I’d like to see Obama and Clinton really go at it on the issues. But they should do it with
the facts. Yesterday
in Denver
, Obama said something interesting in his stem winder stump speech.

“It’s time for new leadership that understands that the way to
win a debate with John McCain is not by nominating someone who agreed with
him on voting for the war in Iraq; who agreed with him in voting to give George
Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; who agrees with him in embracing the
Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don’t like, and who
actually differed with him by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing
positions when the politics of the moment changed.”

You know, I really want to believe. I do. Because if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee I’d like to support him with everything I’ve got. But he sure doesn’t make it easy; not for anyone who’s looking beyond the flash.

Seriously, does he deserve a pass for this? I’m asking this honestly, because I just don’t
get it. Obama claims he’s saying only positive things, then in one paragraph
unleashes four whoppers aimed at Clinton. Now mind you, she can take care of herself, so tough attacks are fine, but fabrications don’t convince me he’s going to be a good nominee.

Of course, I know this bothers people, but I simply don’t get why everyone
is giving Barack Obama a pass on having no other record on Iraq since coming
into the Senate. Mind you, he deserves ample credit for the speech in 2002.
But why should one Iraq war speech be used as bona fides for the judgment to
be commander in chief?

”But, I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports,” Mr. Obama said. ”What
would I have done? I don’t know. What I know is that from my vantage point
the case was not made.” (source: NY
Times, 2004
)

“The case was not made,” said Obama. Absolutely, he’s right
about that one. Again, give him credit for it. But why is he saying that he
doesn’t know what he’d have done?

Clinton can never take back her Iraq war vote. She’s still paying for it and
every single senator who voted for this hell on earth war deserves the pain
they feel. But she’s also taken on the Pentagon on preparing withdrawal plans,
as well as offered up legislation challenging Bush on his “enduring relationship”
with Iraq, which Obama has agreed to sign on to, after being challenged about
it in the last debate. What has Obama done on Iraq since he landed in the Senate,
minus one bill one year ago? But people think one anti Iraq war speech gives
him bragging rights going on six years later. I’m not impressed.

I’d like to submit that neither Clinton or Obama deserve credit for what they’ve
done in the Senate on Iraq. No Democrat does and it’s why I think the November
election will be much tougher than others expect. Both Clinton and Obama are
a wash on Iraq. If you’re a supporter hanging on to his 2002 Iraq war speech
as “judgment,” then please tell me why he didn’t know what he would
have done at the time if he’d been in the Senate. Right, he’s changed his tune
on that one; he would have voted against the war. That’s not what he said when
first asked.

But back to the speech yesterday. Obama’s statement in the above paragraph
on Iran is factually wrong. Clinton
February 14, 2007
:

“It would be a mistake of historical proportion if the administration
thought that the 2002 resolution authorizing force against Iraq was a blank
check for the use of force against Iran without further congressional authorization.
Nor should the President think that the 2001 resolution authorizing force
after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in any way authorizes force against Iran.
If the administration believes that any, any use of force against
Iran is necessary, the president must come to Congress to seek that authority.”

Obama’s comment in the above paragraph about “not talking to leaders”
is also factually incorrect, ethically disingenuous, and even mendacious. While
Obama agreed to meet personally with dictators around the world in his first
year in office, Clinton dissented to do it personally as president,
but absolutely
agreed to talks
.

CLINTON: Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries
during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because
I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you
know what the intentions are.

Obama’s comment about Clinton
on torture
is also wrong:

When I opposed the Military Commissions Act in 2006, I made my position clear:
torture violates the fundamental rule of law and the institutions of justice,
it does not bear reliable fruit in intelligence gathering, and it undermines
our moral strength in a conflict that cannot be won solely with military might.
It should never be the policy of the United States to torture.

It’s hard to have any enthusiasm for treating the guy fairly when one paragraph
of one new stump speech is full of holes. And I’d still like to have an answer
to why a 2002 anti Iraq war speech gives Obama judgment credentials over Clinton
when nothing has been done by him since.

When Bush gave his speech at the National Cathedral after 9/11, I wrote about it applauding him, because it was something few of us will ever forget. I wanted to believe, because
it gave us all hope we so badly needed at the time. Seven years later we’re all still waiting for him
to deliver on it.