Thomas Sowell

It is amazing how seriously the media are taking Senator Barack Obama's latest statement about the latest racist rant from the pulpit of the church he has attended for 20 years. But neither that statement nor the apology for his rant by Father Michael Pfleger really matters, one way or the other. Nor does Senator Obama's belated resignation from that church.

For any politician, what matters is not his election year rhetoric, or an election year resignation from a church, but the track record of that politician in the years before the election.

Yet so many people are so fascinated by Barack Obama's rhetorical skills that they don't care about his voting record in the U.S. Senate, in the Illinois state senate, the causes that he has chosen to promote over the years, or the candidate's personal character and values, as revealed by his actions and associations.

Despite clever spin from Obama's supporters about avoiding "guilt by association," much more is involved than casual association with people like Jeremiah Wright and Father Pfleger.

In addition to giving $20,000 of his own money to Jeremiah Wright, as a state senator Obama directed $225,000 of the Illinois taxpayers' money for programs run by Father Pfleger. In the U.S. Senate, Obama earmarked $100,000 in federal tax money for Father Pfleger's work. Giving someone more than 300 grand is not just some tenuous, coincidental association.

Are Barack Obama's views shown by what he says during an election year or by what he has been doing for decades before?

The complete contrast between Obama's election year image as a healer of divisions and his whole career of promoting far-left grievance politics, in association with America-haters like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, are brushed aside by his supporters who talk about getting back to "the real issues."

There is nothing more real than a man's character and values. The track record of what he has actually done is far more real than anything he says, however elegantly he says it.

There is no office where the character and values of the person in that office matter more than the office of President of the United States. He holds the destiny of 300 million Americans in his hands and the fate of generations yet unborn.

That was never more true than today, with Iran moving ever closer to a nuclear bomb, while the United Nations wrings its hands and Congress fritters away its time on everything from steroids in sports to earmarks for pet projects back home.

Does anyone seriously consider what it would mean for Iran to have nuclear weapons? They are already supplying terrorists with the means of killing people in other countries, including killing American troops in Iraq.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate