A key characteristic of a leader is trustworthiness. How are we to follow a person, a leader, if the person is not to be trusted? A person is only as good as his/her word.
Like his policies or not, President Bush is solid on being taken at his word. A citizen may not agree with the President, but no one doubts he will carry through on what he says is his intention.
Let's hold Barack Obama to the same standard. An incident that has been in the back of my mind for quite some time now has surfaced again, this being an election cycle and all, and Obama the presumed nominee of the Democrats. Plus it has to do with an interaction between Obama and John McCain, the nominee of the Republicans.
The incident I remember, vaguely, was of McCain being upset with Obama for Obama going back on his word to McCain on lobbying reform legislation. You may notice now that Obama is running for President and has no legislative leadership of which to point, he and his minions claim he pushed through ethics reform. Back in February, 2006, the Lieberman, Nelson, McCain bipartisan bill on lobbying reform was introduced after members of both parties were included in meetings on the legislation. Remember, this is when the Republicans still controlled the Senate. And, remember, too, that McCain was catching flak for working so consistently with Democrats in a bipartisan way to get legislation through the Senate.
Obama privately told McCain that he wanted to work with the bipartisan group. He told McCain that despite pressure from the likes of Harry Reid, he (Obama) wanted to be a part of the bipartisan effort. Obama approached McCain, remember, not the other way around, so McCain thought Obama was sincere. At the last minute, Obama backed out of his commitment of support. I remember the tension between the two when both walked into a committee meeting, a committee they both sit on. Obama and McCain shook hands and went on to their seats. Obviously the situation was known to the body of the Senate.
McCain sent a letter to Obama explaining that Obama could rest assured that McCain would never again make the mistake of taking him at his word. For all of Obama's claims of working together in a bipartisan way, it is all a ruse. He has no such history in the Senate and there is no reason to believe he would behave any differently in the Oval Office.
Bush, as Governor of Texas, was known for working with Democrats in the state legislature. The Lt. Governor in Bush's first term was a Democrat and the two were very close friends besides working together at the capitol. The friendship developed as they worked together. Throughout Bush's terms as President he, too, catches static for working too closely with Democrats for many Republicans. No history of that with Obama.
A copy of the letter from McCain to Obama was referenced and available through American Thinker. The letter ends: "Furthermore, I have consistently maintained that any lobbying reform proposal be bipartisan. The bill Senators Joe Lieberman, and Bill Nelson and I have introduced is evidence of that commitment as is my insistence that members of both parties be included in meetings to develop the legislation that will ultimately be considered on the Senate floor. As I explained in a recent letter to Senator Reid, and have publicly said many times, the American people do not see this as just a Republican problem or just a Democratic problem. They see it as yet another run-of-the-mill Washington scandal, and they expect it will generate just another round of partisan gamesmanship and posturing. Senator Lieberman and I, and many other members of this body, hope to exceed the public's low expectations. We view this as an opportunity to bring transparency and accountability to the Congress, and , most importantly, to show the public that both parties will work together to address our failings."
"As I noted, I initially believed you shard that goal. But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party's effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn't always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, Senator."
Another example I came across recently about Obama's two faces is contained in The Evangelical President. Bill Sammon writes "One of the top candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination was Obama, who first met Bush in 2005, when the Illinois liberal and other senators were invited to the White House to hear the president discuss his second-term agenda. Bush took the opportunity to pull Obama aside and give him some friendly advice. Noting the newly minted senator's enormous popularity, Bush cautioned that it would make him a target for rivals on both sides of the aisle. Obama thanked Bush for the advice and later recounted the episode in a memoir, The Audacity of Hope. But in the same passage, Obama described Bush as a zealot whose demeanor was downright frightening when he discussed his second-term agenda." "Suddenly it felt as if somebody in a back room had flipped a switch," Obama wrote. "The president's eyes became fixed; his voice took on the agitated, rapid tone of someone neither accustomed to nor welcoming interruption; his easy affability was replaced by an almost messianic certainty. As I watched my mostly Republican Senate colleagues hang on his every word, I was reminded of the dangerous isolation that power can bring, and appreciated the Founders' wisdom in designating a system to keep power in check."
Sammon continues: "When I quoted from this passage to Bush, the president seemed irritated to learn he had been trashed by the senator he had counseled. "I thought I was actually showing some kindness," Bush told me indignantly. "And out of that he came with this belief?" The president added with a bit of a scowl, "He doesn't know me very well."
The President could have ignored the Freshman senator or just shook his hand and said a quick hello. No good deed goes unpunished, in some quarters. The Senator from the south side of Illinois was brazen enough to write not one but two books all about himself by the time he was in his early 40's. It is obvious these books are just more of the very calculated path to the Oval Office he pursues. Like joining the church in Chicago to get into the Chicago political machine. Like his running for higher office every cycle. Like his snooty, arrogant stance with his nose in the air.
I listened to an interview this morning with Mark Helprin , who has a new book out. He is employed by Claremont Institute. He was asked about his opinion of Obama's capability as leader of the free world in foreign policy. He says Obama is a typical leftist who will not face challenges but turn his back on them. He thinks, however, McCain has strength of conviction in his bones.
Helprin was raised by a mother who was a member of the Communist party. She instilled in Helprin the belief that America is capable of any kind of change. Helprin notes change goes both ways.
And, change is not policy. It's a word. Like Michelle Obama says, don't think, just feel.
Good luck to you, Senator Obama. You'll be facing John McCain, not George W. Bush in November. The contrast couldn't be clearer. Look down your nose at that.