Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Obama and Durbin: Our Two Liberals Make US "Ill."

My home state of Illinois earned a rare distinction last week when the National Journal, the influential non-partisan political magazine, named Dick Durbin, our senior senator and supposed Roman Catholic, as the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, our junior senator, the new-age sensation Barack Obama, was merely ranked the most liberal senator running for president.

Of course, Durbin's spokesman Joe Shoemaker did his best to dispute those liberal claims—"Sen. Durbin stood with the American Legion supporting veterans' health funding. He stood with Evangelicals on [increasing] AIDS funding, and with the Catholic bishops on the immigration issue." While I can't comment on the American Legion or Evangelical leaders' stance on our heretic Dick, I can say that if a Catholic takes one orthodox stance among ten, it really doesn't count for much. We might as well say that Durbin stood with the Mexican drug lords on the immigration issue, since this statement is just as true and he probably agrees with more of the drug lords' life issue stances than the bishops anyway.

Meanwhile the Chicago Tribune article next to the Durbin-liberal piece contains the baffling headline "Obama calls Iran a threat to world peace." This headline baffles me for two reasons. First, this notion is hardly a revelation—any American fifth grader can tell you that a country building nuclear bombs and calling for the annihilation of certain races is not exactly democracy-friendly. Secondly, Obama was giving this speech to a leading Chicago Jewish group. Sure, it is easy to see WHY he courts this group; although Jews represent only about three percent of the vote, they, according to John Green, senior fellow with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, "represent as much as twenty percent of donors in a presidential primary." But it is difficult to fathom how Jews could support a candidate who advocates removing all U.S. troops from Iraq within a year and leaving Israel completely vulnerable to those bomb-crazy Iranians. And yet, even more amazingly, the crowd went away happy. "He touched on all the key issues," said attendee Jeff Simon, a financial planner from wealthy Northbrook, "he said all the right things." This means either American Jews don't think much about their homeland counterparts, or Obama is so mesmerizing he hypnotizes folks into not thinking at all.

However, EVEN Obama won't touch the most controversial issue thus far in this campaign—the fact that his ancestors (although Barack's dad is black and a descendant of Kenyan slaves, his mom is white and a descendant of wealthy Kansans) owned slaves. Still I think Obama will be forced to comment once the upcoming Discovery Channel documentary that proposes that Barack's mom's great great great grandfather's slaves actually WERE Obama's ancestors. Okay, I'm just kidding about that last show—at least so far. Remember, the elections are still a year and a half away, and cable TV's summer "sweeps" are coming soon . . .

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