The news regarding the presidential campaign has been delivered on two tracks. On one track the mainstream media have played their usual role of the Victorian gentleman described by Tom Wolfe in The Right Stuff. In this capacity, to borrow Wolfe’s formulation, the mainstream media have prescribed the proper emotion, the seemly sentiment, the fitting moral tone, that must be established; and all information that muddies the tone and weakens the feeling has been thrown down the memory hole.
Wolfe’s description has obvious application to the press’s treatment of Barack Obama during this campaign season, with the result that important stories illuminating Obama’s character, judgment and lack of seriousness have been thrown down the memory hole if they have ever seen the light of day. Here are five of them, briefly noted with links.
Obama promises change the Teamsters can believe in: Wall Street Journal reporters Brody Mullins and Kris Maher reported in early May how Barack Obama won the Teamsters’ endorsement for president. In a meeting earlier this year, he privately “told the union that he supported ending the strict federal oversight imposed to root out corruption[.]”
Obama holds himself out as a new kind of politician who refuses to play the old games. The Mullins/Maher story should have blown Obama’s pretense up several times over — Obama promises change the Teamsters can believe in! — but it has generated next to no coverage.
Some Democrats recently sought the impeachment of an attorney general for politicizing justice by the firing of eight United States Attorneys. Many Democrats joined in driving the attorney general from office on this bogus charge. Democrats now seek the election of a presidential candidate who is engaged in something that looks very much like the genuine article, with the appearance of corruption thrown in for good measure.
Obama rattles the saber on Iran: During the run-up to the primaries, Senator Obama did not appear in the Senate to vote on the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment calling on the government to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist entity and thus suffer the imposition of sanctions.
On the day of the vote on the amendment, however, Obama issued a statement announcing that he would have voted against it. In the statement, the closest he came to addressing the merits of the amendment was his assertion that “he does not think that now is the time for saber-rattling towards Iran.” The amendment passed the Senate 76-22 on September 26, 2007, with many Democrats including Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Richard Durbin, and Chuck Schumer voting in its favor.
Obama mercilessly attacked Hillary Clinton for her vote in favor of the amendment. Obama likened it to her 2002 vote authorizing the Iraq war. “This saber-rattling was a repetition of Iraq,” he said.
The day after securing the Democratic nomination, however, Obama appeared at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington and delivered a speech calling for “boycotting firms associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, whose Quds force has rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.” The time had arrived for Obama (to use his words) to rattle the saber.
Suffice it to say that Hillary Clinton has a special insight into the naked cynicism that fuels Obama’s campaign. However, to the extent that Obama’s cynicism makes her look like a highly principled politician, Senator Clinton may have somewhat mixed feelings about it.
Obama’s friendship with some guy who lives in his neighborhood: During the primaries Obama famously described unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers has “some guy in my neighborhood.” More recently, in his interview with Bill O’Reilly on FOX News, Obama asserted that Ayers was just one of the thousands of acquaintances he’s made over the years.
Obama’s description of his relationship with Ayers is simply deceitful. Thanks to the work of Steve Diamond and Stanley Kurtz among others, followers of the campaign on the Internet have discovered that Obama had a close working relationship with Ayers.
Apparently thanks to Ayers, Obama was named the chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, the foundation of which Ayers was a founder and guiding force. Their working relationship gave rise to what Kurtz describes as a close and ongoing political partnership.
Obama’s devout belief in abortion: Obama holds himself out as a sort of moderate on the subject of abortion, asserting, for example, that abortions during the second and third trimesters should be rare. Asked by Pastor Rick Warren when a baby acquires the rights of personhood, Obama declared the question “above [his] pay grade.” No abortion ideologue he.
As a member of the Illinois legislauture, however, we now know (if you get your news from the Internet) that in 2001 Obama was the only member of the Illinois senate to speak against a bill that would have recognized premature abortion survivors as â€œpersons.â€ As David Freddoso has reported: “The bill was in response to a Chicago-area hospital that was leaving such babies to die. Obama voted ‘present’ on the bill after denouncing it. It passed the state Senate but died in a state house committee.”
Freddoso also reports that in 2003 Obama voted was one of six Illinois senate members to vote against the Illinois bill that mirrored the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. The federal version of the bill had by then passed the Senate unanimously and been signed into law. The true history of Obama’s record on abortion places him on the fringe with abortion rights extremists in his own party.
Obama’s historical howlers: Obama has repeatedly made it clear when invoking American history to support his positions that he is shockingly ignorant. In support of his advocacy of presidential negotiations with Iran, for example, Obama points to the constructive role that the Kennedy-Khrushchev summit in Vienna played in the ultimate American victory in the Cold War.
By all accounts, however, the Vienna summit was a disaster for the United States. It led, among other things, to the emplacement of the Berlin Wall by the Soviet Union, to the Cuban missile crisis and to the enhancement of the American role in Vietnam. Either Obama is familiar with the history and is deliberately exploiting the ignorance of his supporters, or he has no idea what he is talking about. (I incline to the latter view.)
The anonymous Victorian gentleman who titled his underground sexual autobiography My Secret Life has his counterparts among the mainstream media this year, only they won’t write the book that should be called My Secret Campaign.
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