Commentary Magazine


Posts For: October 9, 2008

No Connection?

It seems bizarre for Barack Obama to deny his attachment to ACORN. Here he and his colleagues express pride in Project Vote, which was an ACORN activity. He may not like the fact that the latter has proven to be a fraud-drenched, corrupt outfit, but to deny his own involvement for a period of time is ludicrous. Was he then (and as a board member of the Woods Fund which provided $200K in funding to ACORN) simply unaware of its behavior? If so, he seems, once again, to be the least informed man in Chicago.

It seems bizarre for Barack Obama to deny his attachment to ACORN. Here he and his colleagues express pride in Project Vote, which was an ACORN activity. He may not like the fact that the latter has proven to be a fraud-drenched, corrupt outfit, but to deny his own involvement for a period of time is ludicrous. Was he then (and as a board member of the Woods Fund which provided $200K in funding to ACORN) simply unaware of its behavior? If so, he seems, once again, to be the least informed man in Chicago.

Read Less

SA Mess

The leadership situation in South Africa is a mess: President Thabo Mbeki has been forced from office and Jacob Zuma, a rabble-rouser who has been accused of, inter alia, rape and corruption is poised to take over now that he has become the leader of the African National Congress. But many of Mbeki’s supporters object, and they are now talking of forming their own party.

I have no idea if this will happen, but if it does and the new party is credible, that is the best possible outcome. As long as the ANC remains as dominant as it is today there are not enough checks and balances within the otherwise democratic political system. All disputes are settled within the ANC ranks and discipline is enforced on dissenters. Thus Mbeki faced precious little pressure to reverse two of his more hare-brained policies—refusing to force Robert Mugabe out of power in Zimbabwe and refusing to take seriously the threat from AIDS. If a credible new party with a large black membership emerges, that will make South Africa—already one of the freest countries on the continent—a more durable and vigorous democracy.

The leadership situation in South Africa is a mess: President Thabo Mbeki has been forced from office and Jacob Zuma, a rabble-rouser who has been accused of, inter alia, rape and corruption is poised to take over now that he has become the leader of the African National Congress. But many of Mbeki’s supporters object, and they are now talking of forming their own party.

I have no idea if this will happen, but if it does and the new party is credible, that is the best possible outcome. As long as the ANC remains as dominant as it is today there are not enough checks and balances within the otherwise democratic political system. All disputes are settled within the ANC ranks and discipline is enforced on dissenters. Thus Mbeki faced precious little pressure to reverse two of his more hare-brained policies—refusing to force Robert Mugabe out of power in Zimbabwe and refusing to take seriously the threat from AIDS. If a credible new party with a large black membership emerges, that will make South Africa—already one of the freest countries on the continent—a more durable and vigorous democracy.

Read Less

Flotsam and Jetsam

Sarah Palin is being unleashed on talk radio to discuss ACORN, Ayers, Infants Born Alive. If she had done this right after the Republican Convention it might have gotten quite a bit of play as the MSM gnashed its collective teeth over being ignored while she made “news” elsewhere.

Perhaps the problem with the MSM is not bias but ignorance. They simply don’t know much about the candidate they are supporting . .  . er . . . reporting on.

Andy McCarthy suggests that the real lesson we should draw from the Ayers-Obama connection is in plain sight: Ayers educational philosophy. “He is a proud leftist revolutionary.  His driving idea, in this phase of his career, is that the classroom is the frontline of the revolution.  And when he was given the opportunity of a lifetime, a $150 million fund to be doled out as seed money for the kind of programs he thought would advance the cause, the guy brought in to run it was Barack Obama — with whom he worked closely on ‘change’ in the schools for five years.”

The giveaway is that in all his talk about education, Obama never talks about his years of work with Ayers or the Annenberg Challenge. Someone should ask why.

Will McCain keep his word at the final debate and go after Obama’s strange connections?

Rashid Khalidi makes Fox News. Just another school parent, according to Obama.

The media is surprised that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd get star billing in a new ad about the financial meltdown. Well, if Saturday Night Live can figure it out, the MSM should not be far behind.

Sarah Palin is being unleashed on talk radio to discuss ACORN, Ayers, Infants Born Alive. If she had done this right after the Republican Convention it might have gotten quite a bit of play as the MSM gnashed its collective teeth over being ignored while she made “news” elsewhere.

Perhaps the problem with the MSM is not bias but ignorance. They simply don’t know much about the candidate they are supporting . .  . er . . . reporting on.

Andy McCarthy suggests that the real lesson we should draw from the Ayers-Obama connection is in plain sight: Ayers educational philosophy. “He is a proud leftist revolutionary.  His driving idea, in this phase of his career, is that the classroom is the frontline of the revolution.  And when he was given the opportunity of a lifetime, a $150 million fund to be doled out as seed money for the kind of programs he thought would advance the cause, the guy brought in to run it was Barack Obama — with whom he worked closely on ‘change’ in the schools for five years.”

The giveaway is that in all his talk about education, Obama never talks about his years of work with Ayers or the Annenberg Challenge. Someone should ask why.

Will McCain keep his word at the final debate and go after Obama’s strange connections?

Rashid Khalidi makes Fox News. Just another school parent, according to Obama.

The media is surprised that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd get star billing in a new ad about the financial meltdown. Well, if Saturday Night Live can figure it out, the MSM should not be far behind.

Read Less

The NIE on Afghanistan

Once upon a time, official Washington might have been shocked to pick up the New York Times and read on its front page a description of “a nearly completed version” of a National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan. But such leaks are now de rigueur. The NIE-the capstone product of the Intelligence Community-has become about as secret as the average think-tank report, which it increasingly resembles. Many think tanks have a partisan slant, and so does the intelligence community, which seems to be campaigning against the current administration.

The leaked description of the new NIE, which suggests that the situation in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating, strikes me as essentially accurate-certainly more accurate than the infamous NIE which claimed that Iran had stopped its nuclear-weapons program. But its leak ahead of the election provides fodder-as was probably intended by the leakers (“more
than a half dozen current government officials who had read its conclusions”)-for those who echo Barack Obama’s charge that Bush and McCain have focused too much attention on Iraq at the expense of Afghanistan, supposedly the “central front” in the war on terrorism.

The New York Times account makes the linkage quite explicit: “Its conclusions represent a harsh verdict on decision-making in the Bush administration, which in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks made Afghanistan the central focus of a global campaign against terrorism.”

Of course, if Bush had pulled out of Iraq and concentrated all of our resources on Afghanistan, as suggested by Obama and his numerous  supporters within the intelligence community, the intelligence community would now be issuing indictments of the administration for letting Iraq become a terrorist hellhole. The only constant would be the intelligence community’s tendency to lay the blame for whatever went wrong exclusively on policymakers-not on its own, highly flawed and inadequate products.

The MSM and liberal politicos who now applaud every burp emanating from the intelligence community should keep in mind how quickly roles can be reversed: If things go badly in an Obama administration, those who now marvel at the integrity and daring of spooks who leak will no doubt be in high dudgeon about self-interested derriere-coverers who compromise the nation’s security in order to score their own political points.

This should not be a partisan issue: Any administration, Democratic or Republican, needs an intelligence community it can rely on. No president can repose much trust in judgments which are crafted for newspaper front pages.

Once upon a time, official Washington might have been shocked to pick up the New York Times and read on its front page a description of “a nearly completed version” of a National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan. But such leaks are now de rigueur. The NIE-the capstone product of the Intelligence Community-has become about as secret as the average think-tank report, which it increasingly resembles. Many think tanks have a partisan slant, and so does the intelligence community, which seems to be campaigning against the current administration.

The leaked description of the new NIE, which suggests that the situation in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating, strikes me as essentially accurate-certainly more accurate than the infamous NIE which claimed that Iran had stopped its nuclear-weapons program. But its leak ahead of the election provides fodder-as was probably intended by the leakers (“more
than a half dozen current government officials who had read its conclusions”)-for those who echo Barack Obama’s charge that Bush and McCain have focused too much attention on Iraq at the expense of Afghanistan, supposedly the “central front” in the war on terrorism.

The New York Times account makes the linkage quite explicit: “Its conclusions represent a harsh verdict on decision-making in the Bush administration, which in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks made Afghanistan the central focus of a global campaign against terrorism.”

Of course, if Bush had pulled out of Iraq and concentrated all of our resources on Afghanistan, as suggested by Obama and his numerous  supporters within the intelligence community, the intelligence community would now be issuing indictments of the administration for letting Iraq become a terrorist hellhole. The only constant would be the intelligence community’s tendency to lay the blame for whatever went wrong exclusively on policymakers-not on its own, highly flawed and inadequate products.

The MSM and liberal politicos who now applaud every burp emanating from the intelligence community should keep in mind how quickly roles can be reversed: If things go badly in an Obama administration, those who now marvel at the integrity and daring of spooks who leak will no doubt be in high dudgeon about self-interested derriere-coverers who compromise the nation’s security in order to score their own political points.

This should not be a partisan issue: Any administration, Democratic or Republican, needs an intelligence community it can rely on. No president can repose much trust in judgments which are crafted for newspaper front pages.

Read Less

From Small Acorns . . .

The Bill Ayers connection continues to percolate. John McCain expresses the view that it is about truthfulness. He has  a new ad. And so does the RNC. An Ayers victim pops up to tell his story.

Meanwhile, considerable evidence surfaces that as late as 1996 Barack Obama was a member of the New Party, a local Chicago branch of the Socialist Party. Relevant documents have been scrubbed from the New Party website but not before they were snatched by the Internet Archive Association. It seems someone really doesn’t want anyone poking around in Obama’s past. (If you spot similarities to the fight for disclosure of the Annenberg Challenge documents you are not alone.)

And more comes out about ACORN’s massive voter fraud activities. The latter gets some attention from Rep. John Boehner and from McCain . Obama seems to deny involvement with ACORN but the facts are fairly clear: he worked as a trainer, served as a lawyer and sat on the Woods Fund which gave them nearly $200K in funding up through 2002. Oh, and his presidential campaign has paid them $800,000 in voter registration efforts.

The media yawns.  That’s expected but becoming increasingly hard to justify unless you beleive the mission of the media requires them to ignore any information harmful to Obama. Let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s say that McCain was the member of the John Birch Society up until 1996. Let’s say McCain worked for a group accused of diluting African America votes through vote fraud and sat on a board which doled out money to this group. But that’s not all: let’s say McCain attended a church where white separatism was preached. To top off our hypothetical, McCain started his career in the home of an abortion clinic bomber, sat on his foundation, appeared on panels with him and favorably reviewed his book.

Would any of that be a “distraction“? It seems clear that any one of those facts, let alone all of them, would be disqualifying. And if McCain in the Right Wing Nut hypothetical refused to talk about it, or lied about whether his bomber friend was “just” a guy in the neighborhood, would the media say “Oh gosh, too late in the campaign to discuss that“?

What is becoming inescapable is that Obama until his U.S. Senate run openly identified with and closely associated himself with a cast of far Left characters. Maybe he didn’t buy their philosophy or he was never around when they were spouting hatred of the United States. Maybe he grew out of them and now views them as fringe characters. We don’t know because he continues to deny that he was even part of this circle.

Some voters won’t care. Others will get nervous that he’s a closet radical. But the real concern for him and his supporters is that voters who matter in key swing states will get the sense that Obama has shown a peculiar tendency to associate with a bizarre crowd and now is lying. As Rudy Giuliani put it “It’s called judgment or lack thereof.” Whether ordinary voters finally get the sense that something is troubling in all this remains to be seen. But the danger is that at the very least, they might get the sense that he’s not being honest with them about who he is and what he believes, or at least believed until very recently.

The Bill Ayers connection continues to percolate. John McCain expresses the view that it is about truthfulness. He has  a new ad. And so does the RNC. An Ayers victim pops up to tell his story.

Meanwhile, considerable evidence surfaces that as late as 1996 Barack Obama was a member of the New Party, a local Chicago branch of the Socialist Party. Relevant documents have been scrubbed from the New Party website but not before they were snatched by the Internet Archive Association. It seems someone really doesn’t want anyone poking around in Obama’s past. (If you spot similarities to the fight for disclosure of the Annenberg Challenge documents you are not alone.)

And more comes out about ACORN’s massive voter fraud activities. The latter gets some attention from Rep. John Boehner and from McCain . Obama seems to deny involvement with ACORN but the facts are fairly clear: he worked as a trainer, served as a lawyer and sat on the Woods Fund which gave them nearly $200K in funding up through 2002. Oh, and his presidential campaign has paid them $800,000 in voter registration efforts.

The media yawns.  That’s expected but becoming increasingly hard to justify unless you beleive the mission of the media requires them to ignore any information harmful to Obama. Let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s say that McCain was the member of the John Birch Society up until 1996. Let’s say McCain worked for a group accused of diluting African America votes through vote fraud and sat on a board which doled out money to this group. But that’s not all: let’s say McCain attended a church where white separatism was preached. To top off our hypothetical, McCain started his career in the home of an abortion clinic bomber, sat on his foundation, appeared on panels with him and favorably reviewed his book.

Would any of that be a “distraction“? It seems clear that any one of those facts, let alone all of them, would be disqualifying. And if McCain in the Right Wing Nut hypothetical refused to talk about it, or lied about whether his bomber friend was “just” a guy in the neighborhood, would the media say “Oh gosh, too late in the campaign to discuss that“?

What is becoming inescapable is that Obama until his U.S. Senate run openly identified with and closely associated himself with a cast of far Left characters. Maybe he didn’t buy their philosophy or he was never around when they were spouting hatred of the United States. Maybe he grew out of them and now views them as fringe characters. We don’t know because he continues to deny that he was even part of this circle.

Some voters won’t care. Others will get nervous that he’s a closet radical. But the real concern for him and his supporters is that voters who matter in key swing states will get the sense that Obama has shown a peculiar tendency to associate with a bizarre crowd and now is lying. As Rudy Giuliani put it “It’s called judgment or lack thereof.” Whether ordinary voters finally get the sense that something is troubling in all this remains to be seen. But the danger is that at the very least, they might get the sense that he’s not being honest with them about who he is and what he believes, or at least believed until very recently.

Read Less

Yom Kippur

CONTENTIONS is observing the Day of Atonement. We’ll be back after sundown.

CONTENTIONS is observing the Day of Atonement. We’ll be back after sundown.

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.