn the page on the failed diplomacy that the Bush administration has practiced for so long."

This all points to one thing: Obama is a radical left-winger, however saccharine much of his rhetoric is.

When the National Journal ratings came out in January, an Obama campaign spokesman tried to explain his score away: "As Sen. Obama travels across the country, and as we've seen in the early contests, he's the one candidate who's shown the ability to appeal to Republicans and the ability to appeal to independents." Liberal congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California said: "Instead of focusing in on what divides us, it's focusing in on what can unite us. People are sick of the divisions. Republicans I know -- and I know quite a few -- are very enthused by this guy."

Surrender does not unite our country. (We may not like the war in Iraq, but we also do not like losing.) Higher taxes will not unite America. Wright does not unite America.

Obama is not a savior, for black, white or any other American.

As much as the Obama campaign would like to think it is a problem in their past, the Wright issue will continue to be a problem for Obama. And it should be.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.