Obama's mantra, "Yes, We Can" is inspiring and heartwarming, but in the end is an empty phrase that will founder once the Republican political attack machine spins up. I realize that most Obamatons are so wedded to his vision of hope that any effort to point out the cracks in the foundation of the new Democratic Savior are met with fury and disdain.
If you think for a minute that the Republican party -- who used Willie Horton on Michael Dukakis to devastating effect, who portrayed triple amputee and veteran Max Cleland as a bosom buddy of Osama Bin Laden, and convinced many voters that decorated combat veteran John Kerry was a fraud -- will give Obama a pass come the fall then you are in serious denial.
But, unlike the attacks on Dukakis, Cleland, and Kerry, the ammunition that Obama has provided to his political foes is significant and deadly. But try telling that to Obama disciples. You get name calling and character assassination (just read the reaction to this piece). At the same time, Obama is treated with a reverence and fawning that I have never seen in my life for a political figure. What in the world was Chris Matthews talking about with his tingling leg adulation heaped on Obama:
During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's primary elections, after the speech of Barack Obama aired, Chris Matthews breathlessly expressed his admiration... and extreme excitement for Barack Obama by saying "I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often."
So, while Democrats engage in self-censorship and promote the worst kind of affirmative action pandering in promoting the myth of Obama, the Republicans are keeping mum and, like Brer Rabbit, begging not to be tossed into the briar patch and face the fearsome Obama. (Want to bet how many accusations of racism I will get for referring to Brer Rabbit?)
Obama's untested achilles heel is his relationship with three men -- Tony Rezko, William Ayers, and Rashid Khalidi. These names will become shorthand for Corruption, Terrorism, and the Destruction of Israel. Oh yes, I know. I am going to extremes. Well, let me lay out the facts and explain how the Republicans will likely use these relationships to bludgeon Obama's presidential aspirations into dust. My challenge to you Obama supporters is to explain to me and other readers of this blog how Obama will defuse these issues.
The Tony Rezko Problem:
There is a growing body of material in the blogosphere on this issue (looseheadprop has an excellent overview), but the mainstream media has paid little attention and most Americans know nothing of Rezko's bribery and corruption trial. Not yet. But that will change starting February 25, when Rezko goes on trial in Chicago. The best Obama can hope for is an acquittal or mistrial. He cannot deny his longstanding friendship with Rezko. A man who has played a significant role in raising funds for his political campaigns and a man who helped Obama and his wife get the home of their dreams.
But it is highly unlikely that Rezko gets off. He just got nailed for lying to the judge about his alleged poverty and was promptly arrested for hiding millions of dollars overseas. And he is up against Patrick Fitzgerald. Pat Fitzgerald does not go to court unprepared and does not have a record of losing, particularly in Illinois. Remember, this is the guy who nailed Scooter Libby and the former Governor of Illinois. The boy plays to win.
When Rezko is convicted and, the details of the corruption and bribery charges are fleshed out and the public learns that Senator Obama got some of that dirty cash, do you really believe the public won't care that the Democratic nominee for President is involved with a convicted felon? Hell, this is a political attack ad that writes itself.
The William Ayers Problem:
William Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist, though he is normally described as a distinguished education professor. One does not necessarily rule out the other, but he himself acknowledges planting bombs in U.S. Federal buildings. There is now undeniable proof of a longstanding relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers. We are not talking about two guys who just happened to bump into one another on the street. We are not talking about a secret admirer (Ayers) who quietly sent $200 to an aspiring politician.
No, we are talking about William Ayers hosting a fundraiser for Barack Obama and actively working with him to secure Barack's first electoral victory in Illinois. But wait, there is more. Barack and Ayers also served on the board of the Woods Fund. And they worked together to give money to some other folks, including a group with ties to the PLO.
What makes Ayers so toxic is his own written record equating U.S. Marines with terrorists. Look at the beating that John Kerry took for tossing his medals over the White House fence. Ayers did not toss medals, he threw bombs. Real ones. Bombs that exploded.
Do you think that Republicans will ignore Obama's ties to Ayers? The two were serving on the same board in 2002. We are talking less than six years ago and the record will come out showing some questionable grants by these two characters. William Ayers, in the age of terrorism, will be Barack Obama's Willie Horton.
The Problem of Rashid Khalidi:
So far, the press has paid little attention to Obama's ties to Rashid Khalidi, Middle East Professor at Columbia University and PLO activist. An article in The Jewish Week from last year offers up this tantalizing tidbit:
Khalidi, now the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, and head of that school's Middle East Institute, declined to comment on Abunimah's recollections. But in an interview in Tuesday's Daily News, he said he hosted the fundraiser because he and Obama were friends while the two lived in Chicago. "He never came to us and said he would do anything in terms of Palestinians," Khalidi told the paper.
Nevertheless, one Hyde Park source close to Obama, speaking only on condition of anonymity, recalled, "He often expressed general sympathy for the Palestinians -- though I don't recall him ever saying anything publicly."
Obama has made his pilgrimage to AIPAC (funny, but in his campaign against special interests and their grip on Washington he gives AIPAC a pass) and worked to position himself as a friend of Israel. But the relationship with Khalidi has not yet received the white hot media attention that tends to occur during the dog days of July and August, when the press needs a story. And guess who helped broker the appearance of Iran's Ahmadinejad last summer at Columbia University? Professor Khalidi. The New York Times had his reaction to the event:
Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies and director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia, said, "The tone from the host of an event was uncivil and uncalled for.
"The president of the university had every right to state his differences," he said. "That was more than acceptable. But I believe it was embarrassing to the university, frankly, that they should decide to invite him and then treat him in this manner."
Now, which presidential candidate is calling for talks with Iran? You do not have to be Karl Rove or Lee Atwater to figure out how to tie Obama with Ahmadinejad using Obama's friendship with Khalidi.
I don't know what else is out there on Obama. Unfortunately, the worshipful, servile attitude of many Democrats and media personalities so far has hindered a tough look at Obama's friends and associates and his judgment. But that will come. What should concern Democrats keen on taking back the White House is whether or not these issues will be fully vetted before Obama is installed as the candidate. My guess is no.
And what do Republicans think? I only have anecdotal evidence. I asked an old friend, who served in law enforcement (I'll leave the particular agency out of it) for more than thirty years, about the William Ayers era. There are a lot of Federal agents who believe that Ayers is a terrorist who got away with his crimes and still owes a debt to society. My friend wrote the following to me today:
I think many of my friends believe Obama is beatable; however they concede that Clinton can win. Therefore, the thinking goes, WE hope Obama gets the Democratic nod and THEN flood the gates with information later.
Feelings of hope and inspiration about Obama will evaporate when the commercials tying him to a convicted felon slumlord, an unrepentant terrorist who hates the troops, and a Professor of Middle Eastern Studies who has been a PLO official spouting anti-Israeli rhetoric. Oh, YES THEY WILL! YES, THEY WILL.