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Weeks Before the Election, Obama Remains an Enigma

Minimizing the candidate's problematic associations — or lying about them — has been the pattern of the Obama campaign.

by
Rand Simberg

Bio

October 10, 2008 - 12:02 am

We seem on the verge of putting into the Oval Office a man who, less than a month before the election, remains an enigma.

Is he, despite having the most liberal voting record in the Senate, the moderate politician he presents himself as in the debates and on the stump? Or is he, if not a leftist radical himself, someone perfectly comfortable in the company of such? And if the latter, has he been not just misleading, but lying about his past? And if so, what else has he been lying about, and what other lies might he tell us if elected? We went through a presidency with many unsavory associations, and serial fabrications about them, in the 1990s. Do we want to repeat the experience?

In 1992, the Democrat’s presidential nominee had a long history of questionable acquaintances, shady real estate deals, and multiple infidelities to both his wife and many of his political associates. He also had a long-standing abusive relationship with the truth, which had earned him the sobriquet in Arkansas of “Slick Willy.” While not every charge flung at him was true, many were. He truly was the most corrupt president since Warren Harding (in fact, there are a number of other eerie similarities between the two presidents), and perhaps in U.S. history.

That he was came as no surprise to those who had observed him as attorney general and governor of Arkansas. The Whitewater problems were no secret before the 1992 election, nor were his dalliances, except to most of the public. The local press in Arkansas was quite familiar with this history, but the national media refused to either investigate or report it, instead going so far as to famously whitewash his marital problems on 60 Minutes. While many of Clinton’s scandals were for things that occurred during his administration, his Arkansas record should have been adequate to keep him out of national office, had it been known. By cocooning him from the voting public, the media managed to get him into the White House, only to have all the old scandals revealed, and new ones created, after he became president.

The tragic thing about the Clinton presidency is that it didn’t have to happen, and we could have been spared all of the scandals, including Lewinsky, had there been proper coverage and investigation of him before the election. In fact, the media could have even gotten a different Democrat president, had they simply aired Clinton’s dirty laundry during the primaries. It was, after all, a Democrat year, particularly with Ross Perot in the mix to siphon off votes from George H.W. Bush. But they fell in love with Bill Clinton and, as we all know, love is blind. The problem, of course, is that when the major media wear blinders, the rest of us don’t get the view. That was particularly the case in 1992 when the web had just been invented and the only people using the Internet were nerds.

Well, now the media have found a new paramour with a checkered past, and they (with a few exceptions) are once again lovingly carrying (or at least attempting to carry) the non-blushing bride across the electoral threshold. Just as few bothered to go to Little Rock in 1992, the media haven’t been able to spare any reporters from their vital duties in checking library records in Wasilla, Alaska, to take a trip to Hyde Park to see just what this new candidate is and was about.

Fortunately, this time there are a few individuals who have been doing so, and unlike 1992, they have their own printing presses, in the form of blogs and web publications. And what they’ve found is potentially disturbing, and certainly information that the voting public should have a right to know before it buys another pig in a poke.

There is a disturbing pattern to revelations of Senator Obama’s unsavory associations. Whenever one is uncovered, it is minimized both by denying the depth of the relationship, and by denying that there is anything wrong with the associate. And this campaign spin is unfailingly reported by the media.

First there was Tony Rezko, a now-convicted felon (and under investigation at the time) who helped the Obamas purchase their home in Chicago on strangely favorable terms. When confronted about it, Senator Obama told us that it “wasn’t the Tony Rezko I knew.”

Next came Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Barack and Michelle Obama were members of his congregation for two decades, sat in the pews on Sunday, were married by him, had their children baptized by him, were spiritually advised by him. The title of Senator Obama’s self-aggrandizing book was taken from one of his sermons. Yet they professed surprise when his repeated bigoted and anti-American ravings were aired last spring, and then said that this was normal for an African-American church. He asks us to believe that he was unaware of his long-time pastor’s inflammatory rhetoric.

Now, with the left-wing social activist organization ACORN in the news because its Nevada office was raided in an investigation of voter fraud, Senator Obama, who has been a trainer and legal counsel for the organization, is denying his relationship with it. Of course, there are other reasons to not want to be associated with it, given it (and his) at least partial responsibility for the current financial crisis. But there’s abundant evidence to the contrary.

And now that the McCain campaign is exposing his long-standing relationship with Bill Ayers, former Weatherman and domestic terrorist (not to mention his wife Bernardine Dohrn, a founder of that group), the Obama campaign responds by saying that the bombings were something that happened when he was eight years old. As if that’s a defense of a close association with someone who has never expressed regret for his actions, and who remains unrepentant and defiant about it. And then they deny the relationship, claiming that he was “just a guy in my neighborhood.” Well, with all of the Rezkos, Wrights, Ayers and Dohrns, it’s starting to look like a pretty rough neighborhood. Perhaps he should consider moving.

Except the denials don’t hold up. Senator Obama has claimed that the fact that his initial campaign kickoff for a State Senate seat in 1996 was hosted at the home of Ayers and Dohrn was just a happenstance — that they had nothing to do with his career. But this week, CNN exposed that as a lie (though Anderson Cooper didn’t seem very happy to have to do so). When people tried to investigate their relationship in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, in which hundreds of millions was spent to radicalize schoolchildren while contributing nothing to their actual education, the University of Illinois attempted to prevent access to the relevant history. At whose behest? If it was the Obama campaign behind the scenes, it wouldn’t be inconsistent with their recent attempts to shut down free speech in Missouri.

The latest revelation is that Senator Obama was a member of the leftist “New Party,” an offshoot of Democratic Socialists of America. If history is a guide, he’ll deny it, despite the evidence (an unsuccessful attempt has been made to scrub all references to Obama from the website). Or else, as one of the readers at my site did, simply say “Hey, we could use a little socialism now, given the state of the economy.”

Given this history, it is long past the time that Senator Obama should be given the benefit of the doubt. At this point, the question should be: why should we believe anything that he or his campaign tells us? Leave aside the ideological question of whether or not we want someone with such an apparent radical leftist history running the country. Is this kind of spin and prevarication that we want to deal with for the next four years?

Rand Simberg is a recovering aerospace engineer and a consultant in space commercialization, space tourism and Internet security. He offers occasionally biting commentary about infinity and beyond at his weblog, Transterrestrial Musings.
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