Some Quotes to Help Dispel the Myth of Obama the Progressive

In the course of an email exchange with a friend about whether or not an Obama presidency would be a transformation of American politics, I actually did the leg work and gathered some quotes from the mainstream media about his policies that show his true colors. You might find these useful if you’re trying to reason with an Obama disciple.

Foreign Policy

Obama and McCain also desperately sought to put rhetorical blue sky between them and the still fantastically unpopular president…Look a little closer, though, and the differences between all three blur.
("Obama and McCain blur their battle lines", The Sunday Times)

Obama said if elected in November 2008 he would be willing to attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from the Pakistani government, a move that would likely cause anxiety in the already troubled region.
("Tough talk on Pakistan from Obama", Reuters)

[Sen. Barack Obama:] "I have enormous sympathy for the foreign policy of George H. W. Bush. I don’t have a lot of complaints about their handling of Desert Storm."
("Obama Admires Bush", New York Times)

The Democratic presidential candidate has said he would maintain the nearly 50-year-old trade sanctions against Cuba as leverage to push for democratic change on the island.
("Castro criticizes Obama plan to keep U.S. embargo", Associated Press)

"Yes, I believe [Hugo Chavez] is a threat, however, a manageable threat," [Sen. Barack Obama] replied. "We know, for instance, he could have been involved in supporting FARC, affecting his neighbor. That is not the kind of neighbor we want. I believe it is important, through the O.A.S. or through the U.N., to begin sanctions expressing that kind of behavior is not acceptable.
("Obama: Hugo Chavez is ‘a Threat, However, a Manageable Threat’", El Mercurio (Chile))

Iraq and Afghanistan

Over the last few weeks, Barack Obama and John McCain have seemed to get perilously close to agreeing on what to do in Iraq. Obama continues to talk about a 16-month withdrawal but would let military commanders determine the pace of the withdrawal. McCain is also now in favor of a 16-month timeline—as long as the commanders determine the pace of the withdrawal. After the withdrawal, how many soldiers would be left and what would they do? Both candidates agree on that, too. U.S. forces would continue to train Iraqi soldiers, fight al-Qaida, assist Sunni tribal leaders, and fight Shiite militias. How long they would do all of this, and in what numbers, would be up to the commanders on the ground.
("McCain and Obama don’t think that differently on Iraq", Slate)


Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said today that U.S. combat troops should be shifted to Afghanistan from Iraq…Obama said the opportunity to help Afghanistan will come from setting a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and redeploy them.
("Obama Urges Sending More U.S. Troops to Afghanistan", Bloomberg.com)

On Sunday, the Illinois senator urged the Bush administration to move more troops into Afghanistan as soon as possible during an appearance on "Face The Nation." He also reiterated his willingness to authorize unilateral U.S. action against terrorist targets in Pakistan’s tribal areas if the Pakistani government will not act.
("Obama Shows Hawkish Side On Mideast Trip", CBS News)


Barack Obama struck a distinctly hawkish tone toward Iran on Wednesday, saying in a southern Israeli town besieged until recently by rocket fire that he would "take no options off the table" to prevent the Islamic republic from obtaining a nuclear bomb…"I will take no options off the table in dealing with the Iranian threat," the Democratic candidate told reporters in the town, hit over four years by more than 2,000 rockets launched from Gaza until Hamas, which controls the territory, agreed to a truce last month. He described a nuclear Iran as a "grave threat" and warned it would lead to the disintegration of the current nuclear non-proliferation treaty."Many of these countries have ties to terrorists," he said.
("Obama takes hawkish stance on Iran", National Post)

He [Barack Obama] said the military option is "on the table" for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, and in stark contrast to earlier statements, he said he would meet with Iranian leaders "if and only if it can advance the interest of the United States."
("Obama’s Evolving Position on Iran: Hawkish Stand More Like the Bush Administration’s Position", ABC News)

Israel and Palestine

Today, [Sen. Barack Obama] sounded as strong as Clinton, as supportive as Bush, as friendly as Giuliani. At least rhetorically, Obama passed any test anyone might have wanted him to pass. So, he is pro-Israel. Period….[Sen. Barack Obama] On American aid to Israel: "We must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs."
("Obama supports Israel. Period.", Haaretz)

[Sen. Barack Obama] staked out some hawkish positions, declaring that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," and termed Israel’s attack in September on Syria’s alleged incipient nuclear facility "entirely justified to end that threat."
("Obama: Jerusalem must remain an undivided capital", Jerusalem Post)

[His trip to Israel and Palestine was 36 hours long. How much time did he spend in Palestine?]

Obama, the presumptive Democratic candidate, is touring the Mideast and has scheduled to meet with Abbas for 45 minutes at Palestinian government headquarters in the West Bank.
("Obama’s West Bank trip raises hope, skepticism", Associated Press)

[In Israel, Obama met with Shimon Peres, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu, the mayor of Sderot, etc.]

Campaign Funding

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama said Thursday he will forgo public money to help finance his general election campaign, a move that frees him to raise unlimited funds from private and corporate donors….the move frees the Illinois senator and presumptive Democratic nominee from spending limits imposed by the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act, which is paid for with the $3 taxpayer checkoffs on federal tax returns.
("Obama Rejects Public Financing", NPR)


Obama’s decision [to opt out of public financing] represents a significant milestone in the financing of presidential campaigns. President Bush was the first candidate to reject public financing of primaries when he ran in 2000. But no candidate has ignored the general election funds since the law setting up the presidential finance system was approved in 1976.
("Obama bypasses public money — 1st since Watergate", Associated Press)

Domestic Issues

On taxes, Sen. Obama told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that he would consider cuts to the corporate tax rate as part of an effort to simplify the tax system, a position also advocated by Sen. McCain.
("Obama Tilts Toward Center", Wall Street Journal)

Here are two things you don’t often hear mentioned in the same sentence: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and a lower corporate tax rate. But it appears the Illinois senator is at least considering such a measure. "He would like to cut the corporate tax rate, and it’s a question that we’re studying," Jason Furman, Obama’s director of economic policy, told Forbes.com in an interview this week.
("Obama’s Taxing Policies", Forbes)

The Senate easily approved legislation to overhaul government eavesdropping rules in terrorism and espionage cases and effectively granted immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in a secret domestic spying program, ending a contentious debate that has raged for more than two years…Among the 69 senators who voted "yes" on final passage was Barack Obama (Ill.), who had opposed the immunity provision in earlier versions of the wiretapping bill, a rewrite of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
("Obama Joins Fellow Senators in Passing New Wiretapping Measure", Washington Post)

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to grant retroactive amnesty to the telecoms that aided the President Bush’s five-year secret, warrantless wiretapping of Americans, and to expand the government’s authority to sift through U.S. communications, handing a key victory to the Bush administration…The Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama (D-Illinois) voted for the final bill, despite intense lobbying by supporters who used Obama’s own online organizing technology to try to hold him to his promise to fight any bill that included amnesty.
("Senate Approves Telecom Amnesty, Expands Domestic Spying Powers", Wired News)

Barack Obama said on Saturday he would support an expansion of offshore drilling as part of a broader bipartisan energy bill, a more flexible approach than the Democratic presidential contender has previously demonstrated.
("Obama Would Back Offshore Drilling As Part of Bipartisan Energy Package", Wall Street Journal)

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