Obama’s Scorched Earth Policy
Team Obama seeks to muzzle critics through smears, intimidation, and censorship.
September 29, 2008 - 6:45 am
No words better sum up the fashion by which Barack Obama’s campaign handles criticism than “the politics of personal destruction.” Although popularized by Bill Clinton, the phrase embodies the political left’s timeless approach to securing victory in elections. Destroy your foe and hope that his ideas never become the issue, as ideological debate is not something at which they excel. Yet this year was supposed to be different. The junior senator from Illinois promised an end to divisiveness, partisanship, and “politics as usual.” Recent events illustrate the emptiness of these platitudes. Since August, Team Obama has fought a covert war against their opposition and muzzled them by any means available.
Legal methods appear to be their response of choice. When a commercial from the American Issues Project linked Obama to former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, the campaign filed a complaint with the Department of Justice requesting that the 527 be criminally investigated. Simultaneously, they contacted “stations running American Issues Project’s ad in an unsuccessful attempt to compel them to pull the spot.” The same tactic was used in the primaries in regard to Hillary Clinton. Luckily, the Department of Justice does not — as of yet — deem the free expression of speech a felony or a misdemeanor.
More licit chicanery ensued with John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin. Rather than combat her popularity with disputation, the man who lauds himself a catalyst for hope and change “airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators, and opposition researchers into Anchorage, the state capital Juneau, and Mrs. Palin’s hometown of Wasilla to dig into her record and background.” What they will turn up is unknown but largely irrelevant. Quixotic endeavors and profligate spending are integral to Obama’s maneuvers. The same is true of ad hominem argumentation. Indeed, the bombarding of faultfinders has become a cause célèbre this year.
Attempts to critique Obama are met with vitriol from partisan loyalists and members of the mainstream media. Respecting diversity is anathema to his legionnaires. The arguer, rather than the argument, becomes the focus for their irrational blowback. In their minds, the only acceptable way to describe the Democratic nominee is as the savior of our polity. Deconstructing his associations is forbidden. That Obama knows more radicals than moderates is blatantly obvious, but bringing it up is an act of hate. This practice showcases how rooted in emotion the political left is. Their willful abandonment of logic is perplexing until one contemplates how much their hysterics confuse independents.
The Obama campaign is aware of this eventuality and has created a site called “Fight the Smears.” It sends out emails via a “live action wire,” a tocsin alerting the faithful that someone somewhere has besmirched the name of The One. Like Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, their wrath is terrible and their retribution swift. Soon after their leader is challenged or merely inconvenienced, all contentions which contradict him are systematically recast as “smears” or personal assaults.
I personally witnessed this transpire upon the release of Dr. Jerome Corsi’s The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. Operatives sent out a “Push Back Now” component wherein supporters initiated a nefarious attempt to damper the author’s legitimacy and sales. They derided Corsi as a “vile smear-peddler” who published “a book of lies.” The senator’s sycophants were so terrified of its contents that they put together a 41-page pamphlet purporting to refute it. Corsi counterattacked with a rejoinder of his own and elucidated those positions that the campaign conceded.
The Obamabot assault on this book was like nothing I have seen since becoming an Amazon reviewer. A week after its release it was besieged with one-star ratings. Most consisted of a few sentences strung together casting aspersions upon the person and perspective of Dr. Corsi. The posters never made a pretense of having read The Obama Nation. Content were they to savage the man and pepper him with politically correct slurs such as “racist screed, dangerous drivel, right-wing trash, full of lies,” and that he is a “hate-mongering terrorist.”
Their dishonorable and disgraceful behavior will not befuddle those familiar with the machinations of the political left. For activists, voicing opinion is never enough. They made use of Amazon’s “report this” button to goad the store into removing posts that celebrated the work. Their scandalous gambit did not pay off in every instance but certainly did in my own. Despite giving the book five stars, my video review got deleted by support. (I have since put up a text review that remains on the site — for now.)
Moreover, the reason this biography of Senator Obama remains number two on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list is due to its subject being a person whose past is murky. The press, for the most part, has taken his word for who he is. The two memoirs he penned, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, dictate public discourse. Obama’s narrative is taken for fact while those who quarrel with him are condemned as liars. Yet we should question Obama’s remembrances automatically.
Autobiographies are often misleading. As David Mendell, a sympathetic biographer, alluded to in reference to Dreams from My Father, “Obama states in the introduction that he has melded real people from his life into fictional characters and inserted imprecise dialogue in order to move along the narrative and protect the identities of certain individuals.” Thus, it is up to us to figure out his history for ourselves.
National Review’s Stanley Kurtz got a taste of Obamaite totalitarianism for himself. He investigated the links between William Ayers and Obama by visiting the library at the University of Illinois at Chicago where the records from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge are held. Both men were on the organization’s board of directors so Kurtz correctly believed that the bevy of documents would reveal the nature of their working relationship. He wrote an article to this effect, which led to an appearance on Milt Rosenberg’s Chicago radio show.
Obama’s toadies reacted to this mundane incident with maximum force. Kurtz was a threat as he also uncovered ties to the Gamaliel Foundation. Again they mustered their hordes via the “action wire.” They instructed them to impugn Kurtz with “the talking points below.” Kurtz’s respectable inquiry into the Ayers association became “one of the most cynical and offensive smears ever launched against Barack.” The writer was a “right-wing hatchet man.” Not satisfied with this invective, they further maligned him as “a slimy character assassin” known for “divisive, destructive ranting.” Yet the smears were all one-sided and came directly from Obama’s headquarters.
Kurtz merely tried to disinfect myth with light. He focused on the question of “why this foundation seemed to fail in its chief task, which was to improve public education in Chicago.” It is recommended that readers examine his article and listen to the radio program for themselves so they can judge how absurd the “action wire’s” depiction of Mr. Kurtz really was. Milt Rosenberg possesses the countenance of an old-school ivory tower scholar — which is what he is — and admitted to being “somewhat startled by this firestorm that has erupted” as hundreds of lackeys called not only the program, but also the station manager, in the hopes of taking Rosenberg off the air. Apparently, in Barack America, Kurtz’s free speech is not the kind that can be tolerated.
The drama played out again with the same host when David Freddoso, author of The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate, was invited to appear. This time an Obama surrogate was brought on as a counterweight but that did not placate his minions. Another “action wire” was generated. This one disparaged Freddoso as “dishonest” and a practitioner of “extreme hate mongering.” The leftist fared quite poorly in the civilized exchanges — as they invariably do — while a moment of high comedy occurred after Rosenberg asked the activist about Obama’s connection with William Ayers. He responded by not responding. Rehearsed talking points spewed forth. In the hopes of confusing the attention-challenged he proclaimed: “the radical idea is that regular people can do extraordinary things if they bind together and work for their common purpose. … It’s easy to forget that ‘yes we can’ do great things.” What about William Ayers? So stereotypical was the backer’s spin that one could have mistaken his analysis for conservative parody.
All of this leaves us in a quandary. What are we to make of Senator Obama? No messiah should have to silence his questioners yet his appeals to censorship are habitual. The candidate appears above no fray. At this juncture, leftists undoubtedly fathom that their savior is weak and that fair debate equates with his doom. Therefore, their strategy is to scorch any ground upon which they find the right. Barack Obama’s tactics are totalitarian and un-American. They illustrate that, while we should reject him for a thousand reasons this November, none is more convincing than the palpable contempt he has shown for free speech.