Mona Charen

I am so excited by Barack Obama's new politics. Like Chris Matthews, I got a thrill down my leg when the senator announced his candidacy promising a "new kind of politics." As I recall, he said, "Our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, commonsense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions. And that's what we have to change first." Goosebumps!

You know how most politicians say one thing and do another? Well, Barack is different. He gave Hillary Clinton quite a dressing down during the primaries in the Rust Belt for having once supported NAFTA, a treaty Barack called "devastating." Obama said he'd use the threat of withdrawal from the treaty as a "hammer" to wring concessions out of Canada and Mexico. And sure, his top economics aide told a Canadian consulate official on the QT that Obama's anti-NAFTA rhetoric was "more about political posturing than a clear articulation of policy plans."

But that only shows how hard it is for Obama to find aides who are as farseeing and honest as he is. Well, yes, the candidate did acknowledge to Fortune magazine last week that he now views NAFTA more favorably and wouldn't seek to renegotiate its terms. And yes, he did say, "Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified." But, oh, the way he employs the passive voice! It's not that he pandered to or misled the voters. No, the rhetoric got overheated. Who else, I ask you, can so smoothly deploy the passive voice?

Barack Obama is so uplifting. He has said, "We need a president who sees government not as a tool to enrich friends and high-priced lobbyists (note: don't you hate those low priced lobbyists?) but as the defender of fairness and opportunity for every American." Yes, yes, yes. When he released a list of earmarks he had requested over the past three years in the U.S. Senate, he was being open and honest about the favors he has done. Some might say that $740 million is hardly worth mentioning in the context of the huge federal budget. And if $1 million went to the hospital that happens to employ Mrs. Obama, well, that's because she looks incredible in a black-and-white print sundress.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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