- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Columnist Robert Novak reports John McCain will not yield to Barack Obama’s efforts to shame him into running a vanilla campaign. Instead, he says, Mr. McCain is lining up crack research operatives. Interestingly, their charge is not to gather dirt on Mr. Obama per se, but “to focus on the real Barack Obama.” From where I’m sitting, that looks like one whale of a target-rich environment.

That is, Mr. McCain’s operatives don’t have to dig up dirt on Mr. Obama to damage his chances; they merely have to dig through the facade and uncover the real Barack Obama. Even with the damning revelations concerning his association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former terrorist William Ayers, I suspect Obama explorers have barely scratched the surface.

While Mr. Obama will continue to complain that an examination into his associations is dirty politics, it is anything but. We are known by the company we keep, and this goes for applicants for leader of the Free World as well.

But in Mr. Obama’s case, the McCain researchers will just be getting started with Mr. Obama’s sordid associations. Where he’s really vulnerable - where he most doesn’t want you to find out who he really is - is on policy.

Given his George Soros brand of extreme leftism, Mr. Obama will do his best to conceal his real policy self, except to the San Francisco environmental- and social-issues anarchists, the arts and croissants crowd of the Northeast Corridor, and the neo-Marxist professorial elite in academe. Of course, now that he knows microphones and bloggers can pop up anywhere, he won’t even feel comfortable letting his guard down in these friendly venues to edify us about such things as small-town bitterology.

Not only is Mr. Obama highly vulnerable on policy issues across the board - assuming people discover what he actually stands for - but also his main policy weakness (national security) is made to order for John McCain to exploit.

Obviously, Mr. Obama is sensitive to the charge that he’s weak on security, but it’s not clear he quite understands why.

Dovish, isolationist types such as Mr. Obama don’t view it as a weakness, but as a sign of enlightenment to believe dictators can be schmoozed and persuaded into better behavior.

Mr. Obama apparently believes Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reasonable demands that can be satisfied and that he, Barack Obama, might be just the guy to satisfy them. “If I can change Iran’s behavior… that’s something that we should explore.”

In his stump speech, he actually implies we haven’t made clear our position to Iran about its nuclear program or intermeddling in Iraq.

I’m not the only one who picked up on that implication. One of his supporters, author Nancy Soderberg, confirmed on Fox News that Mr. Obama believes “you need to use your carrots and sticks to talk to [Iran].” We haven’t told them, she agreed, that they must quit meddling in Iraq and developing nuclear weapons. I honestly couldn’t believe my ears.

Isn’t it ironic that effete liberals, who can’t see the reality of evil staring them in the face, reckon that it is realistic conservatives who are reality-challenged?

Indeed, the hard left doesn’t seem to think Mr. Ahmadinejad is that bad a guy or unapproachable. Remember the swooning of the elitist class when the Holocaust denier wrote President Bush a lengthy propaganda letter disguised as an invitation for a dialogue? It was a “thoughtful letter,” they panted.

One would think it self-evident that the dictator, who refers to Israel as filthy bacteria, is up to no good and not approachable through diplomacy absent unilateral forfeiture of our best interests and those of our allies; that a one-on-one meeting with the president of the United States would send an enormously discouraging signal to our Middle Eastern allies, including American-friendly Iranians praying for the overthrow of this tyrant; and that you can’t gain concessions from thugs such as Mr. Ahmadinejad through words alone - uncoupled with action or credible threats of using force.

But these things are not self-evident to Barack Obama, who comes from the Jimmy Carter school of resolving all doubt in favor of our enemies, as he did when he blamed the Bush administration instead of NATO for NATO’s failure to help us in Afghanistan.

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