The Real Obama :
Not Qualified for
The Real Obama wouldn't qualify to guard the President --
Or even to play in his band!
Obama critics have long been pointing to Barack Obama's long-time relationships with radical people and groups. But they're not doing so effectively. They're leaving room for the Obama camp to respond that Bill Ayers engaged in his terrorist activities 40 years ago, when Barack Obama was only 8 years old.
Maybe so, but Bill Ayers is still unapologetic for his activities as founder of the domestic terror group The Weather Underground. They bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, and police headquarters in protest against the Vietnam war. Seven people were killed. They exhorted the youth of the day to go home and "kill your parents." Ayers is unrepentant, and says he feels they "didn't do enough."
Obama says he "assumed" Ayers was "rehabilitated." Perhaps so, at least to the extent that instead of engaging in overt terrorist activities, he simply teaches the radical liberal agenda to his students as a professor of education at the University of Illinois in Chicago. This is a man who's teaching the teachers of your children.
Barack Obama has responded about Bill Ayers, "He's just a guy who lives in my neighborhood." But their relationship is much deeper than that, as pointed out recently by Anderson Cooper, among others.
Obama and Ayers worked together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, where Ayers wrote the grant proposal that won $49.2 million over five years for public school reform. They served together on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty, philanthropic foundation.
Michelle Obama and Ayers' wife, fellow terrorist Bernadine Dohrn formed a friendship when they worked together at the same Chicago law firm. That's the same law firm where Barack met Michelle when she was assigned to be his mentor for a summer internship. It may well be that the relationship between their wives forms the link that connects Barack Obama and William Ayers. And Barack Obama's political career was launched in the living room of Bill Ayers and his convicted terrorist wife, Bernadette Dohrn. This is NOT just "some guy in my neighborhood."
Bernadine Dohrn was, along with Ayers, a leader of the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground. She signed their "Declaration of a State of War" in 1970 that formally declared "war" on the U.S. Government. And she has the distinction of having been listed #2 on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List for her role in the Weather Underground bombings.
Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online explores the Obama-Ayers connection, and finds them crossing paths far more often than Barack Obama would like you to believe.
Why is the Obama/Ayers relationship relevant?
Thomas Sowell astutely points out the difference that nuance can make, in his article titled "The Real Obama" (below). Choosing the right word to convey your intended meaning is an art that unfortunately is not well-practiced in most circles today.
When Obama critics use the word "association," they surely intend to convey a closer relationship than "mere" association.
They are trying to warn American voters that Barack Obama, this man who would be our next President has formed close, long-standing alliances that would surely make him ineligible for the Top Secret security clearance required even for members of "The President's Own" Marine Band. He would not be qualified to guard the President as a member of the Secret Service, nor would he qualify to be an agent for the FBI or CIA. Yet many Americans think he qualifies to BE the President.
POTUS needs no security clearance
Unbelievably, the President of the United States is not required to undergo the background investigation necessary for a security clearance. Yet he is privy to our nation's most sensitive classified information.
Why doesn't the President have a security clearance?
If Presidential candidates were required to undergo the rigorous background investigation necessary for a security clearance for White House access, there would be the potential for abuse of power by those charged with the investigation and clearance process. It is possible that an incumbent administration, or individuals involved at various steps in the process, could deliberately ensure that the candidate from the opposing party would not receive the required security clearance.
American voters are the "check and balance"
So the responsibility for the "check and balance" built into the system to eliminate the need for a security clearance for a Presidential candidate was entrusted to the American voters. The founding fathers trusted us, that's you and me, to conduct a thorough vetting process of all the candidates before nominating a Presidential candidate. They trusted that American voters would be so involved in the process, and so careful to make sure that only someone who was truly qualified had a possibility of being elected President, that there would be no necessity for a security clearance for our President.
The Role of the Press
And they counted on the free press in our society to assist voters with that vetting process. Unfortunately, what we are faced with today is not the free press envisioned by the founding fathers, one whose responsibility was making sure the American public had true facts in front of them.
What masquerades as our free press today is an industry that has grown more interested in its bottom line than in carrying out the mission entrusted to it.
With the advent of 24-hour news channels and the internet, and the revenues they generate, media outlets are scrambling for the attention of the largest audience. And they know human nature well enough to know that scandal sells.
So they stretch the truth till it's unrecognizable, by using those nuances Mr. Sowell writes about. They choose a word whose meaning is actually stronger than the accurate word, because it'll sell more papers, or attract more listeners to the 5:00 or 6:00 or 10:00 news. It's all about market share, and that makes it all about drama. The more dramatic the headline or "teaser," the more audience they can attract.
Today's mainstream media would be a serious disappointment to our founding fathers, as it is to most of us. We believe today's "news" organizations are letting down the American people, who have been taught to rely on them for the facts. Too much of what is "reported" today is not fact, but conjecture or opinion. And voters become easily confused by the blurry line between reporters and commentators.
Rather than uphold their ethical responsibility to report the facts so that voters can make an informed decision, various media outlets are trying to persuade the voters to favor their candidate of choice. We have pointed out many times that you should not be able to tell the reporter's personal political leanings by the content of his or her story. A reporter should be apolitical at work.
But we're afraid that many of today's media members must have skipped those ethics lectures in their journalism classes. Unless they are printing or broadcasting something clearly labeled as "Opinion - Editorial," their own personal political philosophies should not be apparent.
Before you dismiss that and shrug "So what?", let us ask you to consider this question:If John McCain had a 13-year relationship
with a White Knight of the Ku Klux Klan,
would Obama or the media let him off the hook with
"He's just a guy in my neighborhood"?
Responsibility of Voters
We fear the founding fathers would be sorely disappointed in today's voters as well, to whom they entrusted enormous responsibility. Those men who shaped this nation trusted voters to take that responsibility seriously, to ferret out the truth from the inevitable puffing that comes with political campaigning. That right to select our leaders is one of the primary things that sets this nation apart.
And today's voters are letting down the founding fathers along with the rest of us. Far too many voters today choose their candidates on the basis of nothing more than campaign rhetoric. They're either to lazy or too disinterested to do their own research.
Many believe anything they hear on TV or read, regardless of the source. Some even choose their candidate because "he's cute." And while they play the race card every time someone criticizes their candidate, the Obama campaign is counting on large numbers of voters to choose their candidate simply because of the color of his skin. And some will. Just as some will vote against him simply because of the color of his skin.
Our greatest responsibility as American citizens is to exercise our right to vote in a responsible manner, after having thoroughly examined the individual candidates and their records, and searched for the truth despite the campaign rhetoric. What is the best indicator of future behavior? Past behavior.
Be the voter envisioned by our founding fathers. Take seriously your responsibility to go further than campaign rhetoric, oratory, or "he's cute."
Since the media is not doing its job, you will have to do it for yourself. Ferret out the truth about these candidates, and look at their past actions (not their current words) to predict their future actions.
YOU are responsible for electing America's leaders. Exercise that right responsibly.
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For an excellent postscript to this article, see The American Spectator.
Who is the real Obama?
by Thomas Sowell
Critics of Sen. Barack Obama make a strategic mistake when they talk about his "past associations." That just gives his many defenders in the media an opportunity to counterattack against "guilt by association."
We all have associations, whether at the office, in our neighborhood or in various recreational activities. Most of us neither know nor care what our associates believe or say about politics.
Associations are very different from alliances. Allies are not just people who happen to be where you are or to be doing the same things you do. You choose allies deliberately for a reason. The kind of allies you choose says something about you.The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger,
William Ayers and Antoin Rezko
are not just people who happened to be at the same place
at the same time as Barack Obama.
They are people with whom he chose to ally himself
for years, and with some of whom
serious money changed hands.Some gave political support
, and some gave financial support
, to Mr. Obama's election campaigns, and Mr. Obama in turn contributed either his own money or the taxpayers' money
to some of them. That is a familiar political alliance - but an alliance is not just an "association" from being at the same place at the same time.
Mr. Obama could have allied himself with all sorts of other people. But, time and again, he allied himself with people who openly expressed their hatred of America. No amount of flags on his campaign platforms this election year can change that.
Unfortunately, all that most people know about Barack Obama is his own rhetoric and that of his critics. Moreover, some of his more irresponsible critics have made wild accusations - that he is not an American citizen or that he is a Muslim, for example.
All that such false charges do is discredit Mr. Obama's critics in general. Fortunately, there is a documented, factual account of what Barack Obama has actually been doing over the years, as distinguished from what he has been saying during this election campaign, in a new best-selling book.
That book is titled "The Case Against Barack Obama" by David Freddoso. He starts off in the introduction by repudiating those critics of Mr. Obama who "have been content merely to slander him - to claim falsely that he refuses to salute the U.S. flag or was sworn into office on a Koran, or that he was born in a foreign country."
This is a serious book with 35 pages of documentation in the back to support the things said in the main text. In other words, if you don't believe what the author says, he lets you know where you can go check it out.
Barack Obama's being the first serious black candidate for president of the United States is what most people consider remarkable but how he got there is at least equally surprising.
The story of Mr. Obama's political career is not pretty. He won his first political victory by being the only candidate on the ballot - after hiring someone skilled at disqualifying the signers of opposing candidates' petitions, on whatever technicality he could devise.
Despite his words today about "change" and "cleaning up the mess in Washington," Mr. Obama was not on the side of reformers trying to change the status quo of corrupt, machine politics in Chicago and clean up the mess there. Mr. Obama came out in favor of the Daley machine and against reform candidates.
Sen. Barack Obama is running on an image directly the opposite of what he has been doing for two decades. His escapes from his past have been as remarkable as the great escapes of Houdini.
Why much of the public and the media have been so mesmerized by the words and the image of Mr. Obama, and so little interested in learning about the factual reality, was perhaps best explained by an official of the Democratic Party: "People don't come to Obama for what he's done (that would be difficult - he hasn't 'done' anything); they come because of what they hope he can be."
David Freddoso's book should be read by those people who want to know the facts. But neither this book nor anything else is likely to change the minds of Mr. Obama's true believers, who have made their decision and don't want to be confused by the facts.
Thomas Sowell is a nationally syndicated columnist. You can read his columns at www.Townhall.com.