Sunday, March 11, 2007

Kass on Obama

John Kass' take on Barack Obama in a national TV interview: Underneath all the rhetoric, a down-the-line lefty without any noticeable political courage.

He was interviewed by Paul Gigot on the Wall Street Journal's, The Journal Editorial Report.

Gigot: What about Obama's political philosophy? Ronald Reagan was a self-identified proud conservative. Bill Clinton called himself a New Democrat. Is there any philosophy would you ascribe to Obama's politics?

I would say that basically he's a left-of-center liberal, doctrinaire in the social positions. He has talked about ethics, which I think is part of his campaign. But really you don't see the kind of--he's not a maverick in the sense that the man who--that his predecessor, Sen. Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois, was a maverick, a Republican who defied his own party to bring Patrick Fitzgerald here, for example. Mr. Obama is sort of a--remember how he was elected. The leading Democratic front-runner imploded in the domestic-violence issue. The Republican front-runner fell apart when there was a sex scandal. Mr. Obama just came in and basically rode in on these disasters. So he hasn't really had the kind of campaign that he's facing now.

Can you think of a single instance in Illinois politics where Obama took on one of the main Democratic interest groups, whether it be teachers unions or the trail bar or some main interest group, and challenged one of their orthodoxies?

I really can't. I've been racking my brain. I'm sure there might be something. He did stand up for ethics and ethical reform at a time when the Democrats were building their case against the Republicans locally. But really, when it comes down to it, I don't think he's revolutionary in that regard. I think he's a basically a doctrinaire liberal in that sense.
Kass described Obama as a "nice man, charismatic, highly intelligent and a decent fellow." But he said his association with indicted influence peddler Tony Rezko also shows Obama might be naive.
Kass: …And the issue for the American people, I think, is when you put Obama next to Vladimir Putin in a room talking about whatever they'll talk about if he's president, is he seasoned enough to deal with that kind of pressure?

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