When a man of so little verifiable background and experience presents himself as a candidate for what is unarguably the most powerful political position in the entire world, every scrap of detail regarding his life, beliefs, associations, and accomplishments is of extreme importance. They are all we have, especially in light of Barack Obama’s refusal to release and make public the following:
- A certified, authenticated birth certificate
- College transcripts from Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard
- Senior thesis written at Columbia
- Writings from Harvard
- Full medical records
In light of these gaping holes in his resume — holes that could be easily filled in by Barack Obama, but have not been — it becomes the duty of every voter to examine the peripheral areas of Obama’s life with utmost care, giving special attention to patterns of association that point to matters of judgment, character, and true intent.
“When you know who his friend is, you know who he is.”
— African proverb
The most problematic quality of Barack Obama’s run for the presidency at this time is that we do not really know him. Obama has repeatedly deflected curiosity about his associations with glib responses from “This is not the man I knew,” to “Can I just eat my waffle?” When Obama was still on the campaign trail without his teleprompter, he regularly created relatives and events out of whole cloth, only to later issue campaign statements declaring he “misspoke,” “spoke inartfully,” or was “mistaken.”
From these actions, what are voters to conclude? One might conclude that this not-even-through-his-first-term senator does not want Americans to know who he really is. He has not been forthcoming. We have been forced to dig for information and draw our own conclusions as the African proverb above suggests. If we see who Obama’s friends are, we will see who he is.
Friend #1: Jeremiah Wright
Obama clearly lied about his relationship with Jeremiah Wright at his last April press conference. When Obama declared that this Jeremiah Wright, revealed by widely circulated videos, was not the man he knew and declared that they had never been close, he was not telling the truth.
David Mendell wrote a favorable-to-Obama book, From Promise to Power, for which he had wide access to Obama, his family members, Jeremiah Wright, and a number of other close associates of the candidate. Throughout this book, Jeremiah Wright plays a prominent role as mentor and counselor. At every decisive juncture of Obama’s rise from Trinity congregation member to the United States Senate, Jeremiah Wright provides counsel and mentorship to the rising Barack.
In a recent Newsweek article, “Finding His Faith,” Obama answers questions regarding his attendance at Trinity. He now says he and Michelle really didn’t attend Trinity very often at all. “At the beginning, we went fairly frequently . . . probably went two or three times a month. When we had Malia, our first child, we went less frequently, and that probably continued for a couple of years, just because — I don’t know if you’ve had the experience of taking young, squirming children to church, but it’s not easy . . . As they got older, we would go back a little more frequently, probably twice a month.”
Unfortunately, Senator Obama gave a vastly different answer to the same question when he was running for his U.S. Senate seat. Here’s what he told Cathleen Falsani, in a face-to-face interview for the Chicago Sun-Times. In March 2004, Obama said this about his church attendance:
FALSANI: Do you still attend Trinity?
OBAMA: Yep. Every week. 11 o’clock service. Ever been there? Good service. I actually wrote a book called Dreams from My Father; it’s kind of a meditation on race. There’s a whole chapter on the church in that, and my first visits to Trinity.