Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pants on Fire

I'm not sure why, but for some reason it bothers me a lot more when Obama lies than it does when McCain lies.

It also bothers me more when Obama points fingers. Like during the debate, when he, quite literally, pointed his finger. Brokaw was scolding both candidates on going over their time, and Obama pointed at McCain and said, "I'm just trying to keep up with John."

It really bothers me that Obama is like that. That he feels the need to say "It's not my fault." The fact that so much of his campaign is based on this very premise (It's not my fault we're in Iraq/It's not my fault we've got this economic crisis/It's not my fault gas prices are high, etc.) has me really concerned. Over the last couple weeks I've begun to lean more heavily in Obama's favor. But I'm almost upset at myself for that fact. The whole strategy of trying to point fingers is so immensely frustrating.

This isn't about comparing the two candidates, offsetting Obama's guilt with McCain's. I don't care which of them is worse than the other. I'm just frustrated by the fact that Obama simply doesn't demonstrate any integrity. I can't see the man as a leader. And that's a problem.

Fed up with your indigestion.
Swallow words one by one.


Ben said...

How does not taking the blame for bad decisions made by the person in power (who is not him) make him a bad leader? Yes the "I'm just trying to keep up with John" sounded like something from a playground fight, but I do not get the logic of your third paragraph.

What you call pointing the finger, I call pointing out the flaws in the previous administration's policy to highlight what he'd do differently.

Matthew B. Novak said...

I don't think he's just pointing out what he'd do differently. I think his entire approach is "don't elect McCain." He should be running more of an "elect Obama" approach. The reason he wants to point out the flaws of the previous administration isn't so he can highlight what he will do different and/or better, it's so he can say "I wouldn't have done that". When McCain attacks him on just being someone who wants to talk about the past Obama starts discussing the fact that the past is relevant because it speaks to judgment. But hindsight is 20/20, and Obama doesn't have enough of a record for us to assess his judgment.

Heck, he's basically running the same campaign as Kerry, only Kerry's attempts to point out the flaws in the administration only got him in trouble because his record showed how many of those flaws he himself had backed. That's how he got labled a flip-flopper. Obama would probably be in the exact same boat if he had a record to stand on.

But to go to the heart of the matter, how does not taking the blame make him a bad leader? It's not just not taking the blame, it's also throwing it around. Instead of focusing on solutions he's focusing on highlighting the problems he didn't cause. Obama is actively bringing up the blame, and then deflecting it away from himself. Whatever happened to "the buck stops here?"

Oh, and throw in the fact that so many of the economic issues are tracable to both parties, that really, Obama's just lying when he deflects all the blame for that.

I dunno Ben... you've gotta be careful. You keep pushing me to make the case against Obama, and I'm more likely to end up voting McCain.

Actually, this brings up a point... why are people so touchy about any criticism of their candidate? There's tons to go around for both parties here, but every time I raise the slightest issue against either candidate people seem to jump all over me. I've got some valid points here. Why can't an Obama supporter agree that his finger-pointing is lamentable? That's not so unreasonable, is it?

Thinking Fool said...

If you can't see him as a leader, you would be an idiot to vote for him.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Well I like some of his policies better...

Mike said...

"If you can't see him as a leader, you would be an idiot to vote for him."

I can't see any of the candidates as leaders. Am I just supposed to abstain from voting?

Ben said...

Okay, I'm coming back to this one after Patric accused you of insincerity in your undecidedness. I'm not accusing you of that and - your impression to the contrary - I think there are perfectly legitimate criticisms of Obama. High on my list would be his vote legitimizing the eavesdropping regime and giving immunity to the telcom companies that participated in President Bush's illegal (though probably well-intentioned) scheme. I tend to comment on people's blogs when I disagree with them, so it may come off as if I'm a hair-trigger supporter of Obama who personally resents any criticism of him. That is not true of me.

That said, I still think you're point is off here. I think it's incredibly obvious that when Obama points out past mistakes of the Bush Administration, he's implicitly (and, at times, explicitly) pointing out what he'd do differently. Point in case: Obama claims that Bush's early policy of not talking to foreign regimes we don't like has proven counter-productive. So, Obama says, he would attempt diplomatic relations with our enemies to see if that works to get them to do what we want.

And it's perfectly fair to point out where McCain has supported what Obama considers bad policy. The line that made me laugh out loud in the debates was Palin's "Oh, you're just bringing up the past all the time. We're about the future." Please! If anything, THAT'S the approach that lacks integrity. As Biden said in the debate "the past is prologue." If we can't learn from past mistakes, then we are doomed to repeat them.

A related point: when a candidate points out what was done right or wrong by a previous administration, that's a clue as to that candidate's issue positions/values, etc.

So my point is not that you should vote for Obama. It's not that there's no good reason to vote McCain. It's not that any criticism of Obama is unfounded. It's that THIS particular criticism of Obama is unfounded. Pointing out the past mistakes of the previous administration or one's opponent is an important and necessary part of democracy and I cannot fathom how it shows a lack of integrity. (Unless the candidate somehow lies about it.)

Matthew B. Novak said...

Ben - I think you're right that pointing out differences is a valid and necessary exercise. Obama goes above and beyond in his use of this tactic. He's not just saying "this was bad policy, and I want to follow different policy" he's focusing on blame. I'm not upset with him highlighting differences, I'm upset with his style. I'm upset that he cares more about blaming the past administration than he does putting forth constructive suggestions. Every ad of his I've seen says "we can't have more of the same because what we did these past 8 years is terrible and has caused problems x, y, z." Then I hear "John McCain is one of the responsible parties for problems x, y, z." And then I hear "I'll be different" but no specifics. That's not differentiating himself. That's lobbing blame. And that I have a problem with.

I also think he's showing a lack of integrity because he knows McCain will be different from Bush (and in very meaningful ways), and Obama knows it. When he's blaming McCain, he's often doing so wrongfully.

Finally, a lot of blame for the current financial crisis is appropriately placed on his own party. He doesn't need to stand up and take that blame, but when he tries to pass it all off on McCain, that's just a blatant lie. Obama has not been discriminating in the way he's picked his criticism of the previous regime, and he's been dishonest in his application of that criticism to McCain.

That's my beef.