Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Local blogger's questions on Obama

I was perusing my Site Meter this morning and came across a new blog: Man of Depravity. It's a mix of politics and faith, which always attracts my attention.

But what really got my attention was today's post talking about negative campaigning, and asking specifically about Barack Obama's association with Bill Ayers. Tyler wrote:

Here are a couple of my questions on this story:

  • Why did McCain wait this long to push this story? Why didn’t Clinton push it?
  • If Ayers is truly a threat and makes Obama a dangerous candidate, how is he still a US citizen not in jail and also working as a professor at a state college?

(These questions aren’t to minimize the importance of the story. They aren’t even to say that I’m not troubled by any connection Obama might have with this man. I know my questions make me sound liberal…I’m just trying to read between the lines of why this is or isn’t a big deal. They are questions not statements.)

It was a good reminder to me that there are plenty of people out there who don't follow politics like I do, and they can be reached with the truth. I hope I was truthful (though I acknowledge relying on others to report truthfully) when I answered with the following:
Why did McCain wait? A great question. I don't fully understand that either, but I think part of it is the press corps' reluctance to dig into the story, so the facts are still coming out.

Why is Ayers not in jail? Because the federal investigation was botched and the case thrown out. In response, what did Ayers say about himself? "Guilty as hell. Free as a bird. America is a great country."

Why is he a professor at a state college? Have you been on the campus of a state college anytime in the last 30 years?

The red flag in this case is that this is one of several Obama associations that are questionable.

Yes, Obama was 8 years old when Ayers bombed the Capitol and planned (but failed) to detonate a nail-filled bomb at an Army base social.

But Obama was 34 years old when Obama launched his political career in a social gathering in Ayers' home. And he was 37 years old when Ayers and his wife said they didn't do enough bombing. And Obama's story keeps changing. I met him in his living room (would you host a political event in your living room with someone you didn't know?). I met him at a lunch meeting about school reform. He was just a guy who lived in my neighborhood.

Obama was 42 years old when Tony Rezko (who was on Obama's campaign finance committee and under federal investigation at the time) held a lavish fund raiser at the Rezko mansion for Obama. That was followed a year later by an agreement between Rezko's wife and the Obamas to purchase their current house at $1.65 million, which was $300,000 below market value. (Rezko has been convicted of extortion, bribery, money laundering and mail fraud; his sentencing has been postponed until -- surprise -- after the election.)

Obama was about 36 years old when he used his position on a charitable foundation to steer money to the Arab American Action Network, a group that holds the establishment of Israel as an illegitimate catastrophe and whose leader supports Palestinian terror attacks on Israeli military targets.

Obama was about 27 years old when (as he acknowledges in his book, Dreams From My Father) he heard controversial statements from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Wright's pulpit. He was 43 when he said he went to Wright's church "every Sunday." Twenty years later, he claims not to have heard such statements from Wright until they were brought to his attention by the press. And only then did he distance himself from Wright's church.

How do these associations reflect on Obama as president? There's no way to know that. But it's fair, I think, to ask whether Obama's choice of associates is a hint of the types of people and perspectives that will find their way into a presidential inner circle.

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