Ross Mackenzie

So, despite his loss to Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, isn’t it time to begin taking Barack Obama seriously?

Absolutely. And he is indeed a serious candidate. He’s a fabulous rhetorician capable of rhythmic, repetitive, almost hypnotic speeches virtually empty of substance. Because Hillary oddly chose not to challenge him in countless caucus states, it’s hard to see how he won’t be the Democratic nominee.

But . . .

But on the issues, when you can get him on the issues, he’s a joke.

A joke? A serious candidate a joke? Come on.

Look. He’s perhaps nothing so much as a latter-day Jimmy Carter — a well-intending, Kumbaya-humming leftie. He preaches a leftism that says it’s all (or mostly) America’s fault, that would retreat before Islamofascism, that would raise taxes in yet another Marxian exercise to spread the wealth.

Yet he terms himself a “transformational, post-partisan” candidate seeking to move beyond “the politics of division and distraction.”

Rhetorical bilgewater, that’s all that is. And on race, he mouths the platitudes and “liberal pieties that have done so much damage to blacks in America” — to borrow from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ compelling autobiography, “My Grandfather’s Son.” His positions and behavior on key issues, as much as he may try to conceal them in an inky cloud, give away his ideological game.

How about some specifics?

There’s the Barack Obama who sat for 20 years at the feet of a black separatist minister he calls “uncle,” a minister who has purveyed the view that the AIDS virus is a whitey plot against African-Americans.

There’s the Obama who long refused to wear an American flag lapel pin — whose wife has said she is only now, with his candidacy, proud to be an American.

There’s the patronizing, elitist, “bittergate” Obama who — at a San Francisco fundraiser — disdained the small-town values of voters in Pennsylvania and the Midwest.

There’s the Obama who announced his Illinois state senate candidacy in 1995 from the home of William Ayers, an unrepentant domestic terrorist and the husband of fellow Weather Undergrounder Bernardine Dohrn. Said Ayers, in The New York Times in 2001: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”

You’re going negative.

The “hope,” “change,” and “unity” stuff — and the globaloney — gets very old very fast. Since when is it “going negative” to bring up — merely to list — the issues? Consider these.

Obama wants to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq and to attack Pakistan. He has equivocated about Carter’s discussions with Hamas and about the larger issue of Israel. With Hillary Clinton, he abjures as offensive the phrase “Islamic terror” and any of its variations.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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