Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama And Decency

I've noticed a big difference between this election and the last. This time we have conservatives explicitly stating their respect for the office of the President, even while vowing to oppose those policies they think harmful to the nation. Last time, moonbats were so distraught they needed psychological counselling.

After reading AllahPundit's declaration that Dean Barnett thought Obama was "a good guy and a decent man", I felt like I should chime in. Given that I don't have the shackles that Obama is going to be my President, I don't feel that it's necessary to try and delude myself about these issues. I didn't do so at the time but then this morning I stumbled upon Patterico's argument "On Obama and Good Men." Now, to be fair, I understand completely where he's coming from- like it or not, Obama is President-Elect, and Patterico has declared an admirable intent not to succumb to the low abuse that characterised the Left while Bush was in office.

All fair and good. However, beyond this- and beyond being willing to engage in reasonable debate- he goes on to state-

So far, as I’ve said, I see him as a basically good and decent man who, like many politicians, has engaged in some highly questionable behavior in the pursuit of power.

And here's another point he made just a few sentences earlier-

Many here are calling him a bad man because he has done some bad things and associated with some bad people. It’s true, he has, and I can respect the people who write him off for that reason.

So, Patterico is in effect stating that Obama has done bad things, associated with bad people and also engaged in highly questionable behaviour but he is nevertheless a good and decent person. From where I'm sitting there is no logic to that. Sure, Barack's done bad things, he hangs out with bad people but he's still good and decent. What sense does that make?

I understand that he's trying to take the high road, to respect the office of President and to avoid the pitfalls of BDS. However, this goes beyond the stated goal of "it’s possible to disagree without being disagreeable". He could just as easily have said, "he's going to be our new President come January- let's not be asses about our opposition to his policies".

Good and decent people don't do bad things and associate with bad people- they don't spend their entire adult lives in the company of radicals and murderous terrorists (Ayers and Dohrn), they don't have dinner regularly with members of foreign terrorist groups (Khalidi and his wife), they don't attend a racist, hate-filled, anti-American church for 20 years and expose their children to same, they don't abuse their authority to attempt to shut down speech critical of them, they don't repeatedly lie about their associations and policies for the sake of their ambition- and good and decent people don't become the only Senator to have voted in favour of infanticide.

A commenter attacked Patterico over his "praise" for Obama on just this issue. He replied,

To this person, and many others, the fact that someone believes in partial-birth abortion means that they are a Bad Person. I consider the practice horrific, and it’s not overstating it to say I believe it is evil. For some people, it’s an easy step from that to saying that anyone who supports it is evil.

But Obama- who is more radical on these issues than all of the pro-abortion camp in Congress- is not, in his opinion, evil too- or even just a bad person. Perhaps I'm not nuanced enough but when a man takes actions to enable evil acts to occur, he does not remain untarnished. Obama is a man who had the power to speak out, to write a bill, to vote. By his actions he could have tried to prevent- in Patterico's own words- evil acts from taking place. Not only did he do nothing, he has taken deliberate steps to enable these evil acts to keep happening. Good and decent men do not stand by when it is within their power to prevent evil. Now, you could make an argument that not only failing to prevent an evil act but encouraging more to occur is not evil in and of itself. I might be able to accept you believe that line of reasoning- but I do not accept that you can go from that, from being a willful accomplice to acts you yourself have admitted are evil, to calling that same person a good and decent man.

Let's not beat about the bush- Obama is, in my opinion, a terrible choice for President. He has no experience other than promoting himself (and wasting over a hundred million dollars on so-called educational reforms that failed to improve education in any way) but more than that- he has not been straight with the electorate. He has gone to great lengths to obscure, obfuscate and outright lie about who he is. A good and decent man doesn't do that.

A good and decent man does not expose his children to the vile, racist bile of Rev. Wright every Sunday.

A good and decent man doesn't befriend a terrorist who planted bombs in the United States and who plotted to murder Army personnel and their girlfriends at a dance.

Would Patterico be so quick to label someone who spent a decade working closely with- and whose career was promoted by- an Al Qaeda terrorist who hated America, who declared war on the nation, who planned to overthrow the government and install a dictatorship, who discussed murdering 25 million Americans who he thought would to accept his ideology, who planned to bomb American soldiers a "good and decent man"? I don't think so.

People try to excuse Obama's troubling past by calling his associations political convenience. Sure, he befriended corrupt slum-lord Tony Rezko but that was just so he could advance his own career. He's still a good and decent man.

People try to excuse his membership of a racist, hate-filled church because that church isn't unique! So what if he listened to anti-white, anti-American sermons week after week and year after year- and took his children along too? Those are just the crazy things that some folks come out with- and besides did you know that some other black churches are just as racist and hateful too? Why, of course, Obama's a good and decent guy.

I will note however that a good number of black churches which teach the tenets of Christianity rather that Jeremiah Wright's black theology will take offense at being tarred with that same brush.

People try to excuse his association with terrorists. Hey, that was just bad judgement on his part, he didn't really think about what it meant to befriend and work alongside a notorious America-hating terrorist for years on end. And those friendly dinners he had with a PLO spokesman? Well, Mona Khalidi (who also worked for the PLO) is such a good cook- he mustn't have been thinking about the victims of Arafat's reign of terror. He's still a good and decent man.

But the simple fact of the matter is that there is no excuse. Obama is an adult- and apparently quite an intelligent one. He chose of his own free will to get involved with these people. He chose to vote in favour of infanticide- even though it goes beyond what most other pro-abortion politicians choose. He, and he alone, is responsible for his actions. And it is those actions he must be judged upon. They cannot be ignored or brushed aside simply because he has won an election.

In all good faith I cannot accept that a good and decent man would behave in the way Barack Obama has. On the contrary, he seems to me to be a man of exceedingly low character.

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