Just because he amended the answers with his own handwriting, doesn't mean he read the questionnaire.
I have said since the beginning of this campaign that Barack Obama is not a moderate, even though he does play one on television. Now, via Captain Ed comes this story from the Politico that reveals that Barack Obama may have been... less than forthcoming about his personal role in reviewing the answers to a campaign questionnaire from 1996. By way of refresher, Obama indicated on this questionnaire in 1996 that he favored bans on the manufacture and sale of guns, opposed parental notification for abortions if the child was older than "12 or 13," and categorically opposed the death penalty. Even the least savvy of political viewers will immediately recognize these positions as the positions of a stark raving liberal - which is of course what Barack Obama is at heart. However, this is contrary to the television image that Obama's staff wants to portray, so once this questionnaire surfaced (via, as the Politico so quaintly puts it, "assistance from political sources opposed to Obama’s presidential campaign"), Obama had a couple of choices on how to respond.
First, Obama *could* have simply responded that yes, he did hold those positions when he was a young and naive politician, but he has learned through experience and through conversations with the American people that these positions are divisive, etc. etc. As skilled as Obama is at slinging BS, I'm sure his people could have come up with a way to say it that wouldn't have made it sound like he was trying to throw the Kos wing of the Democratic party (a group that really believes all this stuff very fervently) overboard in the process. Instead, Obama made a very rookie mistake: he figured it would be easier to lie. Easier to lie than to have to try to nuance this issue, especially since he apparently feels that he doesn't really need the Kossacks anymore. Unfortunately, Obama seems to have forgotten that you should never assume that all the copies of your incriminating documents are destroyed, and that you must always leave yourself wiggle room when you're going to deny something that you know some document somewhere can falsify. The words "I can't recall having ever..." is a nice, handy qualifier, and it's even plausible when you're talking about something that occurred 12 years ago.
But that's not what Obama did. Instead, he issued a blanket denial that he ever said or believed any of those things. So that when the document surfaced from the mysterious unnamed political rival of Obama's that showed that he apparently reviewed the answers closely enough to revise some of the answers in his own handwriting, Obama suddenly found himself in an awkward position. You see, everyone who is remotely paying attention to politics knows by now that Obama really is a flaming liberal. However, Obama's general election strategy isn't really geared toward people who remotely pay attention to politics - it is geared toward people who want a President who makes them feel all warm and fuzzy when they talk. And that sort of person isn't going to care so much about a candidate's position about the issues; however, they just might care that the candidate's first instinct when presented with a difficult situation is to try to lie their way out of the predicament.
You see, part of appealing to people who vote based on who looks purty and sounds flowery on TV is appealing to their ridiculously naive willingness to believe that you, and you alone, have managed to get yourself one step away from the Presidency without being a typical politician. And unfortunately for Obama, lying your way out of inconvenient past positions is very "typical politician."
This kind of story is probably not going to affect those who are already convinced that Barack is really the Obamassiah. But while the people who decided Presidential elections may not pay very close attention to the campaign compared to those of use who obsess about these things - that doesn't mean they don't pay attention at all. And this kind of mistake on Obama's part will help dispel the notion that Obama is anything other than what he is: an eminently ordinary, liberal lying politician.
It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses
7 years 50 weeks ago, 3:18 PM