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A Question of Barack Obama's Character

 
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 07:31 am
Quote:
A Question of Barack Obama's Character
By Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- Convicted felon Tony Rezko. Unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers. And the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It is hard to think of any presidential candidate before Barack Obama sporting associations with three more execrable characters. Yet let the McCain campaign raise the issue, and the mainstream media begin fulminating about dirty campaigning tinged with racism and McCarthyite guilt by association.

But associations are important. They provide a significant insight into character. They are particularly relevant in relation to a potential president as new, unknown, opaque and self-contained as Obama. With the economy overshadowing everything, it may be too late politically to be raising this issue. But that does not make it, as conventional wisdom holds, in any way illegitimate.

McCain has only himself to blame for the bad timing. He should months ago have begun challenging Obama's associations, before the economic meltdown allowed the Obama campaign (and the mainstream media, which is to say the same thing) to dismiss the charges as an act of desperation by the trailing candidate.

McCain had his chance back in April when the North Carolina Republican Party ran a gubernatorial campaign ad that included the linking of Obama with Jeremiah Wright. The ad was duly denounced by The New York Times and other deep thinkers as racist.

This was patently absurd. Racism is treating people differently and invidiously on the basis of race. Had any white presidential candidate had a close 20-year association with a white preacher overtly spreading race hatred from the pulpit, that candidate would have been not just universally denounced and deemed unfit for office but written out of polite society entirely.

Nonetheless, John McCain in his infinite wisdom, and with his overflowing sense of personal rectitude, joined the braying mob in denouncing that perfectly legitimate ad, saying it had no place in any campaign. In doing so, McCain unilaterally disarmed himself, rendering off-limits Obama's associations, an issue that even Hillary Clinton addressed more than once.

Obama's political career was launched with Ayers giving him a fundraiser in his living room. If a Republican candidate had launched his political career at the home of an abortion-clinic bomber -- even a repentant one -- he would not have been able to run for dogcatcher in Podunk. And Ayers shows no remorse. His only regret is that he "didn't do enough."

Why are these associations important? Do I think Obama is as corrupt as Rezko? Or shares Wright's angry racism or Ayers' unreconstructed 1960s radicalism?

No. But that does not make these associations irrelevant. They tell us two important things about Obama.

First, his cynicism and ruthlessness. He found these men useful, and use them he did. Would you attend a church whose pastor was spreading racial animosity from the pulpit? Would you even shake hands with -- let alone serve on two boards with -- an unrepentant terrorist, whether he bombed U.S. military installations or abortion clinics?

Most Americans would not, on the grounds of sheer indecency. Yet Obama did, if not out of conviction then out of expediency. He was a young man on the make, an unknown outsider working his way into Chicago politics. He played the game with everyone, without qualms and with obvious success.

Obama is not the first politician to rise through a corrupt political machine. But he is one of the rare few to then have the audacity to present himself as a transcendent healer, hovering above and bringing redemption to the "old politics" -- of the kind he had enthusiastically embraced in Chicago in the service of his own ambition.

Second, and even more disturbing than the cynicism, is the window these associations give on Obama's core beliefs. He doesn't share Rev. Wright's poisonous views of race nor Ayers' views, past and present, about the evil that is American society. But Obama clearly did not consider these views beyond the pale. For many years he swam easily and without protest in that fetid pond.

Until now. Today, on the threshold of the presidency, Obama concedes the odiousness of these associations, which is why he has severed them. But for the years in which he sat in Wright's pews and shared common purpose on boards with Ayers, Obama considered them a legitimate, indeed unremarkable, part of social discourse.

Do you? Obama is a man of first-class intellect and first-class temperament. But his character remains highly suspect. There is a difference between temperament and character. Equanimity is a virtue. Tolerance of the obscene is not.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 07:40 am
I suppose you will be disappointed by the results of americans electing Obama in November, so it goes.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:02 am
@McGentrix,
Do you have something to say, or are you channeling BBB?
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:06 am
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

Do you have something to say, or are you channeling BBB?


Really, that's all you have to add?

Go away gnat.
DrewDad
 
  0  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:09 am
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:
Go away gnat.

That's the best you've got? Gnat?

Silly old fossil.
0 Replies
 
Woiyo9
 
  0  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:45 am
"WAUKESHA, Wis., Oct. 9 -- There were shouts of "Nobama" and "Socialist" at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin.

"It is absolutely vital that you take it to Obama, that you hit him where it hits, there's a soft spot," said James T. Harris, a local radio talk show host, who urged the Republican nominee to use Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., and others against him.

"We have the good Reverend Wright. We have [the Rev. Michael L.] Pfleger. We have all of these shady characters that have surrounded him," Harris bellowed. "We have corruption here in Wisconsin and voting across the nation. I am begging you, sir. I am begging you. Take it to him."

The crowd of thousands roared its approval.

In recent days, a campaign that embraced the mantra of "Country First" but is flagging in the polls and scrambling for a way to close the gap as the nation's economy slides into shambles has found itself at the center of an outpouring of raw emotion rare in a presidential race.

"There's 26 days and people are looking at the very serious possibility that there's a chance that Obama might get in, and they don't like that," said Ian Eltrich, 28, as he filed out of the crowded sports complex.

"I'm mad! I'm really mad!" another man said, taking the microphone and refusing to surrender it easily, even when McCain tried to agree with him.

"I'm not done. Lemme finish, please," he said after a standing ovation. "When you have Obama, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and the rest of the hooligans up there going to run the country, we have to have our head examined.

"It's time that you two represent the rest of us. So go get 'em."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/09/AR2008100903169_pf.html

It comes down to 3 basic things. Judges, CIC and Character.

McCain is more likely to select middle to conservative judges, Obama will select liberal judges. McCain will be a good CIC. Obama will sell the US out. Character is obvious. Obama is associated with or has been associated with domestic terrorists, anti american/black liberation churches and supports organizations like ACORN.

Clearly, Obama is not the type of person I want as President.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:50 am
@McGentrix,
Yes, I agree, McCain/Palin is an embarassement to our nation.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 09:03 am
@Woiyo9,
Quote:
There were shouts of "Nobama" and "Socialist" at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin.

The sheer intelligence of those supporting McCain.

Who needs bread and circuses? Let's just have the McCain/Palin ticket go around the country for the next 4 years to keep people's minds off the economy.
Woiyo9
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 09:14 am
@parados,

Farrakhan on Obama: 'The Messiah is absolutely speaking'
'Barack has captured the youth,' will bring about 'universal change'
Posted: October 09, 2008
8:03 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, another powerful Chicago-based political figure associated with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and other long-time associates of Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama, is leaving no doubt about what he thinks of the leader in the campaign for the White House.

He says when Obama talks "the Messiah is absolutely speaking."

You can watch it for yourself on a newly posted YouTube video.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/?pageId=77539

Well, supporters come in all flavors.

Obama has the support of people life Farrakhan, Wright and Ayers.

I question Obama's character. You don't. You therefore, support the same people who support Obama.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 09:30 am
@Woiyo9,
You want Obama supporters to ignore Farrakhan on one thread and on this thread you are asking us to go view his statements.

Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 09:36 am
@Woiyo9,
Quote:
I question Obama's character. You don't. You therefore, support the same people who support Obama.


Does this mean you support the same people that support McCain?
Ku Klux Klan and Pro Nazi groups support McCain
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 11:17 am
@McGentrix,
What is your opinion on this matter, McG?
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 01:37 pm
@FreeDuck,
Obama's association reflect his judgement. I believe his associations were for political gain mostly and when they became political liabilities, he made the appearance of casting them aside. Should he become President, we will see him return to his church when he is done. We will see him resort to associating with many of the same characters he is now casting aside.

Unlike most other conservatives, I like Obama. My main disagreement with him is that he is a Democrat that has shown through past actions that he toes the party line. With a Democratic majority in both houses in Congress, we can't afford having a Democratic rubber stamp in the executive branch. Surely you have seen the results of these things during the first term and a half under Bush.

The associations the GOP are using against Obama are political chicanery. A tactic to try to sway any last minute undecideds towards the right. Who knows if it works or not. No one on A2K is undecided (and if they are, I'd rather they don't vote at this point.) to comment on this.

Thanks for asking FreeDuck.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 01:39 pm
@McGentrix,
As for the 'will it work' question, when you get dismal results on a Fox News poll of that topic, my guess is the answer is 'not so much.'

http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/10/fox_poll_ayers_not_hurting_oba.php

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 02:02 pm
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:

Obama's association reflect his judgement. I believe his associations were for political gain mostly and when they became political liabilities, he made the appearance of casting them aside. Should he become President, we will see him return to his church when he is done. We will see him resort to associating with many of the same characters he is now casting aside.

Hmmm, ok. But if the associations themselves were made for political gain, he wouldn't have a need to return to them later, right? My take is that each of these associations mean different things. On Ayers, I have no idea how much Obama knew about him when he met him, but my sense is that he worked with him because he is really good in his current field. On Wright, I think a combination of 1) the Rev. not really being racist at all 2) that GD America probably being one of if not the most inflammatory sermon that he probably gave and 3) Obama's need for a father figure make that relationship perfectly acceptable to me. I realize not everyone agrees, but I am associated with a lot of people who are both really good and really bad. We are contradictions. That is the only relationship that I would not be surprised to see resumed at a later date. Rezko is probably the worst of the three and on that I think I will just sign on with your opinion above. I think that one was probably all political advancement.

Quote:
Unlike most other conservatives, I like Obama. My main disagreement with him is that he is a Democrat that has shown through past actions that he toes the party line. With a Democratic majority in both houses in Congress, we can't afford having a Democratic rubber stamp in the executive branch. Surely you have seen the results of these things during the first term and a half under Bush.

I agree with this, though that won't stop me from voting for Obama. I don't want a rubber stamp congress. My hope is that the conservatives reclaim their party, modernize, reorganize, and claim a slim majority in the midterm elections.

Quote:

Thanks for asking FreeDuck.

Anytime. I am always curious what your thinking is. (and I don't mean that in a negative way)
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 03:03 pm
@FreeDuck,
One of the characteristics people brag about regarding Obama is that he is smart. Top of his class, constitutional law teacher, etc... But on Ayers, the common thought on the left is that Obama didn't know about his past? That would make Obama either dumb or naive and I doubt any liberal would say that about Obama, so it becomes an excuse. Not to lay this on you by any means, I have seen the same reasoning elsewhere. That doesn't fly with me. I see Obama as an idealist and Ayers is one as well. Two peas in a pod. Ayers seems to have been instrumental in starting Obama's political career. That would tell me that Ayers knew about Obama's ability's and possible future. Not that Ayers is a soothsayer or anything, but he was and is still influential in the far left political circus of Chicago. So, you have the old hippy idealist training the young Obama who appears to have much of the same idealism. There is more to the scene then the incidentals if you ask me. That leads me to believe that Ayers and Obama are not through with each other despite the public appearance of Obama shunning him now.

Wright, well enough has probably been said about him by gunga, et. al. I don't care to retype it all. But, Obama has had a very long association with him and I doubt it is gone forever. That wouldn't seem to be in Obama's character. It seems we agree that Obama will probably head back to that church after he is done running for/being President.

Rezko is just a sample of Chicago politics. Obama has now risen above that group it would seem. They are mid-level political cronies, but I would not be surprised to see some kick backs or rewards of some sort going back to him. They seemed to be friends so I can't really say.

Obama's biggest failure in my opinion, is his idealism in the face of reality. He is incapable of carrying through most of his promises because reality will intervene itself. That, and Congress... Even with a rubber stamp, it will be more of a one-way road leading towards the White House. I doubt many of Obama's social programs ever get implemented and I honestly fear the economic turmoil that results.

The National Intelligence Estimate has come out, but they are holding it's release until after the election. Some suggest that Obama's plans in Iraq will lead to chaos in the country if he carries through with his statements. Something else to think about.
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 03:47 pm
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:

One of the characteristics people brag about regarding Obama is that he is smart. Top of his class, constitutional law teacher, etc... But on Ayers, the common thought on the left is that Obama didn't know about his past? That would make Obama either dumb or naive and I doubt any liberal would say that about Obama, so it becomes an excuse.

Being smart and having knowledge are not exactly the same thing. I do not know how much he knew about Ayers when he met him. Remember that he is of a different generation than Ayers. I never heard of the Weather Underground until this election cycle (and some people think I am smart, though not all). And then, even if he knew about his past, he clearly also knows about his present. The fact of the matter is that Ayers does and has done excellent work in the field of education and he is clearly no longer involved with groups that plant bombs. I can see Obama making the judgment that whatever he was then, he clearly has something to very positive to contribute now.

Quote:
Not to lay this on you by any means, I have seen the same reasoning elsewhere. That doesn't fly with me. I see Obama as an idealist and Ayers is one as well. Two peas in a pod.

Yeeeeah, maybe they are both idealists but Obama clearly subscribes, and appears to always have subscribed, to nonviolence. I doubt he would have ever been involved in that kind of underground activity. In fact, his career is evidence of that. He is working within existing structures to do what he thinks needs to be done. That doesnt surprise me at all given my take on him.

Quote:
Ayers seems to have been instrumental in starting Obama's political career.

I dont know if this is really true. I mean, I know about the fundraising party, but I thought that had more to do with the woman whose seat he was trying to get (who he later ran against when she changed her mind) than him. Ayers was her connection. (Sorry, I am notoriously bad with names but I can look that up for you if you need it.)

Quote:
That would tell me that Ayers knew about Obama's ability's and possible future. Not that Ayers is a soothsayer or anything, but he was and is still influential in the far left political circus of Chicago. So, you have the old hippy idealist training the young Obama who appears to have much of the same idealism. There is more to the scene then the incidentals if you ask me. That leads me to believe that Ayers and Obama are not through with each other despite the public appearance of Obama shunning him now.

I just dont buy that Ayers trained Obama. We know who the people were that were most instrumental in Obamas advancement, and he isnt one of them. Even Rezko, I think, was more instrumental than Ayers. I mean, how much is Ayers even involved in politics other than through fundraising? (and I honestly dont know the answer to that question)

Quote:
Obama's biggest failure in my opinion, is his idealism in the face of reality. He is incapable of carrying through most of his promises because reality will intervene itself. That, and Congress... Even with a rubber stamp, it will be more of a one-way road leading towards the White House. I doubt many of Obama's social programs ever get implemented and I honestly fear the economic turmoil that results.

The National Intelligence Estimate has come out, but they are holding it's release until after the election. Some suggest that Obama's plans in Iraq will lead to chaos in the country if he carries through with his statements. Something else to think about.

Thats all fair enough. I disagree only with the idea that his idealism is persistent in the face of reality. I think that he is actually the opposite. I dont expect his plans to get implemented the way he proposes them (nor McCains for that matter) with the economy in the state that it is in. But I think when he does adjust for reality folks will call him a liar. Thats life, though. I think it is never really fair to not allow for the fact that what we are hearing are proposals, not promises. And that goes for both candidates. I think Obama is smart enough to make good choices and he has the communication skills to explain those choices to the American people. So far he has done that in his campaign and I sure hope it continues when/if he is president.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 04:01 pm
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:
Obama's biggest failure in my opinion, is his idealism in the face of reality. He is incapable of carrying through most of his promises because reality will intervene itself. That, and Congress... Even with a rubber stamp, it will be more of a one-way road leading towards the White House. I doubt many of Obama's social programs ever get implemented and I honestly fear the economic turmoil that results.

OK. I disagree; my opinion is that Obama is actually a realist, one of the few who is more focused on what will work than what is ideologically correct, but I can see that you might disagree. But why not just say that instead of all the Ayers, Wright, Rezko stuff. Keating makes Rezko look like a small time pick-pocket, but I'm willing to say Keating was just "poor judgement" on McCain's fault. The Ayers thing has been done over and over in the press. Will no amount of digging put that to bed for you? Wright is a pastor and pastors say what they think God tells them to say. 98% of what he says is what you will hear on any given Sunday anywhere in the US. My pastor has a much worse hit rate. I hope you don't demand we quit, because we will ignore you just like we do him on his more flaky days. Is this all McCain's got? Don't we have a lot more to discuss? Two wars, economic meltdown, aging infrastructure, Russians in Georgia, enrichment in Iran, etc?

McG, I seek out and read your posts. I value your opinions although I rarely agree. Why are you mired in this stuff?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 04:16 pm
@FreeDuck,
Really agree with FreeDuck's responses.

What I'll add is that I couldn't be happier that McCain is choosing to pounce on Ayers of all people. Obama did have an actual relationship with Wright. The Ayers connection is really tenuous. The much-ballyhooed fundraising party was really small change. (And no, it wasn't "instrumental." It was at his house -- it could have been at any number of Hyde Park liberal's houses. If not him, someone else.) They were both on a board together. That, as far as I know (off the top of my head, prove me wrong) is it. There just isn't a relationship there.
Woiyo9
 
  0  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 06:04 am
@sozobe,
Obama has "associations" with the likes of Ayers, Rev. Wright, Black Liberation Theology among others in his questionable past.

He needs to address them.

Barack Obama's first vocational choice was to help people in a poor African-American community. Later, he joined a church founded on black liberation theology. This combination could result in an Obama presidency that embodies something new in American history -- a Neoliberal Theocracy.

When we in the West hear the word theocracy, we think of mullahs, fatwas, and human pronouncements issued with the presumptuous authority of divine edicts. But not all theocracies are so dictatorially dogmatic. They range from the theocratic-lite nature of the United Kingdom's monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, to the industrial-strength theocracy of Iran where the two top offices, Supreme Leader and head of the Guardian Council, are reserved for Shiite clergy. A new, softer-and-gentler American theocracy may be in our future.

What does "Neoliberal Theocracy" mean?

In a Neoliberal Theocracy the principles of political liberalism that guide decisions of statecraft are aligned with beliefs thought to constitute a moral theology. In other words, the federal government, particularly the Executive Branch, acts in accordance with a defined, theological belief system.

Neoliberal is to liberal as neoconservative is to conservative. It represents the evolution of thinking that occurs when a stable ideological platform (contemporary political liberalism) is applied to new circumstances (Barack Obama's deeply held theological belief system).
The social gospel of an Obama presidency could be traced back to the race-based class dialectic of the black liberation theology movement. That movement emerged as the theological wing of the broader Black Power movement of the late 1960's - early 1970's. Among a constellation of groups and personalities representing Black Power were: the 1968 Olympic Black Power salute; the Black Panthers; Malcolm X; Bobby Seale; the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee ("snick"), etc.

Black liberation theology forms the core identity of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (UCC) - Obama's home church for two decades. Today, that congregation espouses a Black Value System. It reflects the movement's class dialectic that remains unabashedly race-based. The black values concept was first introduced by one of the founders of the black liberation theology movement, Dr. James H. Cone, in Black Theology & Black Power (© 1969, Harper & Row, 1969, p.127).

"To carve out a Black Theology based on black oppression will of necessity mean the creation of new values independent of and alien to the values of white society...They will be alien because white American ‘Christian' values are based on racism."

http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/03/a_president_obamas_neoliberal_1.html
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