Sunday, December 30, 2007

EXTRA! EXTRA! Obama a Democrat

(NOT IN) DES MOINES, Iowa – Illinois’ “favorite son” presidential hopeful Barack Obama may be concerned about the concept of lobbyists running the government agencies they used to try to influence, but he’s not about to put an outright ban on the practice.

Obama (who like many other fresh college graduates adopted Chicago as his hometown when he finished his education) used a Sunday morning “Meet the Press” appearance to try to make himself appear as though he has a solid background on foreign policy matters, particularly with regard to the Middle East in light of the recent assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

But what caught my attention was when Obama talked of his desire to “break the link” by which lobbyists (they prefer the term “governmental affairs consultants”) for partisan causes get jobs running the federal agencies they once tried to influence, or where government officials leave the federal payroll to take on lobbyist duties for groups that want to influence the agencies the officials once ran.

It’s a legitimate concern. But Obama is not calling for an outright ban on lobbyists-turning-government officials, or vice versa. He thinks the passage of time eases the problem.

“People who may have lobbied 10 years ago, 15 years ago, they may be able to render excellent service to the American people,” Obama said. “We want people of integrity to run our government.”

By my math, that means somebody who was involved heavily in government concerns back in the 1990s can now have a position of responsibility in an Obama administration. That would also mean that anyone who has been involved with the issues in recent years can forget about being a part of Team Obama.

Back in the 1990s, Democrats were prominent players. The recent years have seen Republicans running things.

So Republicans, particularly those who are supportive of the ideals represented by President Bush, can forget about keeping their jobs in Washington, if Obama wins, because they’re likely to be replaced by a batch of Democrat supporters who have been out of power for eight years and want to get back in control.

How does that differ from what any Democrat would do if their party’s presidential candidate wins the November 2008 general election? Hillary Clinton or John Edwards could have given a similar answer.

Perhaps that’s why the polls show those three candidates running so close. An NBC-McClatchy Newspapers poll published Sunday showed the Democratic front-runners in a virtual three-way tie among Iowa voters.

Personally, I’m thankful to have just over one more month before having to cast a ballot in the Illinois primary. I’m still trying to find major differences between the Dems who dream of being president. Having to choose based solely on one candidate being a woman, one being a black man and another being a white man is just insipid.

As for those who might ask, “Why not vote for a Republican?,” all I have to say in response is, “I’m from Chicago.”

Republicans don’t exist here, except in the 41st Ward. Even then, I’ve always thought that the only reason those people vote differently there is because of their location adjacent to O’Hare International Airport.

All that overhead noise from jets flying in and out has addled their brains.


EDITOR’S NOTE: For those of you who now would like to watch Obama’s “Meet the Press” appearance (or are bizarre enough not to have gotten your fill of it this morning), here’s a link.

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