As you can see by reviewing the history of this blog, I've reserved judgment on Senator Barack Obama's candidacy. I knew very little about him to base a judgment on early in the primary elections. I learned more and more about him as his campaign progressed and I became very impressed with Obama by the end of the primary elections.
One of the top two factors that I liked about him is that he struck me as being sincere in his politics. There was no double-talk and spin in his words. When questioned, he would respond head-on rather than trying to dodge the questions, as is altogether too common among candidates. I could sense his commitment to his stances on the issues. Obama seemed to be the most authentic candidate I've seen in some time.
Unfortunately, cracks have recently begun to show in this foundation. Many months ago -- before it became evident that he would raise so much funds for his campaign privately -- Obama said he would use public financing for his campaign. Now that it looks like he will likely surpass half a billion dollars of fund raising for this campaign, Obama decided to opt out of public financing.
I have no problem with this decision; it would've been political malpractice to stick with his original position. It's Obama's justification for the change in his position on public financing that I find weak. If the public financing system is broken, why did he originally support it? Obama would've seemed much more sincere had he instead simply said, "I changed my mind; it would've been unfair to my supporters to not fully leverage their contributions."
To add to that, Obama stated his support for the update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that is currently before the House of Representatives. It's bad enough that President Bush considers himself above the law when it comes to the FISA. Now Obama favors law that removes more of the right to privacy that the Bill of Rights gave us.
Yet he also claims that he will fight to strip a provision granting immunity to telecommunication companies when the bill comes to a vote in the Senate next week. If Obama opposes the terms of the bill, why would he state his support for it? I'm having difficulty finding the sincerity of this seeming contradiction.
These two issues alone are not enough for me to denounce Obama. However, if this is a trend that continues, it will certainly lead me to question my support for his candidacy. I hope the future brings us consistent stances from Obama that reinforce his persona of sincerity.