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Home --> Politics --> Barack Obama --> Obama Tidal Wave

Obama Tidal Wave

Claim:   E-mail presents Bill Brown's assessment of Barack Obama's political record.

Status:   Multiple — see below.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, June 2008]

Bill Brown, is a highly respected retired member of the Billy Graham team. Bill Brown, is a highly respected retired member of the Billy Graham team so, I take his assessment of Obama very seriously and for that reason accept his challenge to pass this on. I share his concern about the 'rock star' image Obama has and watch with growing concern at the celebrity status the media has foisted upon him. Here is hope this email informs you in a wise way.
 

The Obama Tidal Wave

We
are witnessing a political phenomenon with Barack Obama of rare magnitude.

His speeches have inspired millions and yet most of his followers have no idea of what he stands for except platitudes of 'Change' or that he says he will be a 'Uniter'.

The power of speech from a charismatic person truly can be a powerful thing. Certainly Billy Graham had charisma and both his manner of speech and particularly the content changed millions.

On the extreme other hand, the charisma of Adolph Hitler inspired millions and the results were catastrophic.

Barack Obama certainly is no Hitler or a Billy Graham, but for many Americans out there feeling just like a surfer who might be ecstatic and euphoric while riding a tidal wave, the real story is what happens when it hits shore .

Just Some of What Defines Barack Obama:

. He voted against banning partial birth abortion.
. He voted no on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions.
. Supports affirmative action in Colleges and Government.
. In 2001 he questioned harsh penalties for drug dealing.
. Says he will deal with street level drug dealing as minimum wage affair.
. Admitted marijuana and cocaine use in high school and in college.
. His religious convictions are very murky.
. He is willing to meet with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jung Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
. Has said that one of his first goals after being elected would be to have a conference with all Muslim nations.
. Opposed the Patriot Act.
. First bill he signed that was passed was campaign finance reform.
. Voted No on prohibiting law suits against gun manufacturers.
. Supports universal health-care.
. Voted yes on providing habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.
. Supports granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
. Supports extending welfare to illegal immigrants.
. Voted yes on comprehensive immigration reform.
. Voted yes on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security.
. Wants to make the minimum wage a 'living wage'.
. Voted with Democratic Party 96 percent of 251 votes.
. Is a big believer in the separation of church and state.
. Opposed to any efforts to Privatize Social Security and instead supports increasing the amount of tax paid.
. He voted No on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
. He voted No on repealing the 'Death' Tax.
. He wants to raise the Capital Gains Tax.
. Has repeatedly said the surge in Iraq has not succeeded.
. He is ranked as the most liberal Senator in the Senate today and that takes some doing.

If your political choices are consistent with Barack Obama's and you think that his positions will bring America together or make it a better place, then you will probably enjoy the ride and not forward this Email. If you are like most Americans that after examining what he stands for, are truly not in line with his record, it would be prudent to get off the wave or better yet, never get on, before it comes on shore and undermines the very foundations of this great Country. We have limited time to save America or the Supreme Court as we know it.

Inaction is action.

If you agree this is important, pass it on. The mainstream media will not do it for you!

Bill Brown

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS

Origins:   The Bill Brown referenced as the author of this "Obama Tidal Wave" piece is William Brown, the former president of World Wide Pictures (WWP), a subsidiary of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Although this item may have been written by someone named Bill Brown, that person was not the Bill Brown who is a "respected retired member of the Billy Graham team," according to a spokesman for the BGEA:
Although Bill Brown formerly worked in World Wide Pictures (a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), and is now retired, we can assure you that after researching this matter, the e-mail in question did not originate from either Mr. Brown or the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association does not hold an official position regarding any presidential candidate.
Bill Brown himself also stated in an e-mailed response that he was not the author of the "Obama Tidal Wave":
I neither wrote the letter nor the reference to Billy Graham. Some one else did that, I don't know who, and they added a reference to Billy Graham. So, please ignore it.
As for the substance of the piece, it's a jumble of opinion, genuine Barack Obama campaign positions, misinformation, and technically true but misleading statements:

o He voted against banning partial birth abortion.

Barack Obama voted against a 1997 bill to impose a ban on partial birth abortions.

o He voted no on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions.

Barack Obama voted against a 1996 bill requiring notification of the parents of minors who obtain out-of-state abortions.

o Supports affirmative action in Colleges and Government.

Senator Obama has expressed support for affirmative action programs, saying: "I still believe in affirmative action as a means of overcoming both historic and potentially current discrimination, but I think that it can't be a quota system."

o In 2001 he questioned harsh penalties for drug dealing.

Barack Obama voted "present" (essentially a "no" vote) on an Illinois state senate bill to increase penalties for trafficking in Ecstasy and other designer drugs, questioning "whether Illinois' drug penalties [were] appropriate considering that a person convicted of raping a woman at knifepoint would be charged with the same level of offense as someone convicted of selling 15 doses of ecstasy."

o Says he will deal with street level drug dealing as minimum wage affair.

This statement is a mischaracterized, out-of-context phrase plucked from a passage appearing in Barack Obama's 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope:
We need to tackle the nexus of unemployment and crime in the inner city. The conventional wisdom is that most unemployed inner-city men could find jobs if they really wanted to work; that they inevitably prefer drug dealing, with its attendant risks but potential profits, to the low-paying jobs that their lack of skill warrants. In fact, economists who've studied the issue — and the young men whose fates are at stake — will tell you that the costs and benefits of the street life don't match the popular mythology: At the bottom or even the middle ranks of the industry, drug dealing is a minimum-wage affair. For many inner-city men, what prevents gainful employment is not simply the absence of motivation to get off the streets but the absence of a job history or any marketable skills — and, increasingly, the stigma of a prison record.

We can assume that with lawful work available for young men now in the drug trade, crime in any community would drop.
o Admitted marijuana and cocaine use in high school and in college.

Barack Obama admitted to having used marijuana and cocaine in his 1995 book, Dreams from My Father.

o His religious convictions are very murky.

Barack Obama has spoken often and at length about his religiosity; whether his religious convictions can accurately be described as "murky" is a subjective issue.

o He is willing to meet with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jung Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During a Democratic presidential debate in July 2007, the following question was posed to Senator Obama: "Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?" He answered thusly:
I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.

Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.

And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. We've been talking about Iraq — one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they're going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses.
o Has said that one of his first goals after being elected would be to have a conference with all Muslim nations.

During a December 2007 interview with Bill Bradley for Sirius Satellite Radio, Senator Obama said that he would convene a conference with Muslim leaders during his first year in office specifically (among other reasons) to insist that they participate in the fight against terrorism:
I would convene a conference within my first year just gathering together Muslim leaders from all around the world, to describe for them what our values and our interests are, to insist that they need to help us to defeat the terrorist threats that are there, but to also recognize that they are bound up with us and that we have an interest in making sure that their societies can prosper and that we're moving forward with them as partners with dignity and respect.
o Opposed the Patriot Act. Before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama expressed opposition to the Patriot Act, but then as a senator he voted in favor of its renewal:
When he was running for the U.S. Senate in 2003, Obama filled out a questionnaire for the Illinois chapter of the National Organization for Women in which he stated his opposition to the president’s Patriot Act. "Yes, I would vote to repeal the U.S. Patriot Act," he wrote. "I would consider replacing that shoddy and dangerous law with a new, carefully crafted proposal that addressed in a much more limited fashion the legitimate needs of law enforcement in combating terrorism." In a speech to the American Library Association, he called for the Senate to rewrite the law to keep "Big Brother" from "peering over our shoulder." Yet when the Patriot Act came up for renewal in 2005, Obama compromised and voted alongside 88 other senators to reauthorize the law, even though the new version had only "modest" changes. "The compromise is far from perfect," he said. But it was good enough."
o Voted No on prohibiting law suits against gun manufacturers.

In 2005, Senator Obama voted against a bill (which ultimately passed) to "prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages."

o Supports universal health-care.

One of Senator Obama's stated campaign positions is to "make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress."

o Voted yes on providing habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.

Senator Obama opposed and voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), which (among other provisions) eliminated federal courts' jurisdiction to hear habeas applications from detainees being held as enemy combatants by the U.S. government at Guantanamo Bay. In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court found in favor of the detainees and ruled that portion of the MCA unconstitutional.

o Supports granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

Senator Obama said during the primary campaign in 2007 that he supported giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

o Voted yes on comprehensive immigration reform.

Senator Obama voted "yes" on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006. He did not vote either "yes" or "no" on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, because (although it was discussed in the Senate, and many amendments to it were proposed and voted upon) that bill was never brought to a vote in Congress.

o Voted yes on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security.

This statement is a mischaracterization of an amendment to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 which is discussed in a separate article on this site.

o Wants to make the minimum wage a 'living wage'.

One of Senator Obama's stated campaign positions regarding the economy is to "raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs."

o Voted with Democratic Party 96 percent of 251 votes.

A high degree of correlation with the voting patterns of fellow party members is a hallmark of virtually every member of Congress.

o Is a big believer in the separation of church and state.

Senator Obama has said that "the separation of church and state is critical and has caused our democracy and religious practices to thrive," and also that "doing the Lord's work is a thread that's run through our politics since the very beginning, and it puts the lie to the notion that the separation of church and state in America means faith should have no role in public life."

o Opposed to any efforts to Privatize Social Security and instead supports increasing the amount of tax paid.

Senator Obama has not favored the idea of privatizing the Social Security system, but saying that he "instead supports increasing the amount of tax paid" is a mischaracterization of his stated position. His expressed plan for Social Security is to eventually "ask those making over $250,000 to pay in the range of 2 to 4 percent more in total (combined employer and employee)" while "eliminating all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year."

o He voted No on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Senator Obama voted against amendments regarding exemptions to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) in 2007 and 2008 because Democrats felt exemptions to the AMT would results in large federal revenue shortfalls without offsetting budget cuts.

o He voted No on repealing the 'Death' Tax.

Senator Obama did not vote against "repealing the death tax"; in 2006 and 2008 he voted against raising the death tax exemption amount to $5 million.

o He wants to raise the Capital Gains Tax.

The Tax Plan Fact Sheet posted on Obama's web site proposes to "create a new top capital gains rate of 20 percent" while leaving the current capital gains tax rate intact for families with income under $250,000 and eliminating "all capital gains taxes on investments in small and start-up" businesses.

o Has repeatedly said the surge in Iraq has not succeeded.

Senator Obama expressed opposition to the "surge" in Iraq, but he has not always said that it has not succeeded. During a 21 February 2008 Democratic debate, for example, he provided the following answer when asked whether his opposition to the surge was wrong:
Q: You were opposed to the surge from the beginning. Were you wrong?

A: It is indisputable that we've seen violence reduced in Iraq. That's a credit to our brave men and women in uniform. The 1st Cavalry of Fort Hood played an enormous role in pushing back al Qaeda out of Baghdad. We honor their service.
The following exchange also took place during an Obama interview with Bill O'Reilly of Fox News on 4 September 2008:
O'REILLY: I think you were desperately wrong on the surge, and I think you should admit it to the nation that now we have defeated the terrorists in Iraq, and the Al Qaeda came there after we invaded, as you know. We defeated them.

OBAMA: Right.

O'REILLY: If we didn't, they would have used it as a staging ground. We've also inhibited Iran from controlling the southern part of Iraq by the surge, which you did not support. So why won't you say, "I was right in the beginning. I was wrong about that"?

OBAMA: If you listen to what I've said, and I'll repeat it right here on this show, I think that there's no doubt that the violence is down. I believe that that is a testimony to the troops that were sent and General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated, by the way, including President Bush and the other supporters. It has gone very well, partly because of the Anbar situation and the Sunni awakening, partly because of the Shia military.
o He is ranked as the most liberal Senator in the Senate today and that takes some doing.

Attempting to quantify any politician's degree of liberality (or conservatism) is an exercise that is more subjective than objective. It is true that the National Journal's "2007 Vote Ratings" declared Barack Obama to be the "Most Liberal Senator in 2007." However, that is just one publication's assessment, supported by a methodology of its own devising — other analysts have criticized the National Journal's methodology as flawed, while other organizations' methodologies for determining liberal-conservative ordering have produced quite different results.

Last updated:   5 September 2008

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