From “The Buck Stops Here” to “Above My Pay Grade”
‘Pay grade’ unartful dodge
Smart money shouldn’t be on Obama
By Michael Graham | Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Op-Ed
“Well, uh, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or, uh, a scientific perspective, uh, answering that question with specificity, uh, you know, is, is, uh, above my pay grade.” – Sen. Barack Obama, on “When does a baby get human rights?”
In 1948, they had Harry Truman and “The buck stops here!”
In 2008, they’ve got Barack Obama and it’s “above my pay grade.”
This is definitely not your grandfather’s Democratic Party.
Certainly not mine. My grandfather, Ray Futrell, was a lifelong FDR Democrat, the kind who would proudly rather vote for a wife-beating, syphilitic drunkard than for a Republican. In fact, he would find the previous sentence entirely redundant.
My grandfather helped push Patton’s tanks across Europe, and one reason for my grandfather’s unshakable party loyalty was his belief that Harry Truman saved his life by dropping the A-bombs on Japan.
If Truman hadn’t made the call – if he’d demurred that such a profound life-and-death decision was “above my pay grade” – my grandfather believed that he and untold thousands of Americans would have died invading the Japanese mainland.
I miss my grandfather, but I’m also glad that he isn’t around to witness the tragic descent of his beloved Democratic Party.
Watching Obama with the Rev. Rick Warren this past weekend, answering questions – or, more accurately, not answering – about his most basic beliefs was simply embarrassing.
Obama supports partial-birth abortion and voted against the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act.” When he got the invitation to an evangelical forum hosted by a pro-life pastor, he had to know that issues regarding life and the law were going to come up.
And his prepared answer to the most fundamental question about public policy and abortion (“is the fetus a human being?”) is that it’s “above my pay grade?”
There are certain sentences that should never appear on the lips of the Leader of the Free World. “That Vladimir Putin, what a great guy!” is one of them. “I did not have sex with that woman” is another.
But on the very top of the list of statements about our nation’s laws that should never be spoken by a guy whose job it is to sit next to the Big, Red Button is “That’s above my pay grade.”
With all due respect, Sen. Obama, being president is above your pay grade. And the voters are starting to figure that out.
Politico.com reported yesterday that 75 percent of Americans believe that John McCain can “handle the job of commander in chief.” Only 50 percent feel the same about Obama. A whopping 42 percent told pollsters they believe Obama is simply not up to the task.
Who can blame them? Obama wants the difficult duty of taking on Iran and North Korea, but he can’t even handle Rick Warren or the Clintons – the latter having commandeered Obama’s own convention in Denver next week and forced their way into a pro-Hillary roll call. Having been routed by the Clintonistas, Obama wants a chance to lead against al-Qaeda? Please.
Leaders don’t pass tough questions to the next “pay grade.” They don’t need five minutes to answer yes-or-no questions about the surge or Russia’s invasion of a democratic neighbor.
Politicians flip-flop on taxes and FISA and the Second Amendment to meet the political needs of the moment. They try to explain away the votes they’ve already cast, like Obama’s extreme pro-abortion voting record. Or they courageously cast 130 non-votes of “present” in the Illinois legislature and pass the buck that way.
That’s not leadership, that’s politics. And Barack Obama is 100 percent pure politician.
He is certainly no Harry Truman.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view.bg?articleid=1113869
R. W. “Dick” Gaines
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