More (Weak) Inconsistency Claims Thrown Obama’s Way


obama-flag.jpg A little more oppo research on Obama has hit the press. A few days back, a rival campaign gave Politico a 1993 survey that Obama filled out on which Obama indicated positions on the death penalty and on gun control that are slightly different from the ones he holds now.

Now someone has given a similar survey, this time from 2003, to ABC News. Again, Obama’s answers are ever-so-slightly different than his current positions. Follow me, after the jump.

Patriot Act:

In that 2003 questionnaire Obama vowed to vote to repeal the USA PATRIOT Act, though he said he “would consider replacing that shoddy and dangerous law with a new, carefully drafted proposal …”

Two years later, Obama voted in favor of re-authorizing the PATRIOT Act.

“This compromise does modestly improve the PATRIOT Act by strengthening civil liberties protections without sacrificing the tools that law enforcement needs to keep us safe,” Obama said as he voted to re-authorize the bill.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

Asked by NOW in 2003 if he would support “legislation that eliminates all discrimination in the military based on sexual orientation,” Obama then hedged a bit. Though in many of his answers he simply affirmed “Yes,” in this one he did not.

“I would have to examine specific legislation,” he wrote, “but I would oppose policies that fail to advance equal rights in the military.”

Obama today as a presidential candidate -– giving an answer that many gay and lesbian voters no doubt approve of — has directly called for “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” to be repealed.

Defense of Marriage Act:

Asked in 2003 if he would support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (erroneously called the “Protection of Marriage Act” in the questionnaire), Obama wrote, “I support laws recognizing domestic partnerships and providing benefits to domestic partners. However, I do not support legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Obama changed his mind on that issue in 2004 and now supports repealing DOMA. Per Obama spokesman Bill Burton: “Obama has opposed DOMA. He felt it was a poorly conceived law and, in 2004, after hearing from gay friends who relayed to Obama how hurtful it was for the bill to be law, he supported its repeal.”

So… he hoped to repeal the Patriot Act, but then accepted an altered version; his position on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is basically the same; and he reversed himself completely on the Defense of Marriage Act “after hearing from gay friends” about “how hurtful it was.” DOMA, an awful bill, was passed under the Clinton administration. Hillary Clinton has also flip-flopped on it.

Not much pop here, folks…

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.