I get the feeling that today is not going to be a happy one at Club Obama.
First up, some evil folks managed to dig up video of him discussing how his experiences working alongside unrepentant former terrorist William Ayers qualify him for higher office (thanks, Lorie!). In recent times, he’s tried to downplay and minimize his role in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge program (he only headed it up while it threw over $100 million down the toilet in a failed attempt to improve Chicago’s schools), but back in 2000, he was quite proud of his work there.
Next, we have even more bad news in the financial industry. Two big investment firms are in huge trouble, and the aftershocks of that could echo for years. It’s all tied in to the subprime mortgage mess, they say, and the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
You’re going to hear all sorts of vague imprecations of blame heaped on President Bush, and they’ll try to slop that over on to John McCain. But how accurate is that, really?
Well, back in July John McCain was warning about problems at Fannie and Freddie, and leaning on the Bush administration for briefings on the situation.
So, what about the Obama camp? Were they caught by surprise by events?
One wouldn’t think so. After all, two of his top economic advisers have some pretty darned good connections with those two.
Franklin Raines worked at Fannie Mae for years, rising to vice-chairman until Bill Clinton tapped him to head up the Office of Management and Budget. Raines returned to head Fannie Mae in 1999, staying until he “retired” in 2004 amid allegations of accounting irregularities and the revelation that he had received a sweetheart mortgage deal from Countrywide.
Jim Johnson preceded Raines at Fannie Mae, where he had run the company as chairman from 1991 to 1998. Johnson served on Barack Obama’s vice-presidential search committee until it was revealed that he, too, had gotten sweetheart loans from Countrywide.
Today, it seems that many people see hypocrisy as the greatest sin. They gleefully play the “gotcha” game when they think they might find the slightest deviance from a figure’s public utterances and their personal conduct. It’s a stupid game, but it’s the one we have today.
But to the ancient Greeks, the greatest sin was hubris. They saw overwhelming pride and arrogance and presumptuousness as the most offensive and dangerous of beliefs.
Recently, Charles Krauthammer (the man who coined the phrases “Bush Derangement Syndrome” and “the Bush doctrine,” among other accomplishments) tracked the rise and fall of Barack Obama through five speeches he gave, discussing how at each point that one speech signified a major change in Obama’a attitudes and fortunes.
In the third speech, given at his moment of triumph on the night of the final Democratic primary, when he had indisputably won the presidential nomination, he announced that his victory would be remembered as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
At that point, it was clear to a lot of people that he himself had fallen for the whole “Obamessiah” complex.
That is the same pride that is threatening to bring hm low. In 2000, he was enormously proud of his work at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Less than two years later, it dissolved after having pissed away over $100 million with nothing to show towards its stated goals of improving Chicago’s schools. He was tremendously proud of his 20-year history as a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ, until the years of race-baiting and demagoguery of its head, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, came out.
He is tremendously proud of his board of economic advisers — at least he was, at last check. Now that the whole nation can see just who those advisers are, and just what they’ve done, how long will Misters Johnson and Raines remain affiliated with Obama?
And at what point will people start to question the one thing Obama has always touted as his greatest strength — his judgment — in choosing men like this for such significant roles in his campaign?
As I said, this could be a very, very bad time for Barack Obama. I almost feel sorry for him, but then I remember — he brought all this on himself.