I just don’t get it.
The key selling points of Barack Obama’s campaign seem to be two things: his judgment, and his wanting to bring about a “new” form of politics to replace the old ways. And I just don’t see how he does that.
First up, his “judgment” seems to be based solely on his opposition to the Iraq War. He claims, correctly, that he is the only one of the three Senators running to have opposed the war from the beginning. As someone who disagrees with him on that position, that actually hurts him with me, but I’ll grant him points for consistency and say that it certainly wins him credibility with the anti-war crowd.
But how else has his judgment been demonstrated?
Certainly not in judging the character of those with whom he chooses to closely associate.
You want an example? I’m feeling generous. I’ll give you three.
For twenty years, he chose as his minister, personal advisor, confidante, and friend the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright routinely used the pulpit to espouse racial divisiveness and spout such paranoid, delusional theories as the US government was behind the AIDS virus and pretty much every other bad thing that happened to black Americans and around the world. It became his hallmark, but somehow Obama never heard the most inflammatory and crazy rantings. It wasn’t until the rest of the country got a good look at the man Obama had been closely associated with for decades that Obama removed him from an advisory position in his campaign, but refused to denounce his words, saying he simply couldnt — until he could.
Another long-time Obama Associate is Bill Ayers. Ayers is an absolutely unrepentant former American terrorist, who had the misfortune of having his hagiography published (complete with photo of him stomping on the American flag) in Chicago Magazine on September 11, 2001. Ayers was at least peripherally involved in several robberies and bombings right through the year 1981 at least before deciding to “work within the system” and go into academia. Ayers and Obama served together on several projects, including Ayers serving as Obama’s boss at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and serving together on the Woods Foundation Board of Directors. Also, Ayers and his wife — fellow unrepentant terrorist Bernardine Dohrn — held at least one fundraiser for Obama in their home, and are longtime supporters.
Finally (at least for now), Obama found a very useful friendship with Chicago businessman Tony Rezko. Rezko was one of Obama’s earliest backers, helping raise money for him in his very first races. Rezko quickly won Obama’s trust and was named to his finance committee. Rezko not only provided literally millions of dollars for Obama’s rise, he also helped him personally — Obama got a job with Rezko’s law firm, and Rezko helped Obama buy his home in a slightly complicated real-estate deal that ended up with Rezko and Obama becoming owners of two adjacent properties. Coincidentally, I’m sure, Obama supported and helped bring about numerous projects in the Illinois State Senate that greatly benefited Mr. Rezko financially.
Mr. Rezko is currently on trial for influence peddling in a scandal that has already brought down Illinois’ governor and numerous others of his beneficiaries.
Wright, Ayers, Rezko. These three men were not casual acquaintances of Obama’s. These were not people with whom he had occasional brushes with. These were three men who played very key roles in Obama’s life, who helped him at crucial junctures of his political career. And all three have done things that are (or, at least ought to be) thoroughly repugnant to a large number of Americans, and are utterly unrepentant about them.
This is how Barack Obama has chosen to demonstrate his judgment over the years.
Maybe there’s some magic Venn diagram where one draws circles representing the influences of Wright, Ayers, and Rezko, and the point where all three overlap is a mystical place where the negative aspects of all three somehow cancel each other out and you’re left with only their good aspects — Wright’s passion, Ayers’ eagerness to challenge the status quo, and Rezko’s organizational genius, I guess — and that is where Barack Obama stands. After all, as many noted, Jesus himself chose to associate with the dregs of society — prostitutes, beggars, a tax collector, the diseased, and whatnot.
But (despite the protestations of many) Obama isn’t the Son of God. I think another type of aphorism applies here:
“Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.”