On Tuesday, Barack Obama faced the glare of the cameras and tried to deal with what was rapidly becoming one of those "distractions" he so despises. It turns out that the man he chose to head up the steering committee to help him choose a vice president, Jim Johnson, had a past that was making Obama out to be a hypocrite on the sub-prime mortgage crisis. After skewering John McCain for his connections with sub-prime lenders, it turns out that Mr. Johnson made McCain's connections look positively innocent by comparison.
Johnson, Fannie Mae chief from 1991 through 1998, received more than $7 million in real estate loans from a program open only to "friends of Angelo." The "Angelo" in question is none other than Angelo Mozilo, CEO of Countrywide Financial Corporation. Obama, who has heavily criticized Mozilo for accepting hefty bonuses despite the sub-prime crisis, evidently didn't vet Mr. Johnson thoroughly and failed to discover the sweetheart connection.
It should also be noted that according to the Chicago Tribune, the practitioner of "new politics" accepted $1.9 million from sub prime lenders, which only goes to show that when it comes to a decision between engaging in the "new politics" and old fashioned money grubbing, "new politics" gets the shaft.
The revelations about Johnson led to an incredible exchange with ABC News reporter Sunlen Miller, who grilled Obama on why the information hadn't been discovered by the campaign before he hired him. The ensuing explanation by Obama is a jaw dropper.
So without further adieu, I give you, ladies and gentlemen, Barack H. Obama -- Columbia University graduate, Harvard Law, President of the Harvard Law Review, and noted American orator:
"Now look, the, the, ah, ah, ah, I mean the uh first of all uh I, I, I am not vetting my VP search committee for their mortgages so you're going have to uh d-direct... Well, nah I mean becomes sort of a... um... I mean this is a game that can be played everybody... It who is tangentially related to our campaign I think is going to have a whole host of relationships. I would have to hire the vetter to uh vet the vetter."
Huh? It gets murkier -- or more bizarrely incoherent. The following was cleaned up by the ABC website and made into something printable:
"Jim Johnson has a very discrete task," Obama continued, "as does Eric Holder, and that is simply to gather up information about potential vice presidential candidates. They are performing that job well, it's a volunteer, unpaid position. And they are giving me information and I will then exercise judgment in terms of who I want to select as a vice presidential candidate. "So this - you know, these aren't folks who are working for me," Obama said. "They're not people you know who I have assigned to a job in a future administration and, you know, ultimately my assumption is that, you know, this is a discrete task that they're going to performing for me over the next two months."
Whassat? What'd he say? Johnson doesn't really "work" for him because he's a "volunteer" in an "unpaid position." And after all, he hasn't promised him a cabinet post so it's really OK that he didn't vet him and besides this is just a "distraction" so can we please get back to your slavish worship of my awe inspiring talents? Well, on Wednesday, Johnson "unvolunteered" himself from the campaign:
I believe Barack Obama's candidacy for president of the United States is the most exciting and important of my lifetime," he said, according to a Bloomberg report. "I would not dream of being a party to distracting attention from that historic effort."
We all know how much Obama doesn't like "distractions." Obama himself cried a few crocodile tears in giving him the heave ho:
"Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept. We have a very good selection process underway, and I am confident that it will produce a number of highly qualified candidates for me to choose from in the weeks ahead. I remain grateful to Jim for his service and his efforts in this process," Obama said in a statement.
So, another Obama associate is thrown under the bus. One might begin to wonder if there are more people riding on the Obama express or underneath it. Think of all this guy's friends, staffers, spiritual advisors, and assorted far left radicals who have been given the equivalent of a pair of cement galoshes and thrown into the Chicago River. A partial list:
1. Samantha Power, foreign policy advisor, who ended up being just a little bit too frank about some of Obama's less than mainstream plans for Israel and other places if the candidate were to win office.
2. Austan Goolsbee, economic advisor, who whispered to the Canadian government sweet nothings about his boss's NAFTA switcheroo in Ohio -- Obama running around the state, breathing fire about the evils of NAFTA and how he would renegotiate the treaty while Goolsbee was telling the Canadians that the candidate was just politicking and had no intention of touching the treaty.
3. Reverend Jeremiah Wright, friend and spiritual advisor for whom the candidate bravely stood up -- at first -- until Wright's performance at the National Press Club caused the candidate to open the door himself and push the old man under the wheels.
4. Father Michael Pfleger, friend and spiritual advisor, whose spittle flecked rant at Trinity Church against Hillary, America and white people forced the candidate to leave his boot print on the good father's rear end as he too was impelled from behind under the Obama Greyhound.
5. William Ayers, terrorist and future Secretary of Education in an Obama Administration. Well, probably not. But Obama's dismissal of his former boss and friend as "just a neighbor" no doubt hurt the terrorist's feelings but became necessary when the press started to get curious about what a candidate for president was doing associating with someone who doesn't regret blowing people to smithereens.
There are more -- the undercarriage of that bus is bloody indeed. There's the entire congregation of Trinity United Church who now must practice their Black Liberation Theology and "anti-middleclassness" without the man who apparently spent many a pleasant Sunday sleeping through sermons -- or so he would have us believe.
But there is a monumental difference between Obama's previous actions in washing his hands of wayward staffers, bigots, and radicals and having to toss Jim Johnson out the window. The others were handled when he was simply a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. But his choice of Johnson to head up the most important job he has between now and the election -- choosing a vice president -- was made as the presumptive nominee.
In short, Obama's first major decision as the nominee for president of his party was an unmitigated disaster. Not only did he choose someone who opened him up to charges of being a rank hypocrite. But the way he handled himself in off the cuff remarks in trying to defend Johnson was shockingly incoherent and stupid. Trying to pass Johnson off as someone who didn't work for him? That's childish in its attempt to avoid responsibility. One might expect a 7 year old to deny breaking a dinner plate by saying something like "I didn't drop it mom, it fell." But when the potential next president of the United States tries to run away from his mistakes, we can ask legitimate questions on how this man will perform if he reaches the oval office. Craig Crawford brings up another point:
Obama's cavalier response utterly contradicted his campaign's supposed crusade for reform. Not only did those words come across as tone deaf to the very ethical issues that he has raised in this election, but his remarks sounded like the ethical relativism we so often hear from the Washington business-as-usual crowd that Obama claims to be running against.
Chris Cillizza recognizes the danger Obama exposes himself to by latching on to people like Johnson:
For Obama, any questions in voters' minds about whether he truly is a change agent or is legitimately committed to breaking the alleged stranglehold lobbyists and other power brokers have over the political system is potentially disastrous. Because of the peril involved, it's not terribly surprising that Obama moved quickly to "fix the glitch" once he realized questions about Johnson weren't going away. Seen another way, however, this episode could forebode poorly for how Obama handles the various slings and arrows sent his way by Republicans and their famed -- and effective -- noise machine.
This is where the national press has done a heroic job in keeping a well kept secret of Obama's associations and actions in his past that would expose him as the hypocrite he is. No real attempt has been made to ferret out the truth of what his career was like as a Chicago politician. The Obama campaign would blow up if the press ever read some back issues of the Chicago Tribune or Sun Times.
Instead, it is as if Obama sprang fully formed into the world of national politics, unsullied by grubby special interests and lobbyists who afflict everyone else in Washington. His holy throat and golden tongue will lead a revolution that will make America a paradise of unity and happiness. All I can say is we better snap out of it before we elect the most incompetent, the most naive, and perhaps the most dangerous man ever to run for the office of the president.
The Audacity of Gullibility
David Jeffers, a religion columnist at New Media Journal, describes "The Deep Faith of Barack Obama." His analysis dissects a 2004 interview with Obama that is -- to be frank -- quite disturbing given what we now know about his relationships and judgment....First, Senator Obama says in the interview:
So that, one of the churches I met, or one of the churches that I became involved in was Trinity United Church of Christ. And the pastor there, Jeremiah Wright, became a good friend. So I joined that church and committed myself to Christ in that church.
By now most Americans know about the controversy swirling around Reverend Wright and the majority of people do not believe that Senator Obama could be a member of that church and not know about Reverend Wright's racist tendencies. But what if he is telling the truth, what if he didn't know?
Then there is something more troubling and it brings into question Senator Obama's judgment and his ability to evaluate people's motives and desires. How is it possible that a grown man educated in an Ivy League school could be taken completely by surprise over Jeremiah Wright's behavior? When asked if he had people in his life he looked to for guidance, Senator Obama responded:
Well, my pastor is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for... I have a number of friends who are ministers. Reverend Meeks is a close friend and colleague of mine in the state Senate. Father Michael Pfleger is a dear friend and somebody I interact with closely.
Add on to Senator Obama's list his dear friend convicted felon Tony Rezko and his associate, domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, and we have a pattern here. And if it is true that Barack Obama was completely fooled and surprised by the behavior of these four men, three of whom he says "...is not the man I knew", then that leads to a very important question.
How are we to trust this man to sit across the negotiating table with the likes of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syria's Bashar al-Assad, North Korea's Kim Jong-Il, or Venezuela's Hugo Chavez? Senator Obama has already stated that he would initiate "tough negotiations" with these four countries and yet he is unable to know the hearts and minds of three close friends and one political associate?
Limbaugh shows Obama stumbles without his notes
'You take away the prompter, written speeches and you have nothing'
Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh says Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is riding on "a wing and a prayer" and cannot sustain his "image" until the general election in the fall. "Ted Kennedy could do a better job," Limbaugh said yesterday. "I've constantly noted, ladies and gentlemen, you take the prompter and the written speeches away from Barak Obama, and you have nothing. You have nothing like the guy with the soaring rhetoric and the inspiring and sermon-like quality," he said.
Obama's campaign has been plagued with issues over statements by his wife who said her husband's campaign finally made her proud of America, his former pastor who said "God d--- America," and by friends who expressed regret they did not do more as violent activists in the 1960s and 1970s. Now Obama's own words are attracting attention, too. Limbaugh said a speech by the candidate illustrates his point.
In the YouTube video, Obama says: "Everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma, they end up taking up a hospital bed, it costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early and they got some treatment, and a, a breathalyzer, or inhalator, not a breathalyzer. (crowd laughing) I haven't had much sleep in the last 48 hours." Limbaugh commented: "He hasn't had much sleep in the last 48 hours. It's inhaler. There's no such a thing as an inhalator. And a breathalyzer? A breathalyzer is what they give you if you've been overserved adult beverages and you're driving around and the cops catch you."
Limbaugh said Obama's speech in Bristol, Va., just last week was interrupted by the candidate's apparent inability to keep his thoughts in order. In the speech, Obama says: "What they'll say is, 'Well it costs too much money,' but you know what? It would cost, about... It -- it -- it would cost about the same as what we would spend... It... Over the course of 10 years it would cost what it would costs us... (nervous laugh) All right. Okay. We're going to... It... It would cost us about the same as it would cost for about -- hold on one second. I can't hear myself. But I'm glad you're fired up, though. I'm glad."
That is why, Limbaugh said, he doesn't believe Obama "will do as many of these town hall meetings with McCain as his camp is saying. . If this were George Bush that you were listening to, this would have been commented on since it happened. You would have had people all over the country saying, 'Gosh, can't we get a guy that can talk? Can't we get a guy who can put two thoughts together?" "This is the worst example of it, but I have noticed this and I have seen this throughout these town hall debate situations," Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh noted Obama's explanation that he couldn't hear himself. "By the way, when he makes his remark about the audience being loud and distracting, we didn't edit any of the audience out. The audience was not making a sound because the audience is as perplexed as you will be," Limbaugh said.
"Nobody was saying a word. There was no cheering; there was no fainting. There was just disbelief. I have warned you people several times, you get this guy away from the teleprompter and the David Axelrod-written speeches. This guy doesn't even write his own speeches. Mario Cuomo and Malcolm X write these, but the bottom line is, you get this guy away from them, and I don't care, he blames it on lack of sleep. Hey, get used to it, man, you want to be president. Remember that phone call that's going to ring at 3:00 in the morning? It's going to be Hillary saying, 'Have you seen Bill?' And he'll say, 'Yeah, the last time I saw him was in the Oval Office and I couldn't get rid of him so I came up to bed.' This is the guy who wants to run your healthcare," Limbaugh said.
"If the American people had learned 30 years ago that a presidential candidate of any party can number as one of his best friends a terrorist who blew up the Pentagon, he would be finished. Today he's the nominee of the Democrat Party for president of the United States, and this is a man of change and this is a man of hope and dreams. This is a man who is finally going to bring about the federal government fixing everything that's wrong in healthcare," Limbaugh said.
Obama and the giant blogosphere conspiracy
Today's Guardian reports that Barack Obama is setting up an entire unit to combat `virulent rumours' about him on the internet. Doubtless one of the blogs in the sights of team Obama is Little Green Footballs, which in the last few days has been excavating examples of wildly anti-Jewish and anti-American prejudice and conspiracy theories posted up by fans on Obama's own website. LGF is making hay with the fact that the Obamanables are belatedly taking (some of) this stuff down from the site while simultaneously insisting that its presence is nothing to do with them because the website has no moderators. Yeah, right.
The Guardian quotes the director of some monitoring outfit as saying that the blogosphere's smears about Obama are particularly vicious.
He added that one of the most persistent is that Obama, a Christian, is `some kind of Muslim Manchurian candidate, planted by Islamic fundamentalists to betray the country and it is very widespread'.
Well now. Crazed Jew-hating American-loathing moonbats posting comments on Obama's website are one thing. But the fact is that there are serious and troubling questions about Obama's ancestry and associations and what he himself has said about them, which have surfaced in the blogosphere but have been almost wholly ignored by the mainstream media in its collective Obamanic swoon. First is his childhood background. Last November, his campaign website carried a statement with the headline:
Barack Obama Is Not and Has Never Been a Muslim
Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.
Obama has also said:
I've always been a Christian
I've never practised Islam.
But none of this is true. As is explored in detail on Daniel Pipes's website, Obama was enrolled at his primary schools in Indonesia as a Muslim; he attended the mosque during that period; his friends from that time testify that he was a devout Muslim boy. A former teacher at one of these schools, Tine Hahiyary, remembers a young Obama who was quite religious and actively took part in `mengaji' classes which teach how to read the Koran in Arabic. The blogger from Indonesia who reported this commented:
`Mengagi' is a word and a term that is accorded the highest value and status in the mindset of fundamentalist societies here in Southeast Asia. To put it quite simply, "mengaji classes" are not something that a non practicing or so-called moderate Muslim family would ever send their child to... The fact that Obama had attended mengaji classes is well known in Indonesia and has left many there wondering just when Obama is going to come out of the closet.
His father was a Muslim, as was his stepfather. His grandfather was a Muslim convert. His wider family appear to have been largely devout Muslims. Yes, we only know about Obama's early years as a Muslim; and yes, twenty years ago he became a Christian. The issue, however, is why he has been less than candid about his early background and his family. Indeed, he appears to have actively deceived the public about it. That is why the blogosphere is so exercised about it.
Now here's another curious thing. Much has been made of his membership of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago whose former pastor and his long-standing mentor, Jeremiah Wright, Obama was forced finally to renounce on account of his obnoxious views (although he has signally failed unequivocally to denounce those views themselves and the no less obnoxious philosophy of the Trinity United black power church). But according to a passing reference in a profile in The New Republic last year, Pastor Wright was himself a Muslim convert to Christianity. He seems to have moved from being a Muslim black power fanatic to a Christian black power fanatic - which might go some way to explaining his close affinity to the Muslim black power ideologue Louis Farrakhan.
Then there is also Obama's troubling support for the Kenyan opposition leader -- and his cousin -- Raila Odinga, the leader of the violent uprising a few months ago against the newly elected Kenyan government and who signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenyan Muslims to turn Kenya into an Islamic state governed by sharia law. At the time, the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya released a statement in which church leaders said Odinga
comes across as a presumptive Muslim president bent on forcing Islamic law, religion and culture down the throats of the Kenyan people in total disregard of the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of worship and equal protection of the law for all Kenyans.
As the Atlas Shrugs site reported, Obama actually went to Kenya in 2006 and spoke at rallies in support of Odinga, causing the Kenyan government to denounce him as `Raila's stooge'. Why was Obama supporting such a person? Why has no-one bothered to find out??
Daniel Pipes makes another highly significant point about Obama's Muslim background. He points out that, in the eyes of the Muslim world, Obama remains a Muslim regardless of what religion he now professes because he was born to a Muslim father. By his own admission (of Christianity) therefore, he is a Muslim apostate - a status regarded by the Muslim world as a sin to be punished by death. Pipes thinks this would put his life in danger and undermine his initiatives towards the Muslim world. But surely the more significant point is that much of that Muslim world has actually embraced him. Indeed the Muslim Brothers of Hamas - who most certainly would regard any Muslim apostate as someone to be eliminated - actually came out publicly in support of him (until Obama blotted his copybook by professing undying support for Israel).
We are entitled therefore to ask whether the Muslim world supports him because it believes he is still a Muslim. We are entitled to ask precisely when he stopped being a Muslim, and why. Did Obama embrace Christianity as a tactical manoeuvre to get himself elected? Why indeed has he dissembled about his family background if not for that end?
These multiple known deceptions by someone who may become President of the United States are deeply alarming. The concealment is the issue. To dismiss such concerns and the related questions they provoke as a smear campaign is to attempt to browbeat into silence those who legitimately raise them and require urgent answers as a matter of the most acute public interest.
Update: In this entry I originally included the following quote from the American Expatriate in Indonesia blog quoted above: 'Another of Obama's former classmates, Emirsyah Satar, now CEO of Garuda Indonesia, has been quoted as saying: At that time, he was quite religious in Islam but after marrying Michelle, he changed his religion.' It has been pointed out to me that comments posted on that blog claimed that this was a mistranslation, and that the quote attributed to Satar was written instead by the author of the article.
Such Low Expectations for The Obamessiah
Post below recycled from Jammie man. See the original for links
Imagine if this guy had actually accomplished something in his life. Of course, with the endless hype will come the inevitable disappointment. Of course, none of that will ever be his fault.
Here's all Barack Obama has to do to meet the world's expectations if he's elected president of the United States: End an unpopular war in Iraq, heal misery in nations hit by the global food crisis and stop global warming in addition to building bridges to Muslim countries and reverse the unilateralist approach of the Bush administration.
The euphoria that has swept much of the world at the sight of a young and idealistic black politician seizing the Democratic nomination has generated waves of anticipation. Yet Obama, precisely because of his lofty yet undefined message of hope and renewal, can be all things for all people - a blank canvas on which to project the world's longings.
And in that sense, if he is elected, he may very well be forced to disappoint millions around the world, especially if he takes over a nation caught in an economic slowdown and intractable wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Disillusionment could come on several fronts.
Many in developing nations who are drawn to Obama's charisma and concern for the underprivileged might be surprised to learn he publicly espouses protectionist policies that could dampen their struggle to conquer poverty.
He has campaigned on a pledge to pull troops out of Iraq, a popular stance in much of the world. But a sober assessment of the security risks of an early pullout could lead a President Obama to reconsider.
"There is the almost unrealistic hope that Obama will bring change, that anything will be better than Bush," said Robert McGeehan, an associate fellow at Chatham House in London who researches anti-Americanism.
He said few people who are embracing Obama have actually studied his proposals but like him because he represents an end to the Bush era. "Obama's been given a very easy time of it, but now it will become much more difficult," said the scholar, who has been supportive of Bush administration policies.
Of course the disappointment can be avoided by not voting for this lightweight.
In countries that suffered for centuries under the domination of Western powers - and are re-emerging as world players - Obama's message of "Yes we can!" strikes a particularly powerful chord.
"For the common man, in India, the fact that he's a person of color, he represents the equivalent of the underdog," said C. Uday Bhaskar, a New Delhi-based analyst with the Institute for Defense Studies. "I think Indians will connect with the underdog."
"He's not the red-necked white man that invokes the deepest kind of colonial anxiety in India," Bhaskar said.
Some analysts said Obama's multicultural background and vision of engaging the world on the key issues of the day would help repair America's tattered world image.
Read on. It gets worse. The stories will almost write themselves when he loses in November. We'll see prattle from his crestfallen media cheerleaders about how if only the world were allowed to vote and how America hasn't overcome its racist past.
A Weird Sort of Racial Chauvinism
By Victor Davis Hanson
A common trope of many pundits is that when they travel overseas now, they begin to tingle when those abroad, especially in the so-called former Third World, press them on Obama's chances. Then the now banal theme follows: the Middle Easterner, African, South American, etc. tells the American pundit that he can't believe an America would pick a (fill in the blank) - former Muslim, person of color, man with Hussein as a middle name, etc. - and that suddenly this liberality has restored his faith in the United States.
Then the pundit, straining to be fair, usually says he doesn't know whether Obama could change things as much as his foreign admirers imagine, but at least this is an exciting time (finally) to once again be American. Indeed, the argument that an Obama presidency would appeal to our critics overseas and prove our liberality is becoming a powerful reason to vote for Obama for many of our elites.
Aside from the obvious point that we should not pick our presidents on the basis of whether those in mostly autocratic, non-democratic societies approve, there is something very tribal and racialist about all this chauvinism.
If a white male Christian of European ancestry were suddenly a likely successor to the Mubarak dictatorship, or were next in line to take over the Mugabe kleptocracy, or were stealing Venezuela from Hugo Chavez, or were going to be elected the next leader of South Africa, it would be of less than zero importance to me, and I would hope to other Americans of similar backgrounds. And I think most of us would shudder should an Englishman or Australian say "I just hope your next President is another white male Christian like McCain." I was in Greece in 1988 when the socialist liberal Greeks went ga-ga over Mike Dukakis solely on the basis on his shared ethnic background and it seemed pretty absurd, especially when many promised they would change their dark view of Reagan's America if a Greek-American were elected President.
So, one, I don't see what is so great when a foreigner tells an American journalist that his view of America might change should we elect a person closer to his own perceived racial or religious self-image. Seems instead illiberal, tribal, and retrograde. And two, if Egyptians, Iranians, Congolese, or Bolivians want real changes in their own lives, then they should look to their own autocratic systems, not the United States that can do little to alleviate their mostly self-inflicted miseries other than to continue to shell out hundreds of billions in petrodollars and ever more humanitarian aid.
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