Obama‘s Head Fake

Ken Blackwell
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Posted: Apr 08, 2008 12:00 AM
Obama‘s Head Fake

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." (Abraham Lincoln)

I have heard Barack Obama’s basketball skills, unlike his bowling skills, are now legendary in the recreation centers of Chicago. Legend has it his head fake is deceptive and his jump shot deadly. He is apparently attempting to transfer his head-fake skills to the American political arena – fake right, go left. The American electorate should not fall for it.

Three revelations over the past month have started to reveal a very different portrait than what Mr. Obama and his promoters have been painting for us during this campaign. These recent revelations could redefine the campaign, and put him on unsustainable footing.

Mr. Obama’s candidacy was unanticipated. He came from obscurity in 2004, and was sworn in as a U.S. senator in 2005. He started running for president in 2006.

With that lack of anticipation came a lack of vetting.

Mr. Obama advertises himself as a unifying figure who shares the hopes and values of the vast majority of Americans. But three separate occasions just in the past month are starkly at odds with his rhetoric of getting past party, race and division, and bringing Americans together around ideas that can unite us.

Part I of this column explored the tax-raising and government-expanding agenda. While millions take issue with that agenda, millions more react strongly to his recently revealed social views. Mr. Obama’s remarks about abortion and gun rights are particularly troublesome.

Much has been said about the hateful sermons given by his longtime spiritual leader and instructor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. But when taken with Mr. Obama’s recent unscripted comments in Pennsylvania and his answers on a 1996 candidate questionnaire, a coherent picture begins to emerge.

The first issue is abortion. It is well known that Mr. Obama opposes even restricting partial-birth abortion, the barbaric destruction of a late-term or even full-term unborn baby. Over 75% of American support banning that gruesome practice. Back in 1996, he wrote on the questionnaire that he opposes the parents of a minor child having a legal right to be informed of their daughter having an abortion unless the daughter is 13 years old or younger. Mind you, this is not about parents giving their consent, just notification. Mr. Obama opposes state laws requiring the parents of a 14-year old who is about to undergo an abortion to be informed that their daughter is about to have a surgical procedure that could render her permanently infertile or involve other lifelong complications. Over 80% of Americans believe parents have a right to know.

Then just a few days ago, Mr. Obama commented in unscripted remarks to a Pennsylvania audience that if when his daughters become teenagers, he does not want them to be “punished with a baby” if they make a mistake.

Punished with a baby? Is that any way to refer to the miracle of life, even under unfortunate circumstances?

And as former NRA president Sandy Froman explained in her townhall.com column last week, in that 1996 questionnaire Mr. Obama revealed that he supports an absolute ban on Americans owning handguns. Almost 75% of Americans believe that the Second Amendment secures a right to private citizens to own and possess firearms, and understand that totally banning handguns is therefore unconstitutional.

Also last week, Mr. Obama says he opposes laws that would permit law-abiding citizens who pass a background check and complete any required classes from having concealed-carry permits. Most Americans favor concealed carry, especially if permit applicants go through a statutory licensing scheme. Opposing such laws is hardly mainstream.

Mr. Obama’s extreme views on the Second Amendment and abortions, coupled with giving benefits and driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, and his opposition to surveillance of terrorist phone calls overseas, start to form a coherent portrait of a political radical with a pleasant smile and easy manner. The candidate who has said that evangelical leaders who speak out on issues like religious liberty and same-sex marriage, have “hijacked” Christianity, has provided us with an ample supply of social and national security issues to vet.

When we add to this picture his positions on economic issues, we get a firm grasp of what Mr. Obama is all about. It is the pattern that is disturbing and newsworthy.

Voters are being sold a bill of goods. It is far more than Mr. Obama not being a moderate. The more we discover about him, the more he goes from looking like a big-government, doctrinaire liberal, to being a radical on the fringe of the political spectrum.

That leads to a second newsworthy aspect of these revelations: the complete disconnect between who this man is and who he claims to be.

Part of the presidential vetting process we have in America is that candidates go through a long, arduous process to make their case to the American people. It’s more than giving speeches and releasing policy papers. It’s a conversation over a period of time.

Through this process -- a process that normally takes several years -- the American people take their full measure of a candidate.

Americans are now taking their measure of Mr. Obama and defending against the head fake.