Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thank you, Pastor

Barack Obama's black pastor plunged back into the foaming currents of the Democratic presidential race today with a defiant and aggressive performance in front of the media in which he refused to recant any of his most bitterly contested views. Instead, the Rev Jeremiah Wright declared that the wave of hostility towards his sermons in the past weeks represented "an attack on the black church", whose traditions are still "invisible" to most Americans. Mr Obama has condemned Mr Wright's most incendiary remarks, but declines to disavow the Chicago preacher who for the past 20 years has been responsible for kindling his Christian faith, as well as marrying him and baptising his children.

David Axelrod, Mr Obama's chief strategist, did little to conceal his dismay at the re-emergence of Mr Wright into the spotlight with three high-profile appearances in as many days. "We don't have any control over Reverend Wright," he said. "There's not a thing we can do about it. Obviously, I don't think we would have encouraged him to go on a media tour."

Selectively edited video clips of Mr Wright's sermons circulating widely on television and the internet show him screaming into the microphone "God damn America!" or suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were an instance of "chickens coming home to roost". These have already surfaced in a Republican attack advertisements labelling Mr Obama as an extremist and are certain to feature in a general election campaign if he succeeds in becoming the Democratic nominee.

Republican nominee-elect John McCain said yesterday that he accepted Mr Obama's assurances that he did not share the pastor's opinions, but added: "I also understand why millions of Americans may...view this as a political issue."

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington this morning, Mr Wright said that the firestorm he had ignited was because white people did not understand the tradition of black preaching, which was neither "bombastic" nor "controversial" - just "different". If God intended Mr Obama to be president then "no white racist and no political pundit will get in the way", he added.

Asked to explain his 9/11 comments, he bristled and suggested that people focusing on his remarks had never listened to the entire sermon. "You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back to you," he said. "Those are Biblical principles." He similarly rejected accusations that he was unpatriotic. "I served six years in the military," he said. "How many years did [Vice-President] Cheney serve?" At several points, he was greeted with whoops and standing ovations from supporters in the audience, which added to the discomfort of the overwhelmingly white journalists present for the breakfast event.

On Sunday Mr Wright had spoken in front of a 10,000-strong NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ) audience in Detroit where he also proclaimed a message that there were only "differences", not "deficiencies" between ethnic groups. But he then went on to mimic the Boston accent of President Kennedy, who he said had pronounced "ask" as "ear-sk", and the Texas drawl of President Johnson - "ma follo Om-oricans" - adding: "It was only African-American children who were told they could not speak English properly."

Today he declared: "The Christianity of the slaveholder is not the same as the Christianity of the slave," before pointing out "this country has never apologised" to America's blacks. "I'm not going to forgive you for stepping on my foot if you're still stepping on my foot." He ended this remark by turning to his questioner, saying: "Understand? Capiche?" Asked about his claim that the US Government invented the HIV/Aids virus "as a means of genocide against people of colour", he replied: "I believe our Government is capable of anything."

A new Associated Press poll suggested for the first time in weeks that Democratic voters now believe that Hillary Clinton is more electable than Mr Obama, leading Mr McCain by 50 to 41 per cent.

Mr Obama, who chose to appear at a largely white Indianapolis church yesterday, is facing criticism from Democratic strategists for failing to anticipate the row over his pastor. One said: "I don't think any senior member of his staff had ever set foot in a black church." Oprah Winfrey, the TV talk show host who is also based in Chicago and has backed Mr Obama strongly, abruptly stopped attending Mr Wright's church a few years ago.

Mr Wright suggested today that he did not take Mr Obama's criticism of him very seriously, saying: "Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on soundbites, based on polls - preachers have a different person to whom they are accountable." He then added, to laughter: "I am not running for office; although I'm open to being vice-president."


Wright's Voice Could Spell Doom for Obama

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, explaining this morning why he had waited so long before breaking his silence about his incendiary sermons, offered a paraphrase from Proverbs: "It is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." Barack Obama's pastor would have been wise to continue to heed that wisdom.

Should it become necessary in the months from now to identify the moment that doomed Obama's presidential aspirations, attention is likely to focus on the hour between nine and ten this morning at the National Press Club. It was then that Wright, Obama's longtime pastor, reignited a controversy about race from which Obama had only recently recovered - and added lighter fuel.

Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks ("God damn America") and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.

In front of 30 television cameras, Wright's audience cheered him on as the minister mocked the media and, at one point, did a little victory dance on the podium. It seemed as if Wright, jokingly offering himself as Obama's vice president, was actually trying to doom Obama; a member of the head table, American Urban Radio's April Ryan, confirmed that Wright's security was provided by bodyguards from Farrakhan's Nation of Islam.

Wright suggested that Obama was insincere in distancing himself from his pastor. "He didn't distance himself," Wright announced. "He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American." Explaining further, Wright said friends had written to him and said, "We both know that if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected." The minister continued: "Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls."

Wright also argued, at least four times over the course of the hour, that he was speaking not for himself but for the black church. "This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright," the minister said. "It is an attack on the black church." He positioned himself as a mainstream voice of African American religious traditions. "Why am I speaking out now?" he asked. "If you think I'm going to let you talk about my mama and her religious tradition, and my daddy and his religious tradition and my grandma, you got another thing coming."

That significantly complicates Obama's job as he contemplates how to extinguish Wright's latest incendiary device. Now, he needs to do more than express disagreement with his former pastor's view; he needs to refute his former pastor's suggestion that Obama privately agrees with him.

Wright seemed aggrieved that his inflammatory quotations were out of the full "context" of his sermons -- yet he repeated many of the same accusations in the context of a half-hour Q&A session this morning. His claim that the September 11 attacks mean "America's chickens are coming home to roost"? Wright defended it: "Jesus said, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic divisive principles."

His views on Farrakhan and Israel? "Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter's being vilified for and Bishop Tutu's being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I'm anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago. He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century; that's what I think about him. . . . Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and he didn't make me this color."

He denounced those who "can worship God on Sunday morning, wearing a black clergy robe, and kill others on Sunday evening, wearing a white Klan robe." He praised the communist Sandinista regime of Nicaragua. He renewed his belief that the government created AIDS as a means of genocide against people of color ("I believe our government is capable of doing anything").

And he vigorously renewed demands for an apology for slavery: "Britain has apologized to Africans. But this country's leaders have refused to apologize. So until that apology comes, I'm not going to keep stepping on your foot and asking you, does this hurt, do you forgive me for stepping on your foot, if I'm still stepping on your foot. Understand that? Capisce?" Capisce, reverend. All too well.


The Great Divider


Democratic front-runner Barack Obama was supposed to unite the country, overcoming racial and even partisan division. How's that working out? As far as bridging the partisan divide, one may give him credit, but only in a backhanded way. His not-quite-insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination has had the consequence of creating a tactical alliance between Hillary Clinton and Republicans, so that Mrs. Clinton has, at least for the moment, joined the vast right-wing conspiracy, as we noted last month. Mrs. Clinton even got the endorsement of Richard Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary.

But a corollary to this is that his own party is divided--among other ways, along racial lines. The New York Times has some evidence:
The third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives and one of the country's most influential African-American leaders sharply criticized former President Bill Clinton [Thursday] afternoon for what he called Mr. Clinton's "bizarre" conduct during the Democratic primary campaign. Representative James E. Clyburn, an undeclared superdelegate from South Carolina who is the Democratic whip in the House, said that "black people are incensed over all of this," referring to statements that Mr. Clinton had made in the course of the heated race between his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Senator Barack Obama. . . .

In an interview with The New York Times late Thursday, Mr. Clyburn said Mr. Clinton's conduct in this campaign had caused what might be an irreparable breach between Mr. Clinton and an African-American constituency that once revered him. "When he was going through his impeachment problems, it was the black community that bellied up to the bar," Mr. Clyburn said. "I think black folks feel strongly that that this is a strange way for President Clinton to show his appreciation."

We were initially inclined to see this Clyburn's way; there months ago, we opined that it was invidious for Mr. Clinton to liken Obama to Jesse Jackson after the South Carolina primary. But this was before we learned of Obama's relationship with "spiritual mentor" Jeremiah Wright, a practitioner of "black liberation theology" who has called America the "U.S. of KKK A." Hugh Hewitt has unearthed another sermon, in which Wright declares that America is doing "the same thing al Qaeda is doing under a different colored flag."

Although Obama has denounced some of Wright's remarks, he has not specified which ones, and he has said, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community." In fact, Politico's Ben Smith reported last week that Obama's campaign distributed a handbill in Philadelphia before the primary that touted the candidate's relationship with Wright.

Wright himself resurfaced last week, sitting for an interview with PBS's Bill Moyers. It was an embarrassing softball affair in which Moyers at times was even less sensible than Wright. At one point Wright rightly observed that "we have the freedom here in this country" to denounce our government, "whereas [in] some other places, you're dead if [you] say the wrong thing about your government." To which Moyers replied, "Well, you can be almost crucified for saying what you've said here in this country."

Which is true, if being "almost crucified" means being subjected to harsh criticism. By that definition, Wright has almost crucified America on many a Sunday. During the interview, Wright had this to say about Obama:
He's a politician, I'm a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. Those are two different worlds. I do what I do. He does what politicians do.

Yet at the beginning of the interview, Wright explained that from the start, he has taken a political approach to the ministry:
Wright: Actually a good friend of yours, I believe, and one of my professors, got me in the predicament I'm in today, Dr. Martin Marty, one of my professors at the University of Chicago--

Moyers: One of the great distinguished historians of religion in America.

Wright: He put a challenge to us in 1970, late '69, early '70, I'll never forget. He said, "You know, you come into the average church on a Sunday morning and you think you've stepped from the real world into a fantasy world. And what do I mean by that?" He said pick up the church bulletin. You leave a world, Vietnam, or today you leave a world, Iraq, over 4,000 dead, American boys and girls, 100,000, 200,000 depending on which count, Iraqi dead. Afghanistan, Darfur, rapes in the Congo, Katrina, Lower Ninth Ward, that's the world you leave. He said, "How come our bulletins, how come the faith preached in our churches does not relate to the world in which our church members leave at the benediction?" . . . What do we do in ministry that speaks to the community and the world in which we sit? That's Martin Marty. That's Martin Marty.

Needless to say, Moyers did not confront Wright about this contradiction. Politico's Smith has another charming example of unifying rhetoric coming from the Obama campaign:
[Obama campaign manager] David Plouffe tells [National Journal's] Linda Douglass that real racists are probably voting Republican in any case: "The vast, vast majority of voters who would not vote for Barack Obama in November based on race are probably firmly in John McCain's camp already," he says.

We agree with Wright on one thing: Obama is a politician, and "he does what politicians do." By the standards of politics--that is, besting opponents at the ballot box--Obama has done quite well, a lot better than most people expected when Mrs. Clinton was inevitable. But by the standards his supporters have set for him--transcending the differences that divide the country--one would be hard-pressed to say he's been even modestly successful.


Wright to Obama: 'Coming after you'

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Monday that he will try to change national policy by "coming after" Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) if he is elected president. The pastor also insisted Obama "didn't denounce" him and "didn't distance himself" from Wright's controversial remarks, but "did what politicians do." Wright implied Obama still agrees with him by saying: "He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was [portrayed as] anti-American."

Wright, who was Obama's pastor for 20 years and performed his wedding, made the explosive comment during a chaotic question-and-answer session at the National Press Club in Washington, following the pastor's remarks about the black church in America. "I said to Barack Obama last year, `If you get elected, November the 5th I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people,' Wright said.

The minister was speaking as part of a tour that is drawing heavy news coverage and causing a huge headache for Obama's presidential campaign. Obama, seeking to distance himself from remarks by Wright that some have taken as anti-American, has emphasized that Wright has retired. But Wright talks of their relationship in the present tense. "I'm a pastor; he's a member," he said. "I'm not a `spiritual mentor.' "

In the Democratic debate on April 16, Obama referred to Wright as "somebody who is associated with me that I have disowned," then clarified that to say he had disowned the comments. But Wright objected to a question saying Obama had denounced him. "Whoever wrote that question doesn't read or watch the news," Wright said. "He did not denounce me. He distanced himself from some of my remarks, like most of you, never having heard the sermon, all right? . "He didn't distance himself. He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was [portrayed as] anti-American. . He did, as I said, what politicians do."


Obama Distorted Rev. Wright's Background

In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Barack Obama again fabricated the background of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to try to excuse his longtime pastor's denunciations of America and of whites. Referring to racial discrimination, violence, and segregation, Obama said Wright "went through experiences that I never went through." In his speech on race in Philadelphia, Obama made similar claims. He described a "lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family . . ."

Obama said this was "the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up . . . For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years." But as detailed in an April 13 Newsman article, "Obama's Rev. Wright Mythology," Obama's characterization of his mentor's upbringing is untrue. Wright grew up in a racially mixed, middle-class section of Philadelphia called Germantown, which consisted of homes on broad tree-lined streets. Both his parents had good jobs: His father was a pastor; his mother was vice principal of Philadelphia High School for Girls.

Wright was privileged to attend the elite Central High School, which admits only the most highly-qualified applicants from all over the city. When Wright attended Central High, the student body was 90 percent white, according to students who attended at around the same time. Wright's classmates clearly respected him. The 211th class yearbook described him as the "epitome of what Central endeavors to imbue in its students."

In contrast to Wright, Bill Cosby, who also attended Central High, has denounced the black culture of victimhood that Wright has promoted in his sermons, a culture that Cosby says sets up blacks for failure.

Since the Newsmax story on Wright's background ran, only Fox News' Bill O'Reilly has picked up on the fact that Obama's characterization of his preacher's upbringing is fiction.

Meanwhile, the coverage resurgence of Wright over the weekend spotlights the fact that, by suppressing any mention of Wright until mid-March, the media in effect selected Obama as the Democrats' nominee. Wright appeared in a Bill Moyers interview on Friday, gave a talk to the NAACP in Detroit on Sunday, and spoke to the National Press Club this morning. As a result, clips of Wright denouncing America and claiming the country introduced the AIDS virus to kill off blacks have been blanketing the airwaves. Moreover, at the NAACP, Wright in effect ratified the black culture of failure by saying African-Americans' brains are different than those of whites: If they speak differently from whites, they are not wrong - just different, he said, implying that they should not be corrected.

If the Obama-loving media had picked up on stories that Newsmax started running in January before the primaries began about Obama and his relationship with his pastor, Hillary Clinton undoubtedly would be ahead today in delegates and votes. After the media finally ran the stories, Obama's double-digit lead over Clinton in national polls vanished. At the same time, John McCain shot up in the polls. As Ken Blackwell, a black columnist, recently wrote, the media have covered Obama "as if he were in a beauty pageant." In doing so, they have done a disservice to Democrats by not telling the truth about Obama and his pastor until most of the primaries were over. By not reporting how Obama is using bogus claims about Wright's upbringing to excuse his "God damn America" tirades, the media are continuing the coverup.



Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama the racist

"It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." ---Barack Obama

For most of the Democratic campaign, hardly anyone has had any idea what Barack Omama is all about. He introduced himself to the nation by saying that he was in favor of change. But he never made it clear what kind of change. For month after month, every speech out of his mouth was full of vapid cliches. But there is something about an American Presidential campaign. It is too intense. There is too much at stake. A candidate may start with an intent to deceive. He may have a carefully planned program of lies. But somewhere along the way the truth breaks through.

Let us examine Obama's views on the white Pennsylvanians whose votes he was seeking. There is a half truth in his words; it is the half truth of over-generalization, the half truth which represents every member of a group by its worst elements; it is the half truth we call racism. There are some white men who are bitter, who are excessively religious and prone to violence. But if you talk to such people, then this is exactly what African-Americans appear as to them: violent, religious, angry.

In short, Barack Obama is a racist. He sees white people through the prism of hate. He sees them in cliches. His perception is so distorted that he missed the fact that Pennsylvania was on the side of the North in the Civil War and fought against slavery. The ancestors of those Pennsylvanians he condemned gave their lives so that African-Americans could be free. And he has been keeping a lid on his views because he does not dare to let people know what he really thinks.

So now we know what the election of 2008 is really about. The Democrats may nominate a racial bigot who hates the large majority of the people in the country he is trying to lead. The campaign will be very simple. The Democrats probably won't come right out and say it, but their position will be, "We hate America."

I first met these people at Harvard in the late 1950s. The issue has nothing to do with black or white. They hate America because America is the country based on freedom. They are not liberals. Neither are they democrats (with either a lower or upper case "D"). The formal name of these people is Social Democrat. This was a movement founded in 1875 in Germany to prevent the ideas of freedom and democracy from advancing across the continent of Europe. In 1912, the Social Democrats took control of Germany and fomented W.W.I. Then another Social Democrat, named Adolph Hitler, fomented W.W. II.

The history of human societies up to approximately the 17th century is, with only rare exceptions, one unmitigated horror story after another. We never had sheer mass murders like that of the Holocaust for the simple reason that there just weren't that many human beings alive.

But then in one human society, in one small corner of the earth, human beings found the way to live with each other. The answer was the concept of rights. Respect the rights of others, and insist that they respect yours. This idea was born in 17th century England. It gradually became stronger and infused the entire society. By 1689, England declared a Bill of Right (the ancestor of the American Bill of Rights of 1789). And through the 18th and 19th centuries the concept of rights spread through the world....

And here in the 21st century we are rushing as rapidly as we can to throw all of this away. At this moment down on the banks of the great grey-green, grassy Limpopo River, Africans are streaming out of Zimbabwe into South Africa at the rate of a thousand a week because the country is heading for Civil War. Soon these people will be killing each other. And with the world short of food, it is not difficult to pick the next point in the crisis. If there is not enough food to keep everyone alive, then the incentive to be decent and humane suffers quite a setback.

The fact that Barack Obama is an African-American merely highlights the tragedy of what is happening. The concept of rights knows no race. It applies to all human beings at all times and all places. Those who live by it succeed and prosper. Those who do not fail. Because of historical circumstance pretty much the entire continent of Africa remains ignorant of rights, and that is why the Limpopo River (made famous by Kipling) is playing a crucial role today.

Barack Obama does not care about rights. With his wife and his pastor, assuming he wins the Democratic nomination, we can look forward to a very sorry few months in which the media repeat every current (academic) lie intended to discredit America. As this issue plays itself out, do not fall into the trap of thinking that it has anything to do with African-Americans. It was born in Germany in 1875, and its motive is hate for America.

More here


Jeff Jacoby notes the vicious "mainstream" that Obama drifts in

Should voters care that Barack Obama is friendly with William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, two onetime leaders of the Weather Underground terrorist group that committed dozens of bombings and other violent crimes between 1969 and 1975? That question came up during the recent Democratic debate in Philadelphia, and scorn by the bucketful was heaped on the ABC moderators who asked it.

The Washington Post's Tom Shales, for example, was appalled that Obama should be confronted with "such tired tripe" as the fact that he "once associated with a nutty bomb-throwing anarchist." Michael Grunwald of Time derided the "extremely stupid politics" responsible for questions like the one about the "obscure sixties radical" with whom Obama "was allegedly 'friendly.' " Other commentators were even more outraged.

The chorus of protests echoed Obama's own defense. When George Stephanopoulos challenged him to explain his relationship with the unrepentant former terrorists -- "I don't regret setting bombs," Ayers told The New York Times. "I feel we didn't do enough" -- the senator dismissed the issue as irrelevant. "This is a guy," Obama said, "who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that [my] knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George." His links to the ex-Weathermen he brushed aside as "flimsy," saying he was sure "the American people are smarter than" to think he shares the terrorists' radical views.

Obama didn't leave it there. His campaign issued a 1,300-word "fact check" pooh-poohing his connection to Ayers and Dohrn as "phony," "tenuous," "a stretch" -- but simultaneously defending them as "respectable fixtures of the mainstream in Chicago." Yet Obama's ties to Ayers and Dohrn aren't nearly as trifling as he suggests, and their views -- today, not 40 years ago -- are about as "respectable" and "mainstream" as those of, say, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama's incendiary minister.

The key facts, reported by Ben Smith in, are these: Barack Obama's political career was launched in Ayers's and Dohrn's home, when a group of "influential liberals" gathered in 1995 to meet the young organizer who was Illinois lawmaker Alice Palmer's chosen successor. In the years that followed, Obama and Ayers would serve together as (paid) board members of the Woods Fund, a leftist Chicago foundation, and appear jointly on academic panels, at least one of which was organized by Michelle Obama. Ayers would even donate money to one of Obama's political campaigns.

Arguably, none of this would matter if Ayers and Dohrn had long ago repudiated their violent extremism. But they have always refused to apologize for their monstrous behavior. "We weren't extreme enough in fighting against the war," Ayers avowed to the Chicago Tribune in 2001. In a memoir published that year, he exulted: "Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon." America, he said after Sept. 11, "is not a just and fair and decent place. . . . It makes me want to puke." Is this really Obama's idea of "respectable" and "mainstream" political thinking? And if so, doesn't that tell voters something important about his judgment and standards?

In Chicago the other day, radio producer Guy Benson discovered video recordings of Ayers and Dohrn speaking at a reunion of antiwar radicals in November 2007. To live in the United States, Dohrn told the group, is to be "inside the heart of the monster" that is such a "purveyor of violence in the world." Ayers denounced America as an imperial warmonger steeped in "jingoistic patriotism, unprecedented and unapologetic military expansion, white supremacy . . . attacks on women and girls, violent attacks, growing surveillance in every sphere of our lives, on and on and on." (Audio clips have been posted at the indispensable PowerLine blog.)

Even if Obama doesn't personally believe these things, is it really "tired tripe" to ask why he seems so comfortable in the company of people who do? Is it, in fact, "extremely stupid politics" to wonder whether such people might play a role in an Obama administration? Rather than slamming the few journalists who raise such questions, might it not behoove others in the media to consider following suit?


Obama desperation

The Obama campaign contends that John McCain has " broken his word to the American people and rendered hollow his promise of a respectful campaign" ... and apparently by his did this by agreeing with Barack Obama that Jeremiah Wright is a legitimate issue. The statement that got Team Obama so riled up?
"Senator Obama himself says it's a legitimate political issue, so I would imagine that many other people will share that view and it will be in the arena," McCain said at a news conference. "But my position that Senator Obama doesn't share those views remains the same."

Apparently the Obama campaign expected John McCain to argue with Obama that his relationship with Wright wasn't a legitimate issue. Also, note that McCain... okay, more likely somebody on his campaign... reads the Campaign Spot and/or listens to Hugh Hewitt, because McCain is now quoting the recently-discovered new recordings of Wright's sermons.
I saw yesterday some additional comments that have been revealed by Pastor Wright, one of them comparing the United States Marine Corps with Roman Legionnaires who were responsible for the death of our Savior, I mean being involved in that. It's beyond belief. And then of course saying that Al Qaeda and the American flag were the same flags. So I can understand, I can understand why people are upset about this. I can understand why Americans, when viewing these kinds of comments, are angry and upset. Just like they view Senator Obama's statements about why people turn to their faith and their values. He believes that it's out of economic concerns. We all know it's out of a fundamental belief, a fundamental faith in this country and its values and its principles. Again, Senator Obama, out of touch. I can't control, and will not in future, control. I will voice my opinion. And I will continue to say that I think that ad should not be run. But I won't continue to try to be the referee here."

Heh. By the way, if I were on the North Carolina GOP, I would re-edit that controversial ad to include the audio of Wright declaring, "what we are doing is the same thing al-Qaeda is doing under a different color flag." If video of this sermon is not available, I would just use a photo of Wright - North Carolinians already know who he is by now.


Obama's Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Barack Obama says he will vote in the Senate for General Petraeus' confirmation as commander for US forces in the Middle East and Central Asia.
"I think Petraeus has done a good tactical job in Iraq.."I will listen to General Petraeus given the experience that he has accumulated over the last several years," Obama said. "It would be stupid of me to ignore what he has to say."

Needless to say, those who recall Obama's opposition to the "surge" and Obama's continued demand that US forces be quickly withdrawn from Iraq are not befuddled:
"Obama also said it would be 'stupid' to ignore commanders on the ground in Iraq, yet his withdrawal strategy does exactly that," Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant said in an e-mail. "If Obama isn't ready to answer tough questions, how can he be ready to be commander in chief?"

Also, Obama's willingness to abandon Iraq may not sit well with Russia either. The Russian Foreign Minister says, according to Novosti:
There can be no question of foreign troops being withdrawn from Iraq at present, Russia's foreign minister said on Tuesday. "Iraq's law enforcement structures are not in a position to assume complete responsibility for ensuring security in the country and to effectively counter terrorist groups," Sergei Lavrov told an international conference on Iraq in Kuwait City.

He said that although some successes had been achieved in the security sphere, the situation remained volatile. "Positive changes are yet to be irreversible. Consider the recent fighting in Basra and Baghdad, the echo of which is still resounding [throughout the country], and the latest bomb attacks in the country's central provinces, which have claimed dozens of lives," he said.

Obama's willingness to surrender to terrorists parallels his willingness to surrender his few remaining crumbs of honesty. Even Russia, not a paradigm of integrity in its governance, recognizes how obtuse Obama may be if elected.


Victim of Weathermen Bomb Attack Blasts Obama

On June 9, 1970, Jane Alpert and Weatherman accomplices bombed the New York City Police headquarters in response to "police repression." Paul Ragonese, a victim from this Weathermen bomb attack, spoke out about the bombing on Hannity's America. He also blasted Barack Obama for being friendly with known unrepentant terrorists Willian Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn:
"If that's the standard for New York city cops, that you can't be associating with known criminals, that should be the minimum standard, I believe, for the president of the United States."


Re-inventing Jeremiah Wright

I'm sitting here watching CNN's coverage of Jeremiah Wright's speech at the Detroit NAACP convention and am struck by what's being attempted here. Defenders are quick to jump on his critics, basing that defense on the notion that snippets of his many words spoken (or written) over the years are being used to twist who he really is. And so what are they now attempting? The. Very. Same. Thing.

They take snippets of words spoken most recently (today on CNN, the other day on PBS), words shaped by the knowledge that every syllable will be dissected and reviewed, words influenced by that knowledge, words purposed in taking advantage of that knowledge and they attempt to tell us that these words, and not those used by his critics, define the man. Snippets that criticize are wrong. Snippets that defend are right.

We're watching the rehabilitation, the reconstruction, the rebuilding, the remaking of a man... from bigoted hate-monger to enlightened social critic. Old Media will defend despite his many words over the years because Old Media and Jeremiah Wright are ideologically entwined and connected.

It'll be up to New Media to counter that defense. Not just because New Media is opposed ideologically though that can't be denied but because New Media remains enamored with truth-telling. Old Media used to be. Now they're into truth-creation. And now they're into creating a new truth about Jeremiah Wright, led by Jeremiah Wright himself. How quaint. How convenient. How deceptive.

Jeremiah Wright can't go back now and re-tape the videos so many of us have seen. He can't go back and erase the relationships he and his church have nourished. He can't go back and rewrite the church bulletins that have been published and many of them still available on the church's website. Neither can Old Media. New Media won't allow it.



Monday, April 28, 2008

Obama having trouble keeping up the pace

Comment by the NYT's Dowdy one

Maybe I've been reading too many stories about the fad of teenage vampire chick lit, worlds filled with parasitic aliens and demi-human creatures, but there's something eerie going on in this race. Hillary grows more and more glowy as Obama grows more and more wan. Is she draining him of his precious bodily fluids? Leeching his magic? Siphoning off his aura?

It used to be that he was incandescent and she was merely inveterate. Now she's bristling with life force, and he looks like he wants to run away somewhere for three months by himself and smoke. Hillary is not getting much sleep or exercise, and doesn't, like the ascetic Obama, abstain from junk food and coffee and get up at dawn to work out on the road. She's still a long shot and she's 14 years older than her rival.

Yet she's the one who is more energetic and focused and beaming, and he's the one who seems uneven and gauzy, often fatigued and unable to disguise being fed up with the slog. Even his speeches don't have the same pizazz. A man at a sports bar in Latrobe, Pa., advised Obama, "Get some sleep, Barack, you look like you're tired, man." When the candidate noted he's been running for president for 15 months, the guy offered another tip: "You need a drink."

Obama disdains convention and touts his new politics, but on Friday, he had a news conference in an uninspired setting - a gas station emptied out by his Secret Service detail. He doesn't emulate Bobby Kennedy, who defied political tropes and underscored his concern about the poor by taking reporters on treks to rural Appalachia or odysseys to roiling inner cities for speeches on street corners.

With Indiana polls showing the Democratic combatants in a dead heat, and 21 percent of Democrats undecided, this is a perilous time for Obama to lose his fizz. He tried to recapture the magic - and erase the bowling debacle - by shooting hoops with kids in Kokomo on Friday night. As a basketball player, he should know he's in overtime in his race with Hillary - and overtime is not the period to indulge in whining. Instead of jokingly complaining that babies have learned to walk and talk since he first got in the race, he should remind voters that, if Hillary prevails, some people will slouch toward middle age having never known a White House without a Bush or a Clinton.

Even some Obama fans find Hillary's toughness and shameless shape-shifting compelling. Having lost the White House twice to brass-knuckled pols, the Dems may be drawn to a woman who thinks like Karl Rove.

James Clyburn, the influential black congressman from South Carolina, says that some blacks are buying into the 2012 Tonya Harding conspiracy theory: that the Clintons know they can't beat Obama this time, so they are "hell-bound," as Clyburn put it, to shred him so he'll lose to McCain and Hillary will be able to try again in 2012 - when McCain is 76. In interviews, Clyburn called the tactics of the Clintons and their henchmen "bizarre," "disingenuous" and "scurrilous."

Obama is burdened by Jeremiah Wright's inflammatory remarks on race and his comment to Bill Moyers that Obama "does what politicians do." And Hillary is burdened by her husband's inflammatory remarks on race and her own willingness to burn the party to save the party. The Nixonian Hillary has a ravenous hunger that Obama lacks. Literally - at a birthday party in Philly for her photographer, she was devouring the chips and dip with two hands - and viscerally.

At Joe's Junction gas station in Indianapolis, Obama did his best to shoo away the pesky elitist label. Accused by an Indianapolis reporter of looking like a GQ cover, he said he has only four pairs of shoes and buys "five of the same suit and then I patch them up and wear them repeatedly." But his campaign refused to reveal the brand, presumably because it's not J. C. Penney.

He dutifully enthused about carbs, assuring reporters that when he had dinner as a child with his Kansas grandparents, the food "would have been very familiar to anybody here in Indiana. A lot of pot roast, potatoes and Jell-O molds." But then he resumed wry whingeing about his 37 bowling score, explaining that he finished only seven frames, including two that "were bowled by a 10-year-old" and another by a 3-year-old. "I don't want to go out of my way to sort of prove my street cred as a down-to-earth guy," he said, after going out of his way. "People know me." Not yet, but we will, one of these years.


A strange media defence of Obama

Joe Klein of Time Magazine, who was not a Weatherman but is a weathervane of liberal Democratic opinion, blasts the irresponsibility of the mainstream media! Discussing what the Pennsylvania primary did to Obama, "who entered the primary as a fresh breeze and left it stale, battered and embittered," Klein writes:
In the course of six weeks, the American people learned that he was a member of a church whose pastor gave angry, anti-American sermons, that he was "friendly" with an American terrorist who had bombed buildings during the Vietnam era, and that he seemed to look on the ceremonies of working-class life - bowling, hunting, churchgoing and the fervent consumption of greasy food - as his anthropologist mother might have, with a mixture of cool detachment and utter bemusement. All of which deepened the skepticism that Caucasians, especially those without a college degree, had about a young, inexperienced African-American guy with an Islamic-sounding name and a highfalutin fluency with language. And worse, it raised questions among the elders of the party about Obama's ability to hold on to crucial Rust Belt bastions like Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey in the general election - and to add long-suffering Ohio to the Democratic column.

Since all of that "new" information was old, had long been available to anyone who would look at it, the fact that it lay in plain sight but unseen by our guardian watchdogs in the mainstream media is a clear and telling indictment of the press's irresponsibility.

Now, it's true that Klein himself doesn't see that he's indicting himself and his colleagues, but that's nothing new. He doesn't see many things, such as the relevance of "so-called character issues" in a presidential campaign. No matter that Klein would no doubt say (actually, he did say) that none of this "new" information speaks to character and judgment, that it is merely "sludge," "caricature," "scurrilous trash." He either doesn't see or doesn't attach any significance to Obama's elitist attribution of xenophobia, racism, etc., to the bitter clinging of the angry rubes, at least in part because he shares it. Re-read the following:
[All the sludgy trash slung by ABC] deepened the skepticism that Caucasians, especially those without a college degree, had about a young, inexperienced African-American guy with an Islamic-sounding name and a highfalutin fluency with language.

Well, sure. Only poor, dumb whites would entertain any reservations about Obama.


'Revenge is a dish best served cold'

When Barack Obama first decided to run for state senator in Illinois, the long serving incumbent in his district graciously supported his early efforts - even going so far as to introduce him to liberals in his Hyde Park district (including a former terrorist named William Ayers). Alice Palmer was a legend in the community - a civil rights organizer and a power in Springfield. She was retiring to run for Congress.

But a few months after giving Obama a nice head start, Palmer changed her mind. She then asked Obama to withdraw so she could have her old seat back.

How did Obama repay this gracious political gesture? He sicced his lawyer on every other candidate in the primary - including Palmer - by challenging signatures on the nominating petitions. In the end, he successfully got Palmer and everyone else thrown off the ballot so that Obama was running all by himself. I guess this was before he became the messiah of the "new politics."

And Alice Palmer? Obama's former friend is campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Indiana:
One bonus for Barack Obama (D-IL) as he campaigns in Indiana is that so many friends from his home state can just drive across the state line to help him out. Then again, it's also a short trip for the occasional hometown pol who has been crossed by Obama, such as one featured guest doing the Hoosier tour today.

Joining Chelsea Clinton and other women leaders to campaign for Hillary Clinton today is Alice Palmer, the former state senator who picked Obama to be her successor back in the mid-90s. When she tried to reclaim her spot, though, Obama got her booted from the ballot.

The day of campaigning culminates tonight with a "Women for Hillary" rally in New Albany. The women plan to talk about Clinton's plans for the economy, job creation and the middle class. Palmer's story is more familiar in our town it is in Indiana, even in the northwest section of Hoosierland that consumes so much of the Chicago news media. Still, the national press has shown an interest in the early account of Obama playing hardball, and Palmer's presence may remind some of them of the story.

Payback's a bitch, eh Obama?


A Republican attack ad?

A hardened conservative political operative has launched the first no-holds-barred Republican "attack ad" against Barack Obama, painting him as soft on crime and terror. Floyd Brown, a veteran of America's often brutal presidential battles, told The Telegraph that the "Victims" advertisement marked the start of an all-out campaign to portray the expected Democratic nominee as a dangerous liberal.

"Our polling shows that Obama's positives with many Republican voters are much higher than we think they should be," he said. "He is the overwhelming favourite for the Democratic nomination and our intention is to give Republicans a true picture of him."

The 60-second slot relates the fate of three Chicago residents murdered by gangs in 2001. The female narrator then records the opposition of Mr Obama, an Illinois state senator at the time, to expanding the death penalty to cover gang-related murders. "So the question is: can a man so weak in the war on gangs be trusted in the war on terror?" she asks ominously.

The advertisement was posted online on YouTube and emailed to 7 million conservative supporters last week accompanied by a fundraising appeal for Mr Brown's National Campaign Fund and its website. The on-screen message accompanying the appeal illustrated the strength of the onslaught that awaits Mr Obama if he secures his party's nomination.

Deploying his politically-detrimental middle name and a barrage of capital letters, it declared: "What really makes 'President Barack Hussein Obama' the scariest four words in the English language is the fact that HE CAN BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!"

Mr Obama will be dogged by adverts highlighting his long-standing ties to Rev Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor and spiritual mentor. Rev Wright put those links back in the headlines last week when he emerged from his temporary silence to defend his outspoken sermons and tell interviewers that Mr Obama was acting like "a politician" when he distanced himself from the pastor's comments. The "Victims" spot is apparently the start of an attempt to "swift boat" Mr Obama.

I guess I was not among the "7 million conservatives" who got the message. Thanks to the Telegraph, though it will have wider distribution as they cluck about "swift boat" attacks. I am not sure how effective this ad will be about an obscure vote in the Illinois senate. It does seem to play into the liberal stereo type of conservative politics. I am sure there will be other ads unfavorable to Obama by independent groups. I am sure that Brown does not represent the RNC or the McCain campaign. Brown's claim to fame is the Willie Horton ad, also done by an independent group. I am not sure this will be as effective.


Another Obama Marxist

Barack Obama has a thing for Marxists. He befriends them, listens to their counsel, and he even hires them to work in his campaign. And they seem to feel the warmth. President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, who led a revolution there in 1979, says Barack Obama's presidential bid is a "revolutionary" phenomenon, and Americans are "laying the foundations for a revolutionary change." A captured computer revealed that an unknown person chatted with Marxist FARC guerillas on Obama's behalf (they believed), stating he would be the next President and US policy towards Columbia would change. Frank Marshall Davis, a dear Obama friend and mentor was as a member of the Communist Party USA. Barack Obama just seems to attract Marxists.

If the people he surrounds himself with are any indication of his core beliefs, a higher capital gains tax to punish the rich, even if it diminishes actual tax revenue, may be only the beginning. Obama's Official campaign blogger, Sam Graham-Felsen, a former writer for the leftist Nation magazine and a contributor to the Socialist Viewpoint, is certainly a believer in class warfare.
The capitalist ruling class of the United States exercises a virtual dictatorship not only over American society, but also over the entire world. This capitalist class rule is the basic cause of the poverty, wars and the degradation of the natural environment.
After being expelled from Socialist Action in 1999, we formed Socialist Workers Organization in an attempt to carry on the project of building a nucleus of a revolutionary party true to the historic teachings and program of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.
Socialist Viewpoint

The product of a Harvard education, Sam is an admirer of anti-American academic Noam Chomsky, a hypocrite and fraud masquerading as a political philosopher. Mr. Chomsky, perhaps admired by Obama as by his official blogger, is fond of visiting dictators and terrorists and giving speeches blaming all the worlds' ills on America. All while accepting defense department contract dollars as a linguist. Chomsky was an ardent supporter of Pol Pot, and to this day denies a holocaust occurred in Cambodia (1.67 million died). He is unrepentant about the horrors his vile ideology encouraged and supports Hamas and Hezbollah with the same willful blindness today.

In an article in the Harvard Crimson, Sam writes of his hero:
For me, hearing Chomsky speak for the first time was a life-changing experience. His ability to take preconceptions and destroy them-to completely remodel one's understanding of reality with cold, hard facts-blew me away. When I left what was then the ARCO Forum last fall, I felt as though I had been through the Matrix and back. Chomsky really has this effect because he bombards you with evidence and logic, not empty rhetoric. It is nearly impossible to hear him or read him-once you've actually checked his facts yourself (he even cites page numbers in public addresses)-and deny what he's saying.

For anyone who has actually endured one of Chomsky's muddled rants or tried to verify the claims in his books, young Sam's praise is comical; and a clear indication he has never actually read one. You find very quickly Chomsky is not overly concerned with "facts," as he fabricates them with abandon. He cites page numbers, to his own books, which recycle themselves with astonishing success. Hardly an example of a towering intellect, his tired canards are sufficient to impress the worshipful Sam Graham-Felsen, and endear himself to the same leftist academics that so easily embraced dictators such Ho Chi Min and Pol Pot, idolize Chavez and Castro and legitimized terrorists like Yasser Arafat. Chomsky is the master of post-modern moral relativism, quick to excuse atrocity with obfuscation.
On the day after 9-11, Chomsky wrote:
"The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale they may not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers of people."

It may be simple self-aggrandizing hypocrisy that inspires Mr. Chomsky's comments, though I suspect, more likely he mistakes the accolades of twenty year old activists as confirmation of his own genius. He plays what works with the crowd. Here are some other nihilistic gems gleaned from his pedantic and incomprehensible writing:
"If the Nuremberg laws were applied today, then every Post-War American president would have to be hanged."

"Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state."

"Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media."

"The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control - "indoctrination," we might say - exercised through the mass media. "

"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."

"I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system."

Sam Graham-Felsen, hired to run Obama's blog, writes about Noam Chomsky in a Marxist publications that openly calls for revolution against the American government. This is a Presidential candidate's choice to run the on-line portion of his campaign. That speaks volumes of his character and worldview. Contradicting what he says in public, Obama is surrounding himself with poeple who never seem to learn that their absurd ideologies end in misery and ruin.

Sam is young and has much to learn, so we can forgive his silly hagiographies, the ones about Chomsky and the ones about Obama. His hero worship is eager and emotional and completely without substance, much as Obama's campaign promises are without substance. Obama is a community organizer in the Saul Alinsky mold, and knows where to get people like Sam who have energy and drive. His staff is nothing if not energetic. He even cut his activist teeth in Chicago, the stomping grounds of Alinsky and so many others in the "progressive" community. One wonders why the windy city still has a murder rate higher than Baghdad, after so many years of enlightened activism.

The adults in the Obama campaign expect us to believe that a campaign staff filled with Marxists and radicals does not reflect the candidate. We are supposed to believe that ideologues who distain America and Americans can improve the system that has brought humanity more prosperity and well-being than any nation before it. Speaking out of both sides of their mouths, they tell us we are great, and then insist we must change because we are responsible for all the bad things that happen in the world. That alone should anger the electorate enough to defeat them. The change Obama will bring will not be the change America needs or expects. It will be the change of naive adolescents, who think Noam Chomsky wise.



Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rove on Obama

Karl Rove, who masterminded the last two Republican victories in presidential elections, is gazing with undisguised relish at the giant target being painted on Barack Obama's back before the next one. In an interview with The Times yesterday, he described the likely Democratic nominee as a "frail" candidate, who represents the values of an out-of-touch liberal social elite and demonstrates "tone deafness" to the concerns of ordinary Americans. "You have probably seen this kind of guy at London parties, trailing ash from a fashionable cigarette into the carpet and making snide remarks about someone `being an abominable bore'," Mr Rove said.

He suggested that voters have not heard the last of Mr Obama's recent comments at a San Francisco fund-raiser, where he suggested small town Pennsylvanians were clinging to guns and religion because they were "bitter". The candidate sounded, Mr Rove said, as if he was following in the footsteps of his anthropologist mother "reporting on the exotic species of voter he had encountered in some dark corner on the opposite side of the globe".

All this is a far cry from just a few short weeks ago when Mr Obama's soaring oratory - his promise to heal racial divisions or transcend the partisan politics of an older generation - had Republican strategists regarding him with shock and awe.

It is now the Democrats' turn to worry. Mr Obama's decisive defeat in this week's Pennsylvania primary has been followed by whispers of alarm that they may end up with a candidate who is listing badly - even holed below the water line - just as he is about to cross the finishing line in his race with Mrs Clinton. His failure to win white working-class voters in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania - both certain to be important battlegrounds in November's general election - has raised doubts about his fitness for the fight against John McCain. He sometimes appears drained by his fight with Mrs Clinton, a woman 14 years older than him, taking time off the campaign trail this week and setting himself a light schedule for the coming days.

Whereas he once energised rallies with the chant, "Fired up! Ready to go!" he now complains about feeling tired and the length of primary season, or says he wants to go home to see his young family.

If Mr Obama loses again in Indiana on May 6, then panic will spread through the party. His campaign spent much of yesterday explaining to the Democratic super-delegates - who could yet wrest the nomination away from him, why he remains the best candidate to beat the Republicans. Mr Obama himself was busy shoring up his battered Everyman credentials by holding a press conference at an Indianapolis petrol station. But Mr Rove said that "unless something extraordinary happens", Mr Obama's lead among elected delegates still means that he will be the Democratic nominee.

And, although it may be unwelcome right now, Mr Rove even had some advice for him. First, he cease making attacks on Mrs Clinton and Mr McCain, which are "corrosive of his fundamental message about representing a new kind of politics". Mr Rove also pointed out that Mr Obama cannot stand on a platform promising post-partisan politics when he has virtually nothing to show on this front from sitting in the Senate for three years. "He should spend less time on the campaign trail between now and September and more time in the Senate" trying to get such an achievement under his belt, Mr Rove said. "The best way to prove a message is to live it."

Mr Obama has also been embarrassed in recent weeks by his black liberationist pastor Jeremiah Wright, who returned to the airwaves yesterday to denounce the media for portraying him as "some sort of fanatic". Unhelpfully, he explained that one of the differences between him and Mr Obama is that he "goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician". It is a treacherous, racially-charged subject, and Mr McCain has been careful this week to disassociate himself from Republicans who have launched a TV advert attacking Mr Obama's links with the pastor.

But Mr Rove suggested that race, far from hurting Mr Obama probably works in his favour by attracting white voters who regard the prospect of a black president as a "hopeful thing". A bigger problem for Mr Obama, he said, is winning industrial states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania with a voter base that resembles "George McGovern's coalition of college students and white wine sippers".

Mr Rove cited polls showing that as many as 26 per cent of Mrs Clinton's supporters will vote Republican if Mr Obama is the nominee, saying even though such numbers were likely to come down before November, "there are going to be significant numbers of defections in this contest". His scorn for Mr Obama was almost palpable as he described how the candidate had developed a habit of "parsing" when faced by criticism or complaining about rough treatment as he did after last week's TV debate against Mrs Clinton. This makes him look like a whiner, Mr Rove said. "She has been getting tough with him - but it's not as tough as it will get from all sorts of places in a general election."


Obama's 'Distractions'?

By Charles Krauthammer

"Real change has never been easy. . . . The status quo in Washington will fight. They will fight harder than ever to divide us and distract us with ads and attacks from now until November" -- Barack Obama

With that, Obama identified the new public enemy: the "distractions" foisted upon a pliable electorate by the malevolent forces of the status quo, i.e., those who might wish to see someone else become president next January. "It's easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit for tat that consumes our politics" and "trivializes the profound issues" that face our country, he warned sternly. These must be resisted.

Why? Because Obama understands that the real threat to his candidacy is less Hillary Clinton and John McCain than his own character and cultural attitudes. He came out of nowhere with his autobiography already written, then saw it embellished daily by the hagiographic coverage and kid-gloves questioning of a supine press. (Which is why those "Saturday Night Live" parodies were so devastatingly effective.)

Then came the three amigos: Tony Rezko, the indicted fixer; Jeremiah Wright, the racist reverend; William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist. And then Obama's own anthropological observation that "bitter" working-class whites cling to guns and religion because they misapprehend their real class interests.

In the now-famous Pennsylvania debate, Obama had extreme difficulty answering questions about these associations and attitudes. The difficulty is understandable. Some of the contradictions are inexplicable. How does one explain campaigning throughout 2007 on a platform of transcending racial divisions, while in that same year contributing $26,000 to a church whose pastor incites race hatred?

What is Obama to do? Dismiss all such questions about his associations and attitudes as "distractions." And then count on his acolytes in the media to wage jihad against those who have the temerity to raise these questions. As if the character and beliefs of a man who would be president are less important than the "issues." As if some political indecency was committed when Obama was prevented from going through his latest -- 21st and likely last -- primary debate without being asked about Wright or Ayers or the tribal habits of gun-toting, God-loving Pennsylvanians.

Take Ayers. Obama makes it sound as if the relationship consists of having run into each other at the DMV. In fact, Obama's political career was launched in a 1995 meeting at Ayers's home. Obama's own campaign says that they maintain "friendly" relations. Obama's defense is that he was 8 when Ayers and his Weather Underground comrades were planting bombs at the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol and other buildings. True. But Obama was 40 when Ayers said publicly that he doesn't regret setting bombs. Indeed, he said, "I feel we didn't do enough." Would you maintain friendly relations with an unrepentant terrorist? Would you even shake his hand? To ask why Obama does is perfectly legitimate and perfectly relevant to understanding what manner of man he is.

Obamaphiles are even more exercised about the debate question regarding the flag pin. Now, I have never worn one. Whether anyone does is a matter of total indifference to me. But apparently not to Obama. He's taken three affirmative steps in regard to flag pins. After Sept. 11, he began wearing one. At a later point, he stopped wearing it. Then last year he explained why: because it "became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security."

Apart from the self-congratulatory fatuousness of that statement -- as if in this freest of all countries, political self-expression is somehow scarce or dangerous or a sign of patriotic courage -- to speak of pin-wearing as a sign of inauthentic patriotism is to make an issue of it yourself. For Obamaphiles to now protest the very asking of the question requires a fine mix of cynicism and self-righteousness.

But Obama needs to cast out such questions as illegitimate distractions because they are seriously damaging his candidacy. As people begin to learn about this just-arrived pretender, the magic dissipates. He spent six weeks in Pennsylvania. Outspent Hillary more than 2 to 1. Ran close to 10,000 television ads -- spending more than anyone in any race in the history of the state -- and lost by 10 points. And not because he insufficiently demagogued NAFTA or the other "issues." It was because of those "distractions" -- i.e., the things that most reveal character and core beliefs.


Obama's Real Bill Ayers Problem

The ex-Weatherman is now a radical educator with influence

Barack Obama complains that he's been unfairly attacked for a casual political and social relationship with his neighbor, former Weatherman Bill Ayers. Obama has a point. In the ultraliberal Hyde Park community where the presidential candidate first earned his political spurs, Ayers is widely regarded as a member in good standing of the city's civic establishment, not an unrepentant domestic terrorist. But Obama and his critics are arguing about the wrong moral question. The more pressing issue is not the damage done by the Weather Underground 40 years ago, but the far greater harm inflicted on the nation's schoolchildren by the political and educational movement in which Ayers plays a leading role today.

A Chicago native son, Ayers first went into combat with his Weatherman comrades during the "Days of Rage" in 1969, smashing storefront windows along the city's Magnificent Mile and assaulting police officers and city officials. Chicago's mayor at the time was the Democratic boss of bosses, Richard J. Daley. The city's current mayor, Richard M. Daley, has employed Ayers as a teacher trainer for the public schools and consulted him on the city's education-reform plans. Obama's supporters can reasonably ask: If Daley fils can forgive Ayers for his past violence, why should Obama's less consequential contacts with Ayers be a political disqualification? It's hard to disagree. Chicago's liberals have chosen to define deviancy down in Ayers's case, and Obama can't be blamed for that.

What he can be blamed for is not acknowledging that his neighbor has a political agenda that, if successful, would make it impossible to lift academic achievement for disadvantaged children. As I have shown elsewhere in City Journal, Ayers's politics have hardly changed since his Weatherman days. He still boasts about working full-time to bring down American capitalism and imperialism. This time, however, he does it from his tenured perch as Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Instead of planting bombs in public buildings, Ayers now works to indoctrinate America's future teachers in the revolutionary cause, urging them to pass on the lessons to their public school students.

Indeed, the education department at the University of Illinois is a hotbed for the radical education professoriate. As Ayers puts it in one of his course descriptions, prospective K-12 teachers need to "be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and . . . be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, a teacher teaching for social justice and liberation." Ayers's texts on the imperative of social-justice teaching are among the most popular works in the syllabi of the nation's ed schools and teacher-training institutes. One of Ayers's major themes is that the American public school system is nothing but a reflection of capitalist hegemony. Thus, the mission of all progressive teachers is to take back the classrooms and turn them into laboratories of revolutionary change.

Unfortunately, neither Obama nor his critics in the media seem to have a clue about Ayers's current work and his widespread influence in the education schools. In his last debate with Hillary Clinton, Obama referred to Ayers as a "professor of English," an error that the media then repeated. Would that Ayers were just another radical English professor. In that case, his poisonous anti-American teaching would be limited to a few hundred college students in the liberal arts. But through his indoctrination of future K-12 teachers, Ayers has been able to influence what happens in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of classrooms.

Ayers's influence on what is taught in the nation's public schools is likely to grow in the future. Last month, he was elected vice president for curriculum of the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association (AERA), the nation's largest organization of education-school professors and researchers. Ayers won the election handily, and there is no doubt that his fellow education professors knew whom they were voting for. In the short biographical statement distributed to prospective voters beforehand, Ayers listed among his scholarly books Fugitive Days, an unapologetic memoir about his ten years in the Weather Underground. The book includes dramatic accounts of how he bombed the Pentagon and other public buildings.

AERA already does a great deal to advance the social-justice teaching agenda in the nation's schools and has established a Social Justice Division with its own executive director. With Bill Ayers now part of the organization's national leadership, you can be sure that it will encourage even more funding and support for research on how teachers can promote left-wing ideology in the nation's classrooms-and correspondingly less support for research on such mundane subjects as the best methods for teaching underprivileged children to read.

The next time Obama-the candidate who purports to be our next "education president"-discusses education on the campaign trail, it would be nice to hear what he thinks of his Hyde Park neighbor's vision for turning the nation's schools into left-wing indoctrination centers. Indeed, it's an appropriate question for all the presidential candidates.


Obama Delegate Admits the Obvious: 'Bitter' Was Indeed a Big Deal

Reading the analysis of Dan Wofford (son of former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford) on "What Went Wrong" for Obama in the last primary is a rather reassuring experience. When Obama offered that Rosetta Stone of Condescension at the San Francisco fundraiser, you (well, probably) and I thought that ought to be a big deal. The coverage suggested it could be a big deal. But Obama's cheerleaders in the press insisted it wasn't a big deal, and the polls didn't give us instant confirmation that it was a big deal.

We were told his explanation of his remarks was "sensible and refreshing." The Obama campaign actually emailed out a CNN segment where Gloria Borger, Jack Cafferty, and Jeffrey Toobin all defended the comments. Even ordinarily sensible race watchers declared, "The word "bitter" wasn't the best choice in the context he used it in but he was trying to make a broader point. I guess those are the pitfalls of being really smart. But to say that these comments are "elitist" or are "demeaning" seems to be a big time stretch. It's hard to paint Obama as an "elitist" while at the same time he's described as hip, cool and relates to the younger generation. That makes no sense."

So it's reassuring to hear an Obama supporter - an Obama delegate, no less! - come out and say, "yup, it was a big deal." And to point out that elitism and snobbery are toxic in American politics, even in Democratic primaries...
You ask "what went wrong"... Here's my hangover-colored answer: He visited San Fransisco [sic] two weeks ago. That's what happened.

* Message to all Democratic Candidates: Never to go San Francisco, unless incognito;

* Message to Barack: Don't think out loud at fundraisers in San Francisco if you're stupid enough to go there.

* Message # 3: If someone in SF asks you about those "strange rural people in PA"...don't indulge their liberal, latte drinking bull [poop]...Just tell them if they want to understand rural and ethnic PA that they should get in the Prius's and drive down to Bakersfield or any of the other mid state towns in California where there are people who actually lead ordinary lives and care about God and own guns....

Bittergate hurt a lot - bc is slowed down and then with the poor debate performance stopped what was truly real closing momentum. No question had he not gone to SF or said those comments, we lose by 3-4 pts.

As somebody mentioned weeks ago, "if, as current polls predict, Barack Obama loses Pennsylvania by a double-digit margin on April 22, the truly ominous omen will not be the loss itself, but his campaign's catastrophic inability to tailor its message to vital demographics."


Something more than audacity

Barack Obama knows about audacity. He learned it from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, perfected it in Chicago and dazzles Democrats from Sioux City to Skagway and smaller places between. Fresh from his triumphs with the Audacity of Hope, he's eager to aim the Audacity of Bloviation at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who dreams of making a Hiroshima of Tel Aviv. Well, why not? His audacity has kids, babes, Hollywood stars, Manhattan ladies who lunch, celebrities of stage, screen and old-time radio and even Colin Powell in thrall. How could a mere Persian rug merchant resist him?

Continuing to play games with words, Mr. Obama says he wants to make a "diplomatic surge" with talks with Iran to stabilize the situation in Iraq. This is odd, because on the one hand he insists the "surge" that everybody else recognizes as working has been a bust. Now he wants the diplomats to emulate a bust.

There's something of Democratic surge in meddling, too, though we must audaciously hope that it is not coordinated. On the very day that Mr. Obama went surging through Iraq and Iran, the known world (or at least the worlds of Arabia and a precinct or maybe two in southwest Georgia) was rocked by the news that The Hon. Jimmy Carter would soon be on his way to Syria to break bread and nibble on sheep's eyes with Khaled Meshal, the exiled leader of Hamas, which the State Department regards as one of the foremost terrorist organizations in the world. Like Khaled Meshal, Jimmy Carter will be a guest of President Bashar al-Assad, though they won't necessarily share the same rug. Mr. Jimmy will be the first Western leader of his rank to greet the terrorist chief.

"It's about par for the course from President Carter, demonstrating a lack of judgment typical of what he does," says John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "To go to Syria to visit Hamas at this point is just an ill-timed, ill-advised decision on his part."

Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was, as you might expect, euphoric. He says Mr. Carter's efforts demonstrate that he's "a true partner" of peace. "I think President Carter would only undertake such a mission if he believed that something could be achieved in terms of peace and reconciliation in the region." Any friend of Hamas is a friend of "peace," as suicide bombers define "peace."

Jimmy Carter's adventures no longer agitate anyone very much, but the prospect of Barack Obama - green, na‹ve and inexperienced in the ways of the world beyond the south side of Chicago - rushing off to charm despots and dictators with smooth talk sends shivers down the backbones, such as they may be, of everybody in a pair of striped pants. Summits look like fun to prospective presidents, with flags flying from the front fenders of long black limousines and self-important aides scurrying about with learned papers and cold coffee. Older men have learned to be wary.

"Summits have all too often been a gamble, the experience nerve-wracking and the results unsatisfactory," said Dean Acheson, who was Harry S. Truman's secretary of State. He recalled the advice given to Woodrow Wilson on the eve of the first Wilson journey to Europe: "The moment President Wilson sits down at the council table with these prime ministers and foreign secretaries, he has lost all the power that comes from distance and detachment. He becomes merely a negotiator dealing with other negotiators." When the quarterback, i.e., the president, fumbles, the goal line is open behind him.

Sending the inexperienced Barack Obama, the ultimate salesman armed only with a smile, guile and a shoeshine, off to parley with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-il or even the man in charge in Moscow and Beijing is enough to send shivers down anyone's spine. Sen. Obama can't wait to try out the Audacity of Bloviation that has worked so well on gullible Democrats at home. This is the second time he's talked about how he's eager to substitute easy verbosity for hard-won experience. We must have the audacity to hope for better than that.



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mainstream support for Obama weakening

Post below recycled from Taranto. See the original for links

Is Barack Obama the next George McGovern? John Judis of The New Republic thinks so, and the Pennsylvania primary results bear him out:
If you look at Obama's vote in Pennsylvania, you begin to see the outlines of the old George McGovern coalition that haunted the Democrats during the '70s and '80s, led by college students and minorities. In Pennsylvania, Obama did best in college towns (60 to 40 percent in Penn State's Centre County) and in heavily black areas like Philadelphia.

Its ideology is very liberal. Whereas in the first primaries and caucuses, Obama benefited from being seen as middle-of-the-road or even conservative, he is now receiving his strongest support from voters who see themselves as "very liberal." In Pennsylvania, he defeated [Hillary] Clinton among "very liberal" voters by 55 to 45 percent, but lost "somewhat conservative" voters by 53 to 47 percent and moderates by 60 to 40 percent. In Wisconsin and Virginia, by contrast, he had done best against Clinton among voters who saw themselves as moderate or somewhat conservative.

Obama even seems to be acquiring the religious profile of the old McGovern coalition. In the early primaries and caucuses, Obama did very well among the observant. In Maryland, he defeated Clinton among those who attended religious services weekly by 61 to 31 percent. By contrast, in Pennsylvania, he lost to Clinton among these voters by 58 to 42 percent and did best among voters who never attend religious services, winning them by 56 to 44 percent. There is nothing wrong with winning over voters who are very liberal and who never attend religious services; but if they begin to become Obama's most fervent base of support, he will have trouble (to say the least) in November.

Judis's colleague Jonathan Chait has a rebuttal in which he notes that Judis's own book, "The Emerging Democratic Majority" (Ruy Teixeira, co-author), "argues that the elements of the McGovern coalition have expanded to the point where they can form the base of a politial [sic] majority."

Yet Judis's numbers suggest that since the last pre-Pennsylvania primaries--that is, since the revelations about Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and Obama's "bitter" comment--Obama has increasingly become the candidate of blacks and academia. His appeal has become more selective, and that may not serve him well in November.

Another Unsavory Obama Associate, Official Blogger a Communist?

The list of Barack Obama associates that hold views that clash with mainstream America is getting longer every day and now we can add another notch in the "anti-American" column of Obama campaign workers and supporters. This time we find that the Obama campaign's official blogger, Sam Graham-Felsen, has spent time in France participating in labor riots, has written for a socialist magazine, hung a communist flag in his home, and was a fan of Marx while at Harvard.

Is this a case of the media not vetting another Obama associate? Why have we not heard of this man before and why is the media silent on him? After the stories of John Edwards' anti-Catholic bloggers, you'd think that the media would have been on the lookout for campaign blogger related stories. Yet, this guy and his questionable past has been ignored by the same media that tried to give Edwards' bloggers a pass.

A fellow that blogs at a site called "Common Ills" did a lot of leg work to dig up some of the publicly known utterings of Mr. Graham-Felsen prior to his elevation as the Obama campaign's official blogger, so he deserves the credit for raising a "red" flag on this one.

What we know for sure is that in May of 2006, Sam Graham-Felsen wrote a short piece in the socialist magazine Socialist Viewpoint describing his participation in some French labor riots. Then, back in 2003, Graham-Felsen also wrote a piece for the Harvard Crimson praising Noam Chomsky, known for blaming the United States instead of the terrorists for the attacks on 9/11, and advising him to "tone it down" in order to fool people enough to get his anti-American message out.

Graham-Felson praised Chomsky for having "taken on (what he perceives as) the ultimate bully - the United States," and gives Noam some unsolicited Graham-Felson advice.

More here

The 'Great Uniter' only for some groups

Barack Obama's meteoric rise on the political scene is built on the premise that he, more than any other candidate, can unite the nation's divisions and bridge the gap between black and white, Republican and Democrat, poor and rich. In South Carolina, The State echoed other endorsements, "Sen. Obama's campaign is an argument for a more unifying style of leadership. ..American unity - transcending party - is a core value in itself."

His promise of unity rings hollow when he discounts a significant segment of the voting population. What a surprise it must be to America's white workers that Obama's campaign manager David Axelrod writes them off because "[t]he white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for many elections, going back even to the Clinton years." Aren't they included in the great national healing.

Obama's dismissal of a group of Americans which he hopes to serve brings to mind another "healing" predecessor, Jimmy Carter. Bob Shrum, former presidential speech writer, recounted that in the 1976 presidential campaign, Carter was convinced that Jewish voters were favoring Henry ("Scoop") Jackson. "Jackson has all the Jews anyway," Shrum quoted Carter as saying. "We get the Christians." Who will be the next group excluded by the great "uniter"?



Barack Obama caused quite a stir a fortnight ago when he told a suburban San Francisco fund raiser that small-town Pennsylvania voters were "bitter" about their economic plight. As a consequence, he added, "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them..." As political comments go, it was a self-inflicted "twofer". Not only was Obama's sociological analysis delivered in a place synonymous with permissive liberalism, but also it raised questions about the candidate's sensitivity to the lives of the hard-working, small-town voters that he was so intensively trying to woo.

Yet as controversial as they were, Obama's remarks basically have reflected the contours of his vote-getting appeal. By and large, he has succeeded thus far by rolling up the vote in urban areas with their large minority population, and penetrating populous white-collar suburbs and the growing exurbs beyond. Yet in many places where new subdivisions give way to countryside, the Obama vote noticeably begins to ebb. There, his only consistent support has come from the occasional oases of academe that dot the rural landscape.

Al Gore showed back in 2000 that a Democrat can narrowly win the fall popular vote with the cities and a fair chunk of the suburbs. Yet to win the electoral vote, their nominee needs to do a bit better. In short, the party has become quite expert at winning 48 percent of the vote, but it takes a special Democrat able to draw votes in small-town America to bring that extra 3 percent that would ensure victory. Quite possibly, Obama has the political skills to do it. But his tepid primary showings in rural parts of key battleground states such as Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania places the burden of proof on him to demonstrate that he can do it.

To be sure, Obama has run quite well in the rural areas of caucus states, where turnouts are low and his impassioned group of supporters can dominate. He also has run well in the rural portions of many Southern primary states from Louisiana to Virginia that boast a significant African-American population. And he has held his own in rural sectors of other primary states where a less partisan, even libertarian brand of politics is practiced, as in upper New England and many sparsely populated states west of the Mississippi River.

But as the Democratic primary campaign has moved into the key battleground states of the industrial Frost Belt, Obama has hit a brick wall in his bid for rural votes. In Missouri, Obama took only six of 116 counties (including the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City). In Ohio, he carried just five of 88; in Pennsylvania, only seven of 67.

In Missouri, his votes were very well placed, enabling him to win the Democratic primary by a margin of barely 10,000 votes. He won the state's two major cities (St. Louis and KC), populous suburban St. Louis County, two counties in the center of the state that include the state capital of Jefferson City and the large academic community in Columbia (home of the University of Missouri), and one rural county in the northwest corner of the state. That was it. Hillary Clinton swept the rest of Missouri.

In Ohio, Obama's vote was even more contained. He carried only the urban counties that include Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, plus one county on the outskirts of Columbus. Not a single county in the broad swath of rural Ohio went his way, as he lost the primary to Clinton by 10 percentage points.

In Pennsylvania, the Clinton margin was similar and so was the political geography. Obama won big in Philadelphia, with its large African-American population, carried two of its four suburban counties, and took a pair of counties on the outer orbit of greater Philadelphia. The two other counties that he carried were in the center of the state, and each contained a major academic institution. As for the rest of Pennsylvania, it was essentially a vast wasteland for Obama.

One can only speculate as to why small-town Democrats in these states have so completely turned their backs on him. It could be pronounced racial attitudes; cultural differences with the liberal Obama; deep sentiment for the Clintons; horror at the sight of his poor bowling skills. Whatever it is, rural resistance to Obama seems particularly strong in these states that are so critically important to the Democrats come November.

Yet Obama's problems are not new for the modern Democratic Party. Rarely in recent years has it nominated a candidate with much small-town appeal. Since the current primary-dominated era of presidential politics began almost 40 years ago, the Democrats have selected only one candidate capable of winning a majority of the nation's 3,100 or so counties -- Jimmy Carter in 1976. And only one other Democratic nominee since then has even come close to carrying a majority of counties, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.

Their common denominators: Both hailed from small towns in the South with the simplest of names, Plains and Hope; both served as governors of their states before running for president. And not coincidentally, they were the only two Democrats to have won the White House since 1968. Winning the cities and many of the suburbs can get Democrats close to the Oval Office. But only the candidates who can show appeal in rural America have had the key to open the door.

"Jimmy" and "Bubba" brought an understanding of small-town America to their campaigns that transcended their regional roots. They were able to win hundreds of rural counties across the country that Democratic presidential candidates normally do not carry, enabling each to mount winning presidential campaigns that included key battleground states such as Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The challenge for Obama, and indeed for Hillary Clinton as well if she is the nominee, is to find a way to relate to these "God and guns" voters. It won't be easy for the former, a longtime resident of Chicago, or for the latter, a product of the nation's burgeoning suburbs. But for either, it could be the key to winning the White House this fall.

More here


Obama's now-famous remark: "Why can't I just eat my waffle?" has been much noted. Google has over 19,000 mentions of it. And the message taken from it has generally been that Obama is a haughty elitist who does not like to be questioned. I think that there is much more than that to it, however. Read the following report from last month to put it in context:
Early morning trainers and exercisers at the Greenville, Miss., YMCA on Mississippi primary day last Tuesday got a taste of Sen. Barack Obama's reclusiveness, which the traveling press corps has learned to accept.

After speaking at Tougaloo College on Monday night, Obama went to the "Y" at 6:30 a.m. for a workout. He greeted nobody and did not respond when people there called out to him. That aloofness has been the pattern in the Democratic presidential candidate's behavior toward reporters who cover him.

After finishing his workout, Obama returned to his gregarious campaign mode with a visit to black-owned Buck's restaurant in Greenville before leaving the state. He won Mississippi comfortably against Sen. Hillary Clinton.


The above quote and the waffle remark are both telling us the same thing: That Obama has difficulty keeping up his "nice guy" image. Keeping it up quite simply wears him out. It is not who he really is so keeping up that image tires him and he just HAS to rest from it. It is not who he really is.

And as someone who has studied psychopathy (I have a couple of academic journal articles on the subject) that is very familiar. Psychopaths also typically present a "nice guy" image -- something that sucks in the females wholesale. The psychopath says and does all the right things and people promptly put their trust in him. And then when they least expect it, he "goes bad" on them. "Why did he do that?" is the typical distressed response, "He was so nice and then he went and did ....".

The sucker in the story gets very thoroughly betrayed and has no clue as to why the psychopath suddenly changed. The answer, of course, is that the nice guy act was all a pretense in the first place and because it was not genuine the psychopath just could not keep it up for long. The "change" that distressed the sucker was the mask being dropped and the psychopath reverting to his true type.

And that is what we see in both reports of Obama's behaviour above. By the time he got to his waffle he just could not keep up his act, even under the full glare of media scrutiny. He HAD to have a rest from acting. So the Obama we see on the campaign trail is just a false front for the very dismal soul that lies beneath it. If America elects Obama, it will not get what it voted for. It will get a horror. An entire nation will have been conned.

Bill Clinton is a psychopath too. He too is known for suddenly "losing it" at times. But Slick Willy was led around by his penis. Obama will probably be led around by the hate that he sucked up in listening to 20 years of Jeremiah Wright's preaching.