They nominated the wrong candidate.
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s speech on Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention in Denver demonstrated the Democrats made a fatal mistake by choosing Mr. Obama to be their standardbearer. She was sharp, focused and effective.
More important, Mrs. Clinton’s brand of pragmatic liberalism, which targets working- and middle-class voters, resonates with mainstream Americans in a way Mr. Obama’s romantic, messianic movement does not. She champions bread-and-butter issues. He talks about a “new kind of politics” that promises to transform Washington and drive special interests, lobbyists and money-changers from the political temple.
Mr. Obama, however, has abandoned the fundamental basis of his candidacy - the basis that propelled him to victory in the Democratic primaries: his claim to be an authentic, honest, post-ideological and post-racial politician. He vowed he was different from the old guard that has dominated Washington. He was the anti-establishment maverick, someone who would simultaneously smash the venal Clinton machine and the corrupt Bush Republicans - while ushering in a new post-partisanship era.
Over the last few months, Mr. Obama has behaved not like a political messiah, but a typical, duplicitous politician. He has flip-flopped on issues, such as offshore oil drilling, terrorist surveillance, the North American Free Trade Agreement, public financing of campaigns and handguns. Expediency trumps principle.
His biggest mistake was picking Sen. Joseph Biden as his vice-presidential running mate. Mr. Biden is the consummate Washington insider. He has been in the Senate for more than 35 years. He has forged countless alliances with lobbyists and Democratic special interest groups - labor unions, trial lawyers, feminists, and the pro-abortion and homosexual lobbies. He is a ruthless partisan, who embodies the corruption and lust for power plaguing Congress. During his 1988 presidential run, Mr. Biden plagiarized a speech nearly word-for-word from Britain’s then-Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock. The scandal destroyed his candidacy. It also revealed that Mr. Biden is an unscrupulous fraud.
The choice of Mr. Biden undercuts the moral legitimacy of Mr. Obama’s candidacy. Mr. Biden is a Democratic stalwart who is part of the political status quo Mr. Obama supposedly vows to overturn. There is nothing new, fresh, post-ideological or post-partisan about Mr. Biden.
Hence, Mr. Obama has lost the compelling rationale for his movement. He is no longer the anti-establishment candidate. He has quickly become conventional. The other problem Mr. Obama faces is his radical, leftist past - a past his campaign and a compliant media are desperately trying to conceal. This will not work; the truth will eventually emerge - and the American electorate will decisively turn against him.
Although earlier this year Mr. Obama said he was shocked by Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s anti-American comments, he was not. For years, Mr. Obama was a member of Trinity United Church, where Mr. Wright pounded the pulpit championing black liberation theology - a vitriolic fusion of militant Christianity, black nationalism and Marxist-Leninism. According to Mr. Wright, the U.S. is a sinful nation characterized by racism, class oppression and imperialism. He was Mr. Obama’s spiritual mentor.
In his 1995 autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” Mr. Obama lays bare that it was Mr. Wright’s fiery oratory and religious worldview that compelled him to join the congregation. The racial firebrand tells Mr. Obama: “Life’s not safe for a black man in this country, Barack. Never has been. Probably never will be.” Mr. Obama also quotes Mr. Wright as saying in a sermon that “white folks’ greed runs a world in need.” It is obvious Mr. Obama was aware of Mr. Wright’s anti-white, black separatist views, and that his former preacher advocated a Christian socialist doctrine based on collectivism, economic redistribution and hatred of America. For Mr. Obama to suggest otherwise is simply disingenuous.
There is also growing evidence Mr. Obama has had close ties with radical activist groups, such as the Gamaliel Foundation and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Gamaliel and ACORN are hard-left community organizing umbrella organizations. Their goal is to destroy capitalism and corporate power through militant mass action. Documents now show that while he served as a board member of the Chicago-based Woods Fund, Mr. Obama played a pivotal role in funneling large grants to both groups. He has even continued his connections with Gamaliel while in the U.S. Senate.
Mr. Obama is doomed to defeat. His best efforts to camouflage his left-wing associations will not work. He can flip-flop on issue after issue in the vain hope he will deceive Americans. Yet he is clearly a liar and a phony, a false messiah. He will not lead the Democrats - or the country - to the Promised Land: He has no credibility.
Mr. McCain will win - and win big - in November.
effrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times.