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May 19, 2008

Barack and Michelle Obama’s Hypocrisy


Barack Obama has painted himself as someone new, as a “change” in U.S. politics, and as a Washington outsider who is uncorrupted by politicians’ ethical deficiencies, divisiveness and hypocrisy.


Yet in the period since the launch of his presidential campaign (which today is more than half as old as his entire Senate career up to that point), Obama and his wife have managed a larger magnitude of hypocrisy than a dozen Washington politicians combined. And the power couple has not even reached the general election yet.


Taxes and Riches. Michelle Obama has done her fair share of complaining about the financial difficulties she and her husband have had to endure. Discussing her household expenses, she gripes, “I know we’re spending . . . between the two kids . . . about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth.”


That would be fine, except for the fact that she said this to a room full of Muskingum County, Ohio residents whose median household income in 2004 was $37,192.


But perhaps the reason the Obamas have been able to spend thousands of dollars on dance lessons for their kids is because they took advantage of the same tax cuts that they have been simultaneously condemning. If they thought the tax cuts were so evil, why have they not insisted on sending extra money to the government?


Or they could have given more to charity. But from 2000 to 2004, when the Obamas were making, on average, $240,000 per year, they gave less than one percent of their money to charity. The Obamas said that this was because they were young parents who were still paying off their student loans in those years, and thus it was all they could give. That’s fine – normally, people should not be criticized for choosing to donate too little of their income to charity.


Things change, however, when Barack says that “once people are making over $200,000 to $250,000 they can afford to pay a little more in payroll tax.” But . . . what happened to the children and the student loans? How can Obama say he had too many expenses to afford giving even one percent of his $240,000 income to charity, and then, once he became a comfortable millionaire, turn around and say that people in the $200,000-to-$250,000 range can afford to pay more in taxes?


Do others not have student loans and children? Do financial difficulties only apply to his household? What hypocrisy.


“New” Politics. Barack Obama has centered his campaign on “change” in politics and the “audacity of hope” for something new. But the longer he is in politics, the more he appears to be of the same old breed of politicians.


Requesting $330 million in pork in a single year is already a sign of someone who has been “seasoned and stewed” by Washington, as Obama claims his opponents want him to be. At least other politicians gain some experience alongside their sleaze. Obama has yet to get the experience, but he’s already bringing home the pork.


In fact, he has requested $1 million of your money for the University of Chicago Medical Center. Of course, one of the vice presidents of that hospital is, drum-roll . . . Michelle Obama! Sketchy? A bit, perhaps. But it gets worse when you find out that Michelle’s hospital salary nearly tripled soon after Barack’s election to the U.S. Senate.


Now how is this behavior consistent with Obama’s claim as the pioneer of “new politics?” It is not. It is hypocrisy.


Corporate confusion. Both Barack and Michelle Obama are products of corporate America, having both launched their careers in corporate law. Michelle has since gone on to serve on the board of TreeHouse Foods, Inc., which supplied most of its pickle and pepper products to Wal-Mart.


Michelle, however, stepped down from the board when her husband realized the necessity of bashing Wal-Mart, America’s largest private employer. But if she thought that her position was acceptable when her husband wasn’t looking for votes, why should that change when he was?


The Obamas’ confusion on corporations does not end there. “Don’t go into corporate America,” Michelle has suggested, while Barack has complained about corporate profits. Yet at the same time, Barack acts incensed when he hears of corporations moving abroad, insisting that they instead remain in the United States and hire American workers. Except we just established that Michelle doesn’t want Americans to work for corporations. Why are the Obamas so intent on keeping corporations in the U.S. if they want them unstaffed and unprofitable?


It is hypocrisy.


Yes it is. And there is much more hypocrisy to Barack Obama. Obama wants to improve America’s image abroad, yet angers our allies by opposing tremendously beneficial free trade agreements. Obama claims he cannot disown his long-time pastor when he thinks he can make the country forget about the issue, yet disowns him when it becomes obvious Americans won’t forget about it. Obama speaks of hope and optimism, yet paints America as a country of failures, misery and gloom.


It is Barack Obama’s right to do all of these things. But it is America’s duty to see it as hypocrisy.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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