Governor Pataki agreed that Obama's "present" propensity is alarming -- I believe he used the word "irresponsible." But he thought, if anything, it proves him to be far more extreme than even we know. For Pataki, it reflects a strategic desire on the part of Obama, the country's most liberal senator, to withhold views that he knew would be received unfavorably, and because he knew he'd one day run for president. For me the "present" vote makes Obama a timid waffler, and for Pataki it makes him a duplicitous radical. Either way, there's a lot of meat on the "present" stick to pull apart.
We ended our conversation agreeing that if Sarah Palin were a legislator who voted "present" as often as Barack Obama, she would have been crucified by liberals and the liberal media as inexperienced, irresponsible, flighty, unqualified, frivolous and every other demeaning adjective that's already been used to describe the Governor of Alaska -- the only person on either ticket with executive experience. Not surprisingly, Pataki thinks Palin's resume makes her especially qualified to run alongside McCain.
Obama's relatinoship with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and unseemly characters has made for good television. We love a good villain, after all. But like McCain always says, we need to look at his record. And the most damning thing on there isn't a vote for this spending increase or against that tax cut -- it's the 129 votes that he simply refused to cast.
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