Feeling a Little Obummed
After months upon months of being fed a steady diet of hope and change, Americans have had some difficult truths to swallow about the candidate who swore to alter the way things are done in Washington.
First, we learned that Obama had served for three years on the board of the Woods Fund, a Chicago nonprofit, with William Ayers, a former member of the domestic terror group Weather Underground. What has gotten less press than the connection with Ayers is the fact that the Woods Fund gave a $40,000 grant to the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), a group chaired by Mona Khalidi -- wife of Rashid Khalidi, who has made statements supportive of Palestinian terror. And the AAAN considers the fact that Israel exists a “catastrophe” and supports initiatives for illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses and education benefits.
Then we heard that Obama had a close relationship for years with Tony Rezko, a Chicago businessman and fundraiser who is currently on trial for fraud. Writing for Salon.com, Edward McClellan put it best:
Obama's dealings with his hinky friend have never led him afoul of the law, but they show that, despite his high-minded politics, he was no purer -- or no savvier -- than Illinois' biggest hacks in his weakness for a generous contributor. He wouldn't even say no when Rezko cooked up a deal to help the newly elected senator buy a gracious Georgian-revival home.
So much for the idea of “no more politics as usual.”
If that wasn’t enough, Obama was busy telling the voters one thing -- that we should consider pulling out of NAFTA because it’s responsible for job losses in America -- while one of his key economic advisors was busy telling the Canadian government that they shouldn’t take this political rhetoric too seriously.
What was that about change in Washington?
Finally, mainstream Americans were treated to clips from videos available for sale by Obama’s church of some of his pastor’s sermons not only accusing the American government of concocting AIDS in order to infect black people, but claiming that we brought 9/11 on ourselves and that God should damn America rather than bless it. Despite the fact that he’s been a church member for 20 years, Obama made a speech designed to convince us that he not only had no idea that his pastor holds such radical views, but that those views were understandable when taken in the context of whites oppressing blacks forever and a day, and that white people really need to get a clue.
One might be forgiven for thinking that the Civil War and, a century later, the civil rights movement never happened, but were all just a dream implanted into our collective consciousness -- like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s faux life in the film Total Recall.
So the idol of so many seems to have shown that he has feet of clay after all. But then, all politicians do. After all, they are mere humans -- not messiahs -- and have the same foibles and failings as the rest of us. The main difference is that theirs are played out on a national stage. So what’s different about Obama’s sudden dive into mortality?
It’s the reverential treatment Obama has received from the mainstream press just about from the day he announced he was running for president. A young black man with impressive oratory skills who promised not only to unite the country but to do so under a highly liberal agenda including government handouts financed by higher taxes and a promise to end -- not win -- the war in Iraq meant that certain questions about his background simply were not asked. After all, no one wants to question the guy who tells you, “Yes, we can!” Doing that just makes you look like a party pooper. It took an entire year before average Americans found out about the extent of his relationships with people like William Ayers, Tony Rezko, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Hillary Clinton, who up until the Obama Factor had enjoyed a certain amount of favoritism from the media, suddenly found herself not on the receiving end of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, but the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy -- thrown to the wolves not only by fellow party members, but their enablers in the press. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The former heir apparent to the Democrat nomination has had her work cut out for her.
The mainstream press has been remiss in its duty, but alternative news sources have brought these issues to the fore and they can no longer be kept in the shadows. Obama must now face concrete criticism like any other candidate, and must begin to answer some uncomfortable questions. Candidates for high office -- especially the highest office in the land -- must prove to the voters that they are capable of making sound judgment calls. And part of how we know what kind of judgment skills a person has is based upon the people he surrounds himself with and how he handles any controversy that arises from those associations. Does he prevaricate? Make excuses? Or does he meet the situation head-on and accept responsibility for bad decisions?
There are five months to go before the Democratic convention and eight months to go before the general election. Whether Obama can ultimately prevail remains to be determined -- but we’re finally beginning to see the real man behind the curtain. While it may be somewhat depressing for his followers to witness his fallibilities exposed, it’s helpful for the rest of us who are voting for president -- not "most likely to succeed."