Disingenuous Obama Talks Like a Politician

Part II

In the previous post below we examined Senator Obama’s use of distractions to avoid direct answers to direct questions from Fox News Interviewer, Chris Wallace. In this post are some examples of how Obama talks like a politician, with cynical, politically motivated deceptions.

flimflam.jpgMr. Wallace challenged Obama to demonstrate that he really is the “unifier” he claims to be rather than the hardened partisan he appears to be from his limited voting record: “As a president, can you name a hot button issue where you would be willing to cross Democratic party lines and say Republicans have a better idea here?”

Obama responded that back in the 60s and 70s Republicans had a better approach to regulating business. Obviously, that answer provides no useful information for voters in 2008.

Teachers Unions

Obama went on to claim he had defied his party’s most entrenched special interest, the teachers unions. If accurate, this claim certainly would be noteworthy. Obama said,

“We should be experimenting with different ways of compensating teachers…”

Wallace interrupted: “you mean merit pay?” Obama answered:

“Well, merit pay, the way it has been designed, based on just a single standardized test, I think is a big mistake, because the way we measure performance may be skewed by whether or not the kids are coming in the school already three years or four years behind.”

“But I think that having assessment tools and then saying, you know what, teachers who are on career paths to become better teachers, developing themselves professionally, that we should pay more.”

Senator Obama criticized “a single standardized test.” Does this mean he favors more thorough testing? Nope. He offered no ideas to improve the testing regime.

He formed a misleading sentence by hooking the phrase “having assessment tools” together with the idea of paying more to teachers who “are on career paths to become better teachers…”

Including the first phrase is a deliberate attempt to deceive because the rest of the sentence describes the existing, union-supported pay scheme that does not factor in student test results. In most states teachers are already given pay increases for what the unions say makes them “better,” earning additional college credits and spending additional time on the job. The most successful teachers get no recognition and no more pay than mediocre teachers with equivalent seniority and college credits.

This whole exchange is nothing but slick politics-speak. Obama claims to be bucking the politically powerful union when in fact he’s willfully promoting the union’s agenda. He disparages the only existing tool to measure how effective teachers are, testing their students. He offers no alternative to measure student learning so that more effective teachers can be paid more. He affirms the status quo, automatic pay increases for time on the job and additional eductation, without regard for teaching success

Consider this excerpt from the Teacher Union web site:

“We need a fairer and more accurate accountability system that gives credit to schools that started further behind but are making real progress. Any additional indicators used to assess student learning and school performance should be helpful, not harmful; and they should not lead to more testing.

“The legislation should not impose new and unnecessary requirements on teachers and paraprofessionals, and should not include a federal mandate to use test scores to evaluate teachers for incentive or performance pay. Including a new federal mandate for evaluating teacher performance would take us in the wrong direction.”

The casual listener to Fox News might get the impression that Obama favors merit pay for more effective teachers. In truth, the teacher union is against merit pay based on success in teaching students, and so is Obama.

1 Comment so far

  1. aaa again on May 5th, 2008

    You have hit the nail on the head. Until a few years ago Sen. Obama was a non-descript state senator with a penchant for voting “present.” (Now there’s unvarnished truth and bold leadership indeed!!) As best one can tell, his greatest achievement in IL was being a reliable vote for state senate leader, and power broker, Emil Jones. But concrete legislation??? Uh…….

    Never reported by the press, but IL residents know that Obama’s election was a byproduct of good fortune. When elected to the US Senate he was initially running against a Republican favored to win, but who’s messy divorce proceedings scuttled his candidacy. Subsequently the cartoonish Alan Keyes “moved to IL” and ran as the Republican. Obama’s election was sealed. And the rich record of achievement on the national scene?? Uh…….

    This of course is all facilitated by a fawning press that has completely abrogated its journaistic duty by essentially giving the man a pass. (Why?? The best explanation I have heard is their hope that an Obama Presidency would put racial tensions in the past. If true, a noble intention, but a breathtakingly naive and reckless action.) If not for the Fighting Clinton’s making sure the Rev Wright issue surfaced, what would we see in the press but journalists tossing flower petals at Obama?

    Yes, Obama is nothing more than a smooth talking pol who has no track record to run on, and who has given us precious little sense what he would actually do as President other than hand out candy paid for by those evil rich.