- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 1, 2004

On Tuesday night, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama, a candidate for U.S. Senate, delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, a spot traditionally reserved for governors and federal lawmakers. Consensus: He hit all the right chords, wowed the audience without resorting to Bush-bashing and fulfilled his promise as a rising star in the Democratic Party.

The Democrats chose wisely when they decided to give the slot to Mr. Obama. Indeed, his biography alone augers well for an easy win in his Senate race. Born to a Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother, and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii, Mr. Obama combines a lower-class background with Ivy League gentility. After earning a law degree from Harvard, he worked as a civil-rights lawyer and college lecturer in Chicago before being elected a state senator in 1997.

During his keynote address Tuesday night, Mr. Obama, while devoting a great deal of time to his rags-to-riches bio, positioned himself as a moderate and even tickled the crowd with some conservative values, such as calling for personal responsibility, a strong national defense and limited government.

In fact, so enamored have many in the media been over this prodigy that many conveniently have overlooked the rather unsurprising fact that Mr. Obama is just another liberal. Consider the following:

• In October 2002, Mr. Obama said that the buildup to the war against Saddam Hussein was just a political diversion concocted by Bush political adviser Karl Rove. Mr. Obama said that a “rigorous, multilateral inspections regime” would have been sufficient to contain Saddam Hussein.

• Asked if he would support Howard Dean as the Democratic presidential candidate, Mr. Obama replied, “Absolutely.”

• Mr. Obama has been endorsed by the anti-defense organization Council for a Livable World, which supports cuts in defense spending and opposes missile defense.

• Mr. Obama supports gun-control laws across the board. As an official at the Illinois State Riflle Association told us, “Mr. Obama is about as liberal as you can get” on the question of gun ownership.

• Mr. Obama opposed President Bush’s tax cuts and has said all of them should be repealed. Recently, however, he amended his position and now says that those tax cuts that benefit the middle class should be retained.

• Mr. Obama supports affirmative action, opposes No Child Left Behind and school vouchers and has been endorsed by the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

• Mr. Obama has received a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council.

• Mr. Obama is a critic of NAFTA and has said that the United States should “retool trade agreements to include protections for American workers and the global environment.”

As his star continues to rise, we hope Mr. Obama will become the politician he pretended to be in his speech Tuesday night. Old habits die hard, though.

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