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 What Obama Can Do 

April 9, 2007 
Indent for Obama & HonorSo Barack Obama has Big Momma on the canvas. When it comes to fundraising, he has essentially beaten La Hillary at her own game, nearly matching her $26 million but with far more Today's column is "What Obama Can Do" -- Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.donors.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorAnd since we’re all a wee bit tired of her, he’s the sentimental favorite. It’s the young underdog versus the aging Überfrau.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorWhen you’re the brawny Goliath, you can’t play for a tie. A draw with skinny little David can’t be spun as a “moral victory.” If the bookies are picking you to squash him like a bug, you’d better not let him embarrass you.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorObama has already beaten the point spread. This can only sap the Clinton team’s morale and give prospective donors grave doubts.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorObama is on his best behavior. He’s running as Bill Cosby, not Richard Pryor, as if he’s afraid of seeming uppity and would rather be safely solemn. Too bad. Think of the fun he could have by abandoning strict propriety and tweaking Hillary a bit:

Indent for Obama & 
Honor“Mrs. Clinton, if elected president, would you return at least some of the White House furniture you and your husband made off with?”

Indent for Obama & 
Honor“Mrs. Clinton, you are known as a feminist leader. What steps would you as president take to protect female White House interns from harassment in the workplace?”

Indent for Obama & 
Honor“Mrs. Clinton, it has been said that if you win the presidency, we will have a known sexual predator back in the White House. Care to comment?”

Indent for Obama & 
HonorThese are the sort of questions the public would remember long after her answers, supposing she could answer at all. But such playfulness just isn’t Obama’s style. In a more serious vein, however, there is something else he can do, something unexpected that would enhance his stature.

Indent for Obama & HonorHe can call on President Bush to resign from office.

[Breaker quote for What Obama Can Do: A call for honor]Indent for Obama & HonorMany Democrats would like to impeach Bush but don’t dare to try. For one thing, they think it’s too late, and they have a point. Bush has less than two years to go, and impeachment is now a long, slow process, almost as protracted as a presidential race.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorThis is regrettable; it should be no harder than overriding a veto — a short debate and a vote, followed by summary dismissal, if warranted. In essence, it’s the firing of a servant, a public servant, for abuse of his office, compounded, in this case, by gross incompetence. But he could still have his pension and other lavish perks usually denied to a disgruntled former employee of the U.S. Government.

Indent for Obama & HonorIn other societies, honor has imposed much sterner penalties on disgraced rulers: suicide, beheading, hara-kiri. Obama wouldn’t be asking Bush to fall on his sword; he’d merely be urging him to behave honorably for the sake of the country. Is a single act of honor too great a sacrifice to demand of a man who has sent so many others to die?

Indent for Obama & 
HonorNor could Obama be easily accused of partisan motives. At this point Bush has become a burden to the Republicans and an asset to the Democrats. If he stepped down, it would help his own party more than their opponents. And most patriots would be relieved.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorLast fall’s elections amounted to a national no-confidence vote on this president. If he were a prime minister under a parliamentary system, he would already be gone.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorWe can assume that Bush, being Bush, would not resign. In today’s politics, the very idea of honor is, as they say, outside the box. But by asking for his resignation in the name of honor, Obama would set a new standard for politics, in the sense that everything old is new again.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorSuch a gesture would have deep resonance and inspire serious discussion. Bush could hardly ignore it. And it would earn Obama great respect. Honest Republicans might join him, agreeing that Bush’s presidency can no longer be salvaged.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorThe shadow of dishonor would fall across the remainder of Bush’s term. As it should.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorBut the decks would be cleared for a new Republican presidential candidate in 2008, one who had kept his distance from Bush. The big loser would be John McCain, who not only supports the Iraq war but, as 60 Minutes has just shown, lies about it even more brazenly and preposterously than Bush does.

Indent for Obama & 
HonorObama has the chance to win the gratitude even of Americans who have given up on voting.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2007 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
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