Obama's links to the semi-Communist "New Party"
By Stanley Kurtz
Ben Smith answers my post, "A Party Without Members?" by conceding that my analysis of the facts regarding Obama's New Party ties is essentially correct. Unable to dispute my account of the facts, Smith takes guilt by association one step further. Rather than confronting what I actually say and believe about the significance of Obama's radical ties, Smith tries to put me in a box with Jerome Corsi, whom I do not know and whose work I have never commented on (or done more than glance at). Smith's rhetorical strategy (based on his apparent near-total unfamiliarity with what I have actually written) is to set up a false dichotomy between the not-so-respectable search for Obama's crypto-radicalism and a respectably policy-wonkish attempt to itemize Obama's good-old-fashioned Democratic liberalism.
My piece, "Barack Obama's Lost Years," is precisely an effort to show that the two enterprises cannot be separated. In that piece, I present a contextualized treatment of Obama's radical associations, showing exactly how they played into his broader legislative program, which I also examine in detail, and on its own. Smith does his best to avoid confronting my actual writings by erecting a Corsi-like straw man, into which he can stuff both me and my Corner colleagues. In fact, as I have said in numerous interviews (and as Andy McCarthy has eloquently noted on The Corner) the fundamental point is not to find a single, killer, smoking-gun, radical association (although many of them are in fact deeply disturbing and arguably disqualifying).
The larger point is that the very existence of so many of these radical political partnerships (and that is what they are, significant political partnerships, not mere "marginal relationships," as Smith would have it) reveals a systematic pattern-a pattern that shows Obama to be a man of the left-so far left that he long had one foot out of (but also one foot in) the conventional Democratic mainstream. It's true that the McCain campaign has not effectively made this point. Yet my Corner colleague Andy McCarthy has eloquently complained about that. The most important point is what Obama's many radical political partnerships reveal about his overall perspective, and how his radicalism ties in to, and helps explain, even his more conventional-seeming Democratic liberalism. I have written extensively about all of this.
Radical or liberal? It's not an either/or. What's certain is that Obama is not the post-ideological, post-partisan pragmatist he presents himself as. The press has shamefully colluded in that false presentation.
Ben Smith has done us a favor by putting his journalistic bias out in the open. We no longer need to ask: "What were they thinking?" Now we know. Smith's obvious distaste for the Corner, and other critics of Obama's radical past, has gotten the best of him. His obvious desire to avoid validating conservative concerns led him to abandon proper journalistic standards in the case of Obama's ties to the New Party. It's not really a question of whether Ben Smith, or the New York Times, or the Washington Post thinks Obama's links to the New Party ought to matter to the American people. Their job is to thoroughly report the facts, and let the public decide. By that standard, on the matter of the New Party, Smith has failed.
If Smith really believes that he and I have little substantive disagreement on the facts of the matter, then he had no business writing his initial post in the way that he did. Yes, quoting Joel Rogers' ludicrous denial of the documented fact that the New Party had members did possess the potential to "advance the story." But the credulous way Smith reported on Rogers' statement had the effect of suppressing the story, not advancing it. I believe that any fair reader of Smith's original post would see that it was designed to suppress the story, and not to advance it.
Contrary to Smith's claim, I have not been "dismissive" of those who argue that the New Party was effectively socialist. On the contrary, I have taken their arguments very seriously. Nothing in my stance toward the socialism question should be used to justify Smith's sarcasm, which goes far beyond the socialism point and extends to dismissing completely legitimate concerns about Obama's radical ties, and Obama's failure to be frank about them. Yes, I have bracketed the socialism question. But that is all.
Smith himself acknowledges that Obama has not in fact being forthcoming about his past. Yet this awareness had no visible effect on Smith's response to the New Party story. Apparently, instead of responding to the Obama camp's protestations with amply justified skepticism, Smith's antipathy toward conservatives, Corner-posters, etc, was sufficient to outweigh even his own knowledge that Obama has been less-than-honest on these issues. This is not responsible journalism. It is bias unmasked.
Criticizing Obama: Mission Impossible
Barack Obama has been talking a lot about the "last eight years" recently. It feels as though he could be referring to the length of the current presidential campaign, but he's actually asking voters to evaluate President Bush's job performance. Fair enough. President Bush is extremely unpopular as he leaves office, and the Democrats were destined to try to run against him-even though he's not on the ballot. While many people aren't pleased with Bush's record, replacing him is a solemn decision and requires the election of a man or woman who is prepared and qualified to serve. Voters ought to expand their judgment of the last eight years by factoring Barack Obama into the equation. What, precisely, has the Democratic nominee for president done in the past eight years? Attempting to meaningfully answer this question proves rather difficult.
Despite its improbable twists and turns, one thing hasn't changed over the course of this endless election: When put on the spot, Obama's supporters are unable to name a significant concrete accomplishment he's managed in his entire professional career. In February, Sean Hannity asked a Democratic focus group to list Obama's accomplishments. Their stirring responses ranged from "he gave a great speech" to "pass." Prior to the Texas and Ohio primaries, Chris Matthews interrogated Kirk Watson, an Obama surrogate, on the same point. "I'm not going to be able to [answer] that," he responded. "One of the things Senator Obama does is he inspires," he added, convincingly. Just last week, Obama backer Jeffrey Sachs was confronted with a similar query from Joe Scarborough. Sachs replied that Obama had "[brought] the country together on a new direction." In case that wasn't sufficiently persuasive, he offered a follow-up. "He's defined a way to achieve energy and new approaches for this country."
There's a reason for these stammering evasions: Barack Obama-love him or hate him-simply does not own any significant legislative accomplishments. Indeed, his greatest career achievements have been the successful attainment of higher office. Obama's last eight years consisted of serving as an unremarkable part-time State Senator, voting "present" on dozens of tough issues, running unsuccessfully for Congress, giving a popular speech at the 2004 DNC, and winning a US Senate seat after consecutive rival campaigns collapsed under the weight of prodigious scandal.
As a United States Senator, Obama did not challenge his own party's leadership in any significant way, authored zero consequential bills, and showed up late for a striking number of committee meetings. Then, after 143 days of federal legislative service, Obama decided it was time to run the country. Not to worry, though. We're told this dearth of accomplishments isn't a big deal. After all, experience doesn't really matter. Not this time.
So let's blissfully ignore his record and focus on what the promises he's made. Over the course of his presidential campaign, he's offered more than a few. One of his earliest promises was to accept public financing if his GOP opponent did the same. John McCain said yes, but Obama shamelessly backtracked for political expediency. Another signature pledge he's made is to cut taxes for all Americans making less than $250,000 per year. Since then, this "richness" threshold has curiously slid by five figures on two different occasions. For those keeping score at home, it's currently at $150,000 per year, and dropping. That's a lot more "patriots" than initially thought. He also agreed to meet John McCain for a series of town hall forums across the nation after clinching the nomination. The tentative agreement was abandoned as soon as Team Obama realized it would not be especially beneficial to their candidate.
Nevertheless, Barack surely wouldn't back away from his principled opposition to granting retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies as part of a FISA reform bill, drop his refusal to characterize Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, reverse himself on an undivided Jerusalem, dump his position on the DC gun ban, or change his mind on unconditional meetings with rogue dictators within the first year of his administration, would he? Oh, he did all of those things? Never mind. Cynical cries of "flip-flop!"-no matter how justified-just won't work. Not this time.
Maybe an extensive chock-full-o-compromise voting record is the key to discovering Obama's greatness. Wrong again. The non-partisan National Journal ranked him the Senate's most liberal member last year. He voted against the confirmation of Supreme Court justices Roberts and Alito for nakedly ideological reasons. In Springfield, his voting record was troubling. He voted to expand sex education to kindergartners and to defeat a bill that required medical attention for babies who managed to survive abortions. Both of these claims have been angrily decried as falsehoods by the Obama campaign and their media echo chamber, but they are matters of public record. Obama, though, refuses to be tethered to an ideological label. Sliming him as a hardened liberal partisan-regardless of the ample supporting evidence-is just a nasty Republican trick that just won't work. Not this time.
Since it's apparently far too rude to judge Obama on his lack of accomplishments, broken commitments, or leftism, perhaps the company he's kept over the years will give us a measure of the man. Au Contraire. Any discussion of his associations is at the very least a distraction, but probably fear-mongering racism. These are indisputable facts: Obama attended the sermons of an anti-American race-baiter for 20 years. He enjoyed a close working and personal relationship with an unrepentant terrorist. He entered into a lucrative land deal with an ethically-challenged political fixer who's now a convicted felon. And he befriended, funded, and toasted a former PLO mouthpiece who has defended suicide attacks against Israeli governmental and military targets. Any mention of these facts, however, sends the Obama campaign's outrage meter through the roof-which is usually an open invitation for increased media scrutiny. Obama's media allies, though, have exhibited extraordinary deference to their preferred candidate on these issues, with some media outlets going so far as to withhold potentially damaging information from the public. No, Obama's radical associations aren't relevant, and the neo-swiftboaters who raise them are a bunch of liars. Fight the smears. Guilt by association-no matter how vile and extensive those associations may be-just won't work. Not this time.
John McCain is an American hero who's served his country with honor for the majority of his impressive, meaningful life. He's fought for his country. He's been tortured and broken by Communists for defending our liberties. He's devoted decades to public service, bipartisanship, and pursuing what he believes is best for the United States-for better or worse. His deep and intimate knowledge of the world uniquely equips him to navigate the great international game of geopolitical chess more effectively than almost anyone on earth. This man was born to serve as president. Even so, depending on Tuesday's outcome, his unparalleled qualifications, demonstrable integrity, personal heroism, and abiding love of country may not be enough to vault him into the office he so richly deserves. Not this time.
The Obama Bubble Could Cost the Democrats
Obama's stealth campaign has now been exposed by the New Media as just another assault on power by the old-fashioned radical Left, beefed up with race-baiting demagoguery. As a result of constant New Media expos‚s, the Leftwing media are now discredited and widely distrusted, and teetering on the edge of a death spiral. The New York Times' debt securities now have junk bond status from S&P.
The same ideological suicide could happen to the Democratic Party itself.
The Obama campaign, with its many incestuous links to "small 'c' communists" and Islamic fascists, could end up discrediting the entire Democratic Party -- if Americans realize they've been Suckered Big by the slickest demagogue since Bill Clinton. When ordinary people find out how extreme the America-hating inner circle of Democrats really are, many of the rank and file might just walk out in disgust. They certainly should. We'll soon see in states like Pennsylvania.
The Obama Bubble is entirely based on telephone polls to voters who've been told they are racist monsters if they don't vote for O. Under those circumstances people just don't talk freely. That's what intimidation did in the old Soviet Union, where it was impossible to find out the truth about the coming wheat crop because everybody lied. Polls mean nothing in this climate of media intimidation.
But regardless of who is elected on Tuesday, this election represents an amazing gamble for the Dems. Look at this video, showing Barack Obama slyly giving the hidden finger to Hillary Clinton during one of the primary debates. His own people burst out laughing when he pulls that very risky piece of teenage bravado. That's what he means by audacity -- and now the entire Democratic Party is stuck with Barack on his death-defying ride to become Emperor Barack I. Even the Clinton scandals didn't expose the Democrats to this kind of risk. They will have to live with the consequences for years to come.
The Obama Bubble may be hard to recognize today, when it has been blown up to awesome size, just like the mortgage bubble, the oil price bubble, the dot com bubble, and endless others.
But it's happened before: In 1948 Henry Wallace ran for the Democratic nomination. Harry Truman beat him, in good part because Wallace looked like a puppet of Joe Stalin. Truman went on to re-election and became the first Cold War president. The Obama campaign is the closest thing to Henry Wallace since 1948.
But there's more. After 1948 the Democratic Party flipped from Left to Right in short order, and became the Cold War Democrats. The Wallace-Truman contest also began the downward spiral of the US Communist Party, crashing in the 1950s, when Americans became convinced -- quite accurately -- that the CP-USA posed a clear and present threat. They call it "McCarthyism" today, but at that time it looked like Joe Stalin on the march with nukes in his pockets. (Those nukes were copied from plans stolen by Klaus Fuchs from the Manhattan Project.) No wonder the American people were afraid of Communist penetration of the State Department. They were right about that, too.
Today, the Obama election campaign has again exposed the whole Democratic Party as a sucker front for the radical Left. Bill Ayers is just the tip of a gigantic anti-American iceberg that now dominates US education, the media and Hollywood, the unions, and militant minorities. Don't think people don't know it.
In the 1940s the Wallace campaign looked like a power grab of the totalitarian Left. Today Obama looks the same. Some time soon the American people will understand that again: We'll see whether Tuesday is the day they show it. But even if McCain loses on Tuesday the voters will still have some time for a course correction as long as the New Media survive to "tell truth to power." Even in "soft" socialist Britain, Margaret Thatcher was elected when things really got bad.
Like the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, the Democrats are celebrating premature victory. We'll see very soon if they have overreached.
Hey Barack: Share Share is not always Fair
During a Thursday stump speech in Sarasota, Fl, Obama suggested that people wanting to keep their hard-earned money rather than hand it over to the taxman are "selfish." After explaining how changing "our tax code" to take even more from the rich to give to the poor would "make sure that everybody's got a shot," Obama counterattacked his opponents' blasts at his earlier "spread the wealth" comments:
"John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic. You know I don't know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness."
Selfishness? Hmmm. Where have I heard that one part Karl Marx, one part Sesame Street economic bias before? Oh yeah, it was during his April Philadelphia debate with Hillary. Remember his similarly kiddy-comrade response to Charlie Gibson's rebuke that his plan to raise the capital gains tax rate would likely decrease revenues? It went like this:
"Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year -- $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That's not fair."
Not fair? Selfish?
Moving the discussion to the adult table, it appears that not only does Obama's self-righteous sense of fair-play trump economic efficiency, but anyone unwilling to share the booty of their daily toil with less-productive strangers is immoral. The socialist experiment has failed all international field-tests miserably. Obama's Sophomoric Socialism would only spread similar misery to America. Perhaps he'd think that unselfishly fair.
Young Undecideds Who Love Guns: Vote Your Glock
Check out this list from gunbanobama.com
Reality. Obama voted to allow the prosecution of people who use a firearm for self-defense in their frickin' homes. (Illinois Senate, S.B. 2165, vote 20. 3/25/04)
Reality. Obama supported increasing taxes on firearms and ammunition by 500%. That means the $500 Ruger you want to buy that currently has an excise tax of $55 would skyrocket to $330 tax. (Chicago Defender, 12/13/99). But that shouldn't bug you, Obama backers, because you're all about "spreading the wealth," aren't you?
Reality. Obama voted to allow reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry. (United States Senate, S. 397, vote 219, 7/29/05).
Reality. Obama wants to reimpose the failed and discredited Clinton Gun Ban. (Illinois State Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes, 10/21/04).
Reality. Obama endorsed a ban on all handguns. (Independent voters of Illinois/Independent precinct organization general candidate questionnaire, 9/9/96; Politico, 3/31/08).
Reality. Obama opposes the Right to Carry laws. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 4/02/08; Chicago Tribune, 9/15/04).
Reality. Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting. (United States Senate, S.397, 7/29/05).
The illegal Auntie
The revelation that Obama has an illegal immigrant aunt living in the USA has not been used in any negative way by the McCain campaign and it is a very minor unsavoury association in the great pantheon of unsavoury Obama associations.
Nonetheless, America's political Left are furious about it. Are they furious about the lawbreaking? Not at all. They are furious that the truth is out. Below, for example, is the comment from the widely-read Leftist blog TPM. All the rage is about who it was who let the cat out of the bag. There is not a shred of regret or concern about the aunt staying on after a court ordered her to go. As usual with the Left, propaganda matters far more than truth or the law
Here's how the right's big eleventh-hour smear on Obama was carried out. First the Murdoch-owned Times of London reported Thursday that Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, is living in a Boston public-housing complex. It's unclear how the paper learned of the woman's presence in the U.S. From there, the story quickly got taken up by the right-wing echo chamber. Fox News (also Murdoch-owned, of course), Drudge, the Boston Herald, and various conservative blogs -- as well as some mainstream outlets -- began breathlessly hyping the story. But the Times had been unable to tie up one key detail. It reported:
The Times could not determine their immigration status and an official at Boston City Hall said that Ms Onyango was a resident of Flaherty Way but not registered to vote on the electoral roll. However, that Ms Onyango made a contribution to the Obama campaign would indicate that she is a US citizen.
But that was easily taken care of. The Associated Press was the first to confirm, in a story posted this morning, that Onyango is here illegally after her request for asylum was rejected by an immigration judge four years ago. But note the way in which AP seems to have obtained the information. High up in the story, it reports:
Information about the deportation case was disclosed and confirmed by two separate sources, one a federal law enforcement official. The information they made available is known to officials in the federal government, but the AP could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved in its release.
In other words, it looks like someone in the Bush administration leaked the information, with the goal of throwing a last-minute wrench into Obama's campaign. And someone else confirmed it, with similar motives.
On the record, of course, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, is telling reporters it can't comment on any individual person's immigration status. It would appear to be a violation of department procedures, at the least, to leak such information.
We've seen this same tactic used recently by the Bush administration. Earlier this month, law enforcement sources leaked the news, also to the AP, that the FBI has begun a nationwide investigation into ACORN. Again, the obvious purpose of the leak was political -- to bolster a Republican campaign to stoke fears about voter fraud, in an effort to de-legitimize an Obama win. The Justice Department still has not confirmed the existence of the investigation.
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