'Obamazebo' Reveals the Candidate's Flawed Judgment

"Judgment to Lead" is supposedly what Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama brings to the table. The claim, as PJM's Pam Meister described it last month, is that "he may not have the same experience as his opponent, but he has what it takes to make the right call."

While others search vainly for examples in Obama's political life supporting that claim, I will describe a situation -- what was has come to be known as the "Obamazebo" -- where he clearly made the wrong call, demonstrated poor judgment, and utterly failed to lead. Though the amount of money involved is minor, the story is nonetheless revealing, and ultimately provides a window into Obama's unfitness to be president.

A brief Chicago Tribune item from January 16, 2000 (posted here for fair use and discussion purposes), described an Obama-backed urban renewal project:

A group of politicians, school administrators and community activists unveiled a plan Friday for a $1.1 million botanical garden in the city's Englewood neighborhood.

The proposal calls for a walk beneath the "L" tracks on Princeton Avenue, from 59th Place to 62nd Place. Backers said they hope it will help spur redevelopment in the impoverished area, boost neighborhood pride and soften the impact of traffic and pollution from the nearby Dan Ryan Expressway.

State Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago) said he planned to seek state funding for the effort and estimated that ground could be broken in early 2001.

He said the park could serve as part of a new vision in the area and permit youngsters "to have open space and not always be stepping on concrete and broken glass."

In addition to flowers and trees, the proposed park would include a gazebo, a parrot sanctuary and a walk of fame.

A July 11 Chicago Sun-Times investigative report on the project recalls that Obama promised that he would "work tirelessly in Springfield and in Chicago to raise public and private dollars to fund this worthy endeavor."

But almost nine years later, there are no new flowers or trees. There is no parrot sanctuary (neighborhood residents who may parrot Obama's talking points don't count), and there is no walk of fame.