Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Do You Know the Real Barack Obama?

As the 2008 presidential campaign hurtles into its final days, John McCain confronts a choice: He can either start telling the public about the real Barack Obama, or he can lose.

For much of his career, McCain has been a media darling. He could count on the press to carry his water as long as he was a "maverick" Republican, driving more conservative members of his party crazy. But as he surely knows by now, when it comes to Barack Obama and the press, all bets are off. In covering Obama, the press has adopted a "don't ask/don't tell" policy designed to boost the least-vetted, least-known candidate ever to seek the presidency. It isn't by accident that the media has denied all less-than-glowing stories about Obama the kind of consistent, sustained coverage that allows them to penetrate public consciousness.

If McCain is going to have a chance at winning, he must make sure that the public becomes thoroughly acquainted with the real Barack Obama - the most radical presidential nominee ever. And because the press evidently intends to abdicate its responsibility to acquaint voters with the less-popular parts of Obama's record, he'll have to rely on paid advertising to do it.

For starters, McCain should consider running a series of "Did You Know" ads about Barack Obama. He should ask voters, "Did you know that: Barack Obama has multiple ties to those responsible for the present economic crisis?:
Franklin Raines, the immediate past CEO of Fannie Mae - who has collected a $90 million golden parachute while driving Fannie into the ground - has advised Obama on housing issues.

Jim Johnson, yet another former Fannie Mae CEO, resigned from Obama's vice presidential search team when it was revealed he had received a sweetheart home mortgage deal. Despite serving in the Senate for only four years, Obama himself has been the second-largest recipient of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac largesse in the entire Congress, ahead even of former presidential candidate John Kerry, who's spent two decades in the Senate?

Obama's long-time political ally, radical group ACORN, played a key role in pressuring banks to offer loans to those who were unlikely to be able to pay them back. ACORN has taken credit for pressuring banks to accept undocumented income as a basis for offering loans, for offering loans without using credit scores, and for making 100% financed loans available to low-income people.

There is more, of course. Do voters know:
That, in apparent defiance of federal election law, the Obama campaign refuses to identify individual donors who have provided almost half the funds for his campaign, including obvious fakes like "Mr. Good Will" and "Mr. Doodad Pro"? And that 11,500 donations to his campaign - totaling almost $34 million - may have come from overseas? Or that two Palestinians living in a Hamas-controlled refugee camp spent $31,300 in Obama's online store? Who are all these people, and why won't the Obama campaign obey the law and identify them?

That Jeremiah Wright wasn't Obama's first radical mentor? As a young man in Hawaii, Obama had a quasi-filial relationship with radical Frank Marshall Davis - an avowed member of the Communist Party of the USA. In fact, in his memoirs, Obama concedes that he attended "socialist conferences" and encountered Marxist literature. (Now imagine the outcry if a Republican presidential candidate had such ties to a Nazi).

That the People's Weekly World - the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the USA - has rhapsodized about Obama's presidential campaign, calling it a "transformative candidacy that would advance progressive politics for the long term"? (Think about how the press would react if a fascist newspaper heaped such praise on McCain.)

That Obama has routinely tried to intimidate his critics into silence? His political organization spearheaded a massive campaign against a Chicago radio show that invited one of his critics to appear - even after being asked (and refusing) to send a representative to balance the program, hosted by a non-partisan University of Chicago psychology professor. Worse, his campaign sought to chill free speech by establishing a "truth squad" of Missouri prosecutors and sheriffs, which threatened a "vigorous response" to any ad presenting information about Obama that they deemed to be "inaccurate." And there are other examples.

That even as America struggles to "bail out" our own struggling economy, Obama backs a global bailout? His Global Poverty Initiative would assess $2500 per taxpayer, according to Investor's Business Daily, to fund a global war on poverty administered by the UN and its agencies.

That despite touting his academic credentials as a rationale for initiating a campaign for president just two years after leaving the Illinois state legislature, Obama refuses to release either his college or his law school transcripts - just as he sought to keep records of his working relationship with former terrorist Bill Ayers on The Annenberg Challenge (a left-wing educational foundation) safely under wraps? What is it that he doesn't want voters to know?

Repeatedly, we've heard the media denounce the "rumors" about Barack Obama that are, supposedly, circulated on the internet exclusively by the bigoted and the ignorant. But Americans sense that there is more to Barack Obama than they've been told. Having witnessed the media's own bias and favoritism, they've come to suspect - reasonably - that even if any of the rumors were true, the press might choose to conceal them until the election is safely over. What's more, they wonder: What else is the press not telling us?

Certainly, it would be terribly wrong for John McCain to traffic in rumors. But he doesn't need to. The truth is more than enough. There are facts that the American people deserve to know - and which the press isn't telling them. By filling in the gaps that the media has left unmentioned, John McCain isn't just doing himself a service. He's doing journalists' job for them, and allowing Americans to make an informed decision when they head to the polls next month.


"Tell them about the real Obama"

Sarah Palin rally in Burlingame, Calif.

In conversation with various attendees, it unraveled to me that the profusion of California conservatives-who are in truth mostly libertarians-is not new; these are dormant Republican voters activated by either the simple goodness of the Governor of Alaska or the increasing feeling that the vaporous, vacant, "imperfect vessel" Barack Obama is a cipher hiding quite poisonous views.

So what played to this audience? What caused genuine applause? Well, one line, in particular: near the end of her twenty-minute speech, Sarah Palin told the audience that out on the hustings one comment from supporters has dominated, in frequency, all others: tell people about the real Barack Obama. She said this quietly, without drama. But: thunder, hoots, an ovation. It was the one real firework in her stump speech; yet from the cadence of the speech one could tell that it was not intended thus. Audiences know that standing up for one particular line in a political speech is reserved for positive lines-lines that honor someone, or declaim some principle, or express some affirmation, or promise some victory. Rarely are audiences moved to bolt from their chairs over a negative line. (They're more likely to boo affectedly.) But Mr. Obama's guile has created considerable resentment-so much, in fact, that even a flat recitation of his positions, with not a drought of oratorical flare, dazzles and refreshes and fires an audience.

Sarah Palin spent some time piquing the newsmedia, and thanks to a zealous tablemate who initiated them the New York Times earned decidedly unaffected boos from the Silicon Valley audience. But you understand that if the newsmedia were doing their job, it would not be enough for a political candidate merely to mention the opinions of her opponent. Some argument would be necessary. Not so, not so with Barack Obama. The free pass he has been given is felt-and felt widely. In the final analysis I suspect this will make the man's candidacy weaker, not stronger. It leaves him vulnerable, qual piuma al vento, to a late-October truth-squad attack.

There was, otherwise, little new in the stump speech. It was the same one given yesterday in Southern California (photo above) and reported on by the Associated Press, which dribbled into its dispatch some surrogate outrage because Mrs. Palin mentioned Barack Obama's relationship with a violent left-wing terrorist who once intrigued the bombing of the Pentagon. And portions of Mrs. Palin's speech today were recycled from the Republican National Convention in St. Paul last month. That, at least, is a letdown: Barack Obama today had a fresh stump speech that made able parry to yesterday's Palin event in the Los Angeles area. The McCain campaign is utterly unable to work as efficiently as that. But my sense was that few donors got that feeling: the excitation of Sarah Palin overshadowed easily any sense one might otherwise receive that the momentum is shifting away from John McCain.

And why not? The crowd of 25,000 she elicited yesterday is proof that Sarah Palin is attracting new voters. And today was further evidence of her effect: a ballroom flush with self-made men and women who, though accustomed to living the dreary life of a permanent political minority, now feel there's someone for them, too. They see Sarah Palin as a political Ghostbuster singularly able, by dint of her background, her charm, and her cool, to suss out the spectrous Barack Obama, holding him up for everyone to see. She should, soon.


Palin-bashing Associated Press cries "RAAAACISM!"

By Michelle Malkin

Putting the "Ass" in "Associated Press," one of the wire service's Obama water-carriers attempts to smear Sarah Palin as a racist for spotlighting Barack Obama's longtime relationships with Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers:
Analysis: Palin's words carry racial tinge
Palin's words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee "palling around" with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn't see their America?

In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.

Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as "not like us" is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.

Most troubling, however, is how allowing racism to creep into the discussion serves McCain's purpose so well. As the fallout from Wright's sermons showed earlier this year, forcing Obama to abandon issues to talk about race leads to unresolved arguments about America's promise to treat all people equally.

John McCain occasionally looks back on decisions with regret. He has apologized for opposing a holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. He has apologized for refusing to call for the removal of a Confederate flag from South Carolina's Capitol. When the 2008 campaign is over McCain might regret appeals such as Palin's perhaps more so if he wins.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, McCain continues to forbid his campaign from going after Obama for his longtime friendship and ideological partnership with Rev. Jeremiah Wright - and refuses to attack Obama on the Fannie/Freddie/CRA debacles because he fears being perceived as a racist.

Earth to McCain: They will see RAAAACISM in whatever you and Palin will say and do from now until Election Day. Fight or get rolled. Wake. Up.


Bill Ayers looming again in Obama election

Barack Obama's association with former terrorist, now urban educator Bill Ayers is looming in the closing days of the presidential race, as Obama's past once again becomes part of his present.

Sarah Palin said Obama ``is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country," as the McCain campaign opens the associational front with less than a month to go in the campaign. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign tried to take down Obama with Ayers and it did not work, but that was with mainly a Democratic primary audience.

On Saturday, the New York Times had a front page story on Obama and Ayers, which makes the point that the University of Illinois Chicago hired him despite his radical past--maybe fault the institution for that, someone suggested in the article. Ayers joined the UIC faculty years after the Weather Underground member surfaced from being on the lam from the law and after he got his doctorate from Columbia.

I wrote a column last Apil--during the Democratic primary clash-- explaining why Obama knowing Ayers never became an issue for him in Chicago. You may not agree, but that's the way it's been in the city. Sun-Times reporters Chris Fusco and Abdon Pallasch wrote this piece on Ayers last April.

Having said all this, Obama probably invited more scrutiny after he downplayed and brushed off his association with Ayers during a Democratic debate, when he said he was just a "guy" in the neighborhood who he served with on some boards.


A presidential debate, the Chicago Way

Going into Tuesday's presidential debate, the campaign of Republican John McCain still suffers from the lousy economy and that Bush hanging ponderously from his neck. With that going against him, he's running uphill, trying to remind Americans that he challenged his own party, and the Democrats, on corruption. Because of McCain's opposition to politicians who feed from the public trough, there is a road open to him Tuesday. It's the Chicago Way.

Obama definitely does not want to go there. It would be a forced march for him. Obama's gauzy references to Chicago involve baseball and where he met Michelle and those blissful hours he spent as a community organizer. What he doesn't want discussed is his evolution from independent Democrat to potential White House enabler of the corrupt Chicago Democratic machine.

The Chicago Way is a road the Beltway media establishment dare not travel. It must frighten them. It conflicts with their fairy tale about Obama as reformer, and they're much too busy rummaging through garbage cans in Alaska to bother about Chicago's political alleys.

But any child in Illinois knows the Chicago Way leads through the most politically corrupt city in America, in a politically corrupt state, where muscle trumps reason, where Democratic warlords brazenly promote their offspring into public office, where even souls are offered up for sale.

The national media have never wanted to understand, much less expose, political corruption here, or examine how Obama prospered under the Daley machine's guidance. A trip down the Chicago Way would force them to re-examine their ridiculous narrative that sets Obama as a political reformer riding a white horse, or is that a winged unicorn?

A tour of the Chicago Way isn't without risks for McCain. Though his supporters would say it puts Obama in proper context, Democrats would certainly cry "guilt by association." Yet the national urgency to view Obama as a political life-form several evolutionary rungs above Chicago's common political hacks is not only a mistake, it's disingenuous. So on Tuesday night, McCain might ask:

How, for example, could change agent Obama endorse the boss of the Chicago machine, Mayor Richard Daley, after Daley's friends and drinking buddies, white guys with mob connections, received $100 million in city affirmative action contracts, a crime that sent one of them to federal prison?

The mayor said there is no such thing as a machine. Does Obama truly believe there is no machine that runs Chicago and Cook County? Then he should declare it. And, if so, then how does he explain the Daley hacks sitting in federal prison for rigging thousands of city jobs?

McCain could ask about the machine trolls Obama endorsed per Daley's direction. And what of Obama's own political mentor, the legendary city sewer inspector/Illinois Senate President Emil Jones (D-ComEd), who upon retirement will convert almost $600,000 in campaign cash and stuff it into his pockets, and begin cashing a fat public pension, as his son, Emil III, takes Daddy's place in the legislature, courtesy of the Democratic bosses.

Is this the change we've been waiting for?

McCain could ask about Obama's real estate fairy, the convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko, who is now apparently cooperating with federal investigators probing the dealings of Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who also campaigned as a reformer. Rezko is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 28. How was the Rezko-Obama real estate deal, the one that Obama himself described as "boneheaded," never made a subject of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation?

McCain also might offer up some straight talk about his own involvement in the Keating 5 scandal two decades ago -- and how he was dishonored by that, and whether the shame changed his views on political corruption.

Hillary Clinton tried to link Obama to Chicago's politics during her party's primaries, but she was shouted down. Back then, at a Tribune editorial board meeting, I asked Obama about his place in Chicago's corrupt history.

"I think that all of you have been following my career for some time," he said. "I think I have done a good job in rising in this environment without being entangled in some of the traditional problems of Chicago politics. I know there are those, like John Kass, who would like me to decry Chicago politics more frequently."

Just the corrupt parts, I said. "I'll leave that to his editorial commentary," Obama continued, "but I think it's fair to say that I have conducted myself in my public office with great care and high ethical standards."

Is Obama corrupt, the way the caricature of Chicago-style corruption is often drawn, with some beefeater alderman reeking of gin, stuffing an envelope into his breast pocket? No, though he came close with Rezko in that smelly deal for the purchase of Obama's home.

But Obama looked the other way in order to prosper and assiduously avoided conflict with the machine to the point of embrace. In this, he offered Americans a glimpse at the real man inside that nice suit, the Chicago Way.


Biden's Fantasy World

Sarah Palin may not know as much about the world, but at least most of what she knows is true

In the popular media wisdom, Sarah Palin is the neophyte who knows nothing about foreign policy while Joe Biden is the savvy diplomatic pro. Then what are we to make of Mr. Biden's fantastic debate voyage last week when he made factual claims that would have got Mrs. Palin mocked from New York to Los Angeles?

Start with Lebanon, where Mr. Biden asserted that "When we kicked -- along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, 'Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don't know -- if you don't, Hezbollah will control it.' Now what's happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel."

The U.S. never kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, and no one else has either. Perhaps Mr. Biden meant to say Syria, except that the U.S. also didn't do that. The Lebanese ousted Syria's military in 2005. As for NATO, Messrs. Biden and Obama may have proposed sending alliance troops in, but if they did that was also a fantasy. The U.S. has had all it can handle trying to convince NATO countries to deploy to Afghanistan.

Speaking of which, Mr. Biden also averred that "Our commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principle in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan." In trying to correct him, Mrs. Palin mispronounced the general's name -- saying "General McClellan" instead of General David McKiernan. But Mr. Biden's claim was the bigger error, because General McKiernan said that while "Afghanistan is not Iraq," he also said a "sustained commitment" to counterinsurgency would be required. That is consistent with Mr. McCain's point that the "surge principles" of Iraq could work in Afghanistan.

Then there's the Senator's astonishing claim that Mr. Obama "did not say he'd sit down with Ahmadinejad" without preconditions. Yet Mr. Biden himself criticized Mr. Obama on this point in 2007 at the National Press Club: "Would I make a blanket commitment to meet unconditionally with the leaders of each of those countries within the first year I was elected President? Absolutely, positively no."

Or how about his rewriting of Bosnia history to assert that John McCain didn't support President Clinton in the 1990s. "My recommendations on Bosnia, I admit I was the first one to recommend it. They saved tens of thousands of lives. And initially John McCain opposed it along with a lot of other people. But the end result was it worked." Mr. Biden's immodesty aside, Mr. McCain supported Mr. Clinton on Bosnia, as did Bob Dole even as he was running against him for President in 1996 -- in contrast to the way Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders have tried to undermine President Bush on Iraq.

Closer to home, the Delaware blarney stone also invited Americans to join him at "Katie's restaurant" in Wilmington to witness middle-class struggles. Just one problem: Katie's closed in the 1980s. The mistake is more than a memory lapse because it exposes how phony is Mr. Biden's attempt to pose for this campaign as Lunchbucket Joe.

We think the word "lie" is overused in politics today, having become a favorite of the blogosphere and at the New York Times. So we won't say Mr. Biden was deliberately making events up when he made these and other false statements. Perhaps he merely misspoke. In any case, Mrs. Palin may not know as much about the world as Mr. Biden does, but at least most of what she knows is true.


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

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