Will the Real Barack Obama Please Stand Up…

There are times when political persuasion does not matter. It comes down to basics. It is having a job – being able to pay the rent or mortgage, being able to pay the bills, being able to put food on the table. It is a matter of dignity. Having a job and having that pay check mean security.

During the preliminary campaign against Senator Clinton, Senator Obama railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The treaty has meant that jobs have left the country, with the prospect of more work leaving American communities. It has meant unemployment for many and all the angst that brings. Senator Obama recognized the harm that NAFTA was doing. He left the impression that he was against this agreement. Jobs were sacrosanct for a healthy economy.

Now, however, a more centralist stance is needed. And with that, Senator Obama’s perspective on NAFTA has changed:

“…In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine’s upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn’t want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.

“Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? “Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself,” he answered.”

link: Obama: NAFTA not so bad after all

It seems that, when jobs are disappearing, people tend to believe that ‘overheated rhetoric’.

How does the voter determine when a candidate will stand his ground and when it is ‘overheated rhetoric’? People want to believe. People recognize that there are monumental problems for the next president. To say what is expedient or to say what the people want to hear is disingenuous, if it is empty rhetoric.

It underestimates the strength of the people. The voters would respect the truth. It is time for political leaders to ‘say what they mean and mean what they say’. It is old-fashioned but simple candor still counts.

Catherine Forsythe