It sounds like a David Letterman joke: Things are so bad for the McCain camp that they are citing the New York Times. Well, it’s true. The Times put out a minimalist account of Barack Obama’s ties to ACORN. The McCain camp put out this:
Just one week ago, the Obama campaign declared that ‘Barack Obama never organized with ACORN.’ According to today’s New York Times, that statement is simply not true. The paper quotes Barack Obama on his role as head of Project Vote and says the statement ‘linked his 1992 work to ACORN in a meeting with ACORN’s leaders in November.’ In fact, Barack Obama has a long relationship with ACORN, to which he and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers funneled nearly $200,000 from the Woods Foundation, and as recently as February of this year his campaign paid nearly $1 million to an ACORN affiliate for services related to get out the vote efforts. It is clear that Barack Obama is not being honest about his association with ACORN, just as he has not been honest about his association with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers. The media has an obligation to investigate the obvious contradictions between Barack Obama’s rhetoric and his record.
The issue of ACORN really is a microcosm of the race and its coverage. Obama’s past association with ACORN (like many other radical associations) was never fully vetted by the media or his opponents for two years. When McCain finally raises an aspect of his very recent past the Obama camp and the media scream, “Distraction!” Obama lies about the extent of that relationship. The McCain camp argues that it has become a credibility and judgment issue. The media refuses to question Obama directly or press for answers from the campaign.
Whether ACORN, or Tony Rezko, or Bill Ayers, the story is essentially the same. On one hand, it is a tale of media malpractice. On the other it is a baffling delinquency (or utter failure) first by Hillary Clinton and then by John McCain to make these defining issues before the economic meltdown swamped the news cycle. But ultimately it is an issue for voters and for Obama. Is he an opportunist or a closet Leftist? Is he a world class liar or simply a political opportunist, like many politicians? Does this suggest a disturbing failure of judgment in his choice of associates or an odd willingness to sublimate his own views in order to achieve larger goals?
Voters will have to decide for themselves. Ultimately they will need to make the judgment as to whether this is someone they ultimately trust in the most perilous of times. Granted the media and Obama’s opponents haven’t highlighted the dangers, but if voters do select Obama they won’t be able to later say that they weren’t warned.