I discovered Barack Obama on television. He looked good. Very good. Then, I heard him speak as the honorary chairman of a not-for-profit, to which I lend my name. He was sensational. I thought he'd be a great candidate some day, maybe even a great president. Then he declared his candidacy. He seemed everything that Joe Biden said he was--a serious candidate, clean and articulate. He was Barack, a fresh wind blowing through the Democratic Party. I thought he was different from all the others. In other words, I fell in love.
Then, Joe Biden misspoke, and apparently on the advice of his handlers, Obama played the race card. Instead of accepting Biden's statement as complimentary to him, he accused him of dissing all previous black candidates. Maybe it was smart politics, but it was unworthy of the Barack I was so attached to. Biden felt the need to apologize.
This week, David Geffen called the Clintons liars. This, from a man who started life as a talent agent, a profession for which the job description includes the ability to lie with a straight face about anything and everything. Geffen is backing Obama and had just arranged a major fundraiser for him on the West Coast. Hillary asked Obama to distance himself from Geffen. Obama said that he was not responsible for statement made by his supporters and refused. I suppose that's true of the old politics but not of the kind of politician I had believed Barack to be.
Then I thought back to the Obama-McCain rumpus over ethics reform. McCain met with Obama and came away believing that Obama had agreed to join him in preparing a bipartisan ethics bill. Then Obama informed him that he was joining with the Democratic caucus and introducing a Democratic bill.
Feeling betrayed, McCain replied in a scathing and condescending letter in which he apologized "for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan reform legislation were sincere." He finished his note with: "I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party's effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn't always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you Senator."
That didn't tally with the Barack I had seen on television or the Barack I had met at the not-for-profit event. "Disingenuous" is a strong word, but Barack's comments on Geffen seem disingenuous to me. That's what other politicians do; not my Barack. So reluctantly, I have come to the conclusion that he's no longer Barack enough for me.