Record vs. Rhetoric

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Oct 08, 2008 9:53 AM
The record-rhetoric distinction is one that John McCain alluded to several times last night -- and it's a theme that can have resonance with the public if it's driven home.

He, John McCain, has a record.  He is someone who, overall, is a tax-cutter.  He believes in free trade.  He has worked across the aisle to try to achieve what he believes is right -- on judges, immigration, torture and more -- even when it's been politically disadvantageous and angered members of his own party (including me, from time to time).  He may not be the most socially conservative guy in the world, but he implicitly understands the dangers of flash-in-the-pan efforts to effect sweeping social change.  And he's dead serious about protecting this country.  We know what he stands for.

What does Barack Obama stand for?  It's hard to tell.  He really has no record -- it's all about rhetoric.  And even that is inconsistent.  It can't be repeated often enough: He promised a middle class tax cut before -- when he was running for the Senate.  He got to Washington and did nothing about it.  He's changed his position on all kinds of issues, from public financing of campaigns to decriminalization of marijuana, to "special interest money," to the Cuban embargo, to illegal immigration.  He says whatever it takes to get elected.

The rhetoric sounds good.  But the record isn't one that Americans can trust.