A lot of people seem shocked that Obama has turned out to be as radical as he is. But what exactly was the electorate expecting?
During the campaign, Obama stuck mostly to platitudes about "hope" and "change." He did say that he wanted to curtail the influence of lobbyists in government, and end entitlements in Congressional bills, two changes everybody wanted. He said he would work for gay rights and institute a health system which would not force anyone to buy insurance. (He has done pretty much the opposite on each issue.)
If you had wanted to know where Obama really stood, all you had to do was look at his mentors. People generally don't seek out the hard core leftists Obama did unless they themselves share the same basic outlook.
The most publicized mentor was the Reverend Wright, who famously said we live "in a world in need run by white people in greed," along with other choice sound bites. When the tapes appeared, Obama claimed that he must not have attended church those days. But does anyone seriously believe that the tone of Wright's comments were any different on the days Obama did go to church? And Obama did attend his church for seventeen years and donated $70,000 of his own money over two years.
There was unrepentant bomber Bill Ayers, with whom Obama worked on a number of different projects, and in whose apartment Obama kicked off his Senatorial campaign. Obama tried to distance himself, but Ayers' fingerprints were all over his years as a community organizer.
There was Ayers' wife, Bernardine Dohrn, who as recently as 2007 said she was working to overthrow the capitalist system. (Straightforward types like Dohrn are generally less dangerous than the wily types who use words like "hope" and "change" instead of "revolution.")
There was Father Michael Pfleger, the white (but Ebonics-spouting) hater of "white privilege," a frequent guest speaker at the Reverend Wright's Trinity Church.
There was Rashid Khalidi, the former PLO operative, at whose house Obama had dinner on numerous occasions and whose organization Obama steered money towards while on the board of the Woods Foundation.
There was Frank Marshall Davis, the communist poet Obama sought out as a mentor while still in high school.
From such hotbeds do not spring centrists.
If a middle aged man of Italian heritage hangs out mostly with Mafiosi, has no visible means of support, and lives luxuriously, yet claims not to be involved in organized crime, would you believe him? If a man has exclusively gay male friends, goes to gay bars, and never seems to date women, but tells you he's straight, would you believe him?
A good portion of the electorate believed Barack Obama.
P.T. Barnum was right.