Addison Gardner: Always right | AspenTimes.com

Back to: Columns

Addison Gardner: Always right

Last week the media’s celestial choir was interrupted by a couple of character eruptions that lifted Obama’s messianic mantel and revealed Nike running togs and a gold Rolex.

No, I’m not referring to the junior senator’s Commander-in-Chief podium seal ” a glimpse of which displayed the Himalayan hubris that’s characterized his campaign of late. Somebody must’ve reminded Obama that he still had a Denver convention to attend, and the annoying formality of a November election to win.

The seal incident allowed us to break out of ranks, momentarily, and provided much needed comic relief from the drudgery of the Bataan march to Barack’s coronation.

I’m referring, instead, to the rank cynicism reflected in Obama’s eleventh-hour refusal to accept public financing ” supposedly on the grounds that “the system is broken.”

When viewed through the rearview mirror of Obama’s February invitation to Sen. McCain to join him in pledging to “strengthen the public system” and “to ensure things remain fair,” this craven cash-grab seems more “politics as usual” than “change we can believe in.”

McCain ” a committed campaign finance reformer ” agreed to abide by public financing restrictions. His hands are now knotted behind his back, and Sen. Obama is free to suck up cash like Bill Clinton vacuuming an audience of Arab princes.

Point to Mr. Obama.

Obama has developed a bad habit of treating his voting public like a pantry of Idaho baking potatoes. Either he’s getting terrible advice from the Washington insiders he eschews in public ” but surrounds himself with in private ” or he seriously underestimates the intelligence of the American voter.

The Obama campaign spends endless hours scrubbing the bleachers behind the senator’s podium of women in Islamic dress (and making sure there’s a numerically correct sampling of white faces), but it manages to overlook the issues that reveal the substance and character of its candidate: Little details like honoring your word.

The senator’s reneging on his campaign-finance pledge destroys the conceit that Obama is some sort of alabaster-robed anti-insider ” a Cicero for our times ” and too busy stitching up America’s cultural wounds to concern himself with campaign finances.

If you’ve seen Cuba Gooding Jr.’s famous “Jerry McGuire” shower scene ” “Show me the money!” ” you’ve seen Barack Obama’s naked, political “air-drying,” too ” especially after his recent change of heart about campaign finance equality.

To be fair, it’s not hard to mine McCain’s nearly three decades in public service for inconsistencies, either, but McCain has worn many hats, and represented everyone from American Indians (twice chairman of Senate Committee on Indian Affairs) to Latinos, to American business interests as Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

What has Obama accomplished, by comparison?

We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of Democrat politicians and celebrity luminaries ” frozen in space and time ” when a reporter thrusts a microphone in their faces and asks them to name a single Obama accomplishment. Without fail, their countenances slacken, and they adopt an expression reminiscent of Dan Quayle’s debate encounter with Lloyd Bentsen.

The Bentsen “You’re no Jack Kennedy!” beheading of Quayle ” during that October vice-presidential debate 20 years ago ” set the standard for dispatching and freeze-drying barnyard fowl. Watching this season’s man-in-the-street interviews of Democrat “likely voters” who’ve been waylaid by that Obama accomplishment question, I’m reminded of Quayle’s cloudy, dilated eyes.

“Obama accomplishment?” (cue game show waiting theme) “Well, I, uh ” I can’t name a specific accomplishment, but I can tell you that he’s all about change: He’s for an end to partisan divisiveness, politics-as-usual, and he’s for racial reconciliation!”

There comes a moment, during the airing of each “American Idol” season, when husbands across America are forced to admit that they’ve been captivated by their favorite contestant’s cleavage, and not her singing voice.

“OK, well, maybe I can’t name my favorite Kelly Pickler ballad, but I can tell you she endorses change, racial reconciliation, and free government health care!”

Uh-huh.

Just this past week ” on the heels of his announcement that he had decided to forego public financing in exchange for several hundred-million in private fund-raising loot ” Obama was recorded hitting another off-key note during a fundraising stop in Florida.

Speaking in hushed tones about dark plans to sabotage his election, Obama shared the following with his audience: “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young, and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

Obama’s preemptive use of weapons of racial destruction gives the lie to the claim that he’s a new kind of politician ” one bent on healing America’s racial wounds. He pulled this same sort of stunt during the primaries, and had the Clintons crying foul as their former delegates and media allies peeled off and flocked to Obama’s side.

Sen. Obama, Abraham Lincoln had it right: “You cannot fool all the people all the time.” You cannot take a vow of pubic-finance piety ” then give us a head-fake ” and grab the bundled corporate cash. Voters notice.

Nor can you ignite a wall of racial animus, dance behind the flames, and then claim that your true mission is one of American unity and “post-racial” reconciliation. We hear you, Sen. Obama; but, increasingly, we also see you.

Don’t polish that presidential seal prematurely.