Commentary Magazine


Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

David Freddoso, who knows more about Barack Obama than not just anyone but everyone combined in the MSM, remarks that is it not just the fact of Obama’s associations with a cast of bizarre characters:

McCain must also point to Obama’s failures of leadership in connection with these associations, for this is far more important than the associations themselves.  .  .

As chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an educational reform project that Ayers founded, Obama presided over a waste of $160 million in donors’ money. The project, under his leadership, failed to improve student achievement in the 210 Chicago schools where it operated, according to the Annenberg Challenge’s final report. And to this day, that project is Obama’s only significant executive experience.

Obama’s legislative leadership was similar, a case study in wasting other people’s money. In Springfield, Obama wrote letters from his public position to get Rezko $14 million for his slum-development enterprise. Obama co-sponsored several pieces of housing legislation favorable to Rezko and other slum-developers, giving them hundreds of millions in subsidies and other tax and regulatory advantages. They in turn funneled money to Obama’s campaigns and then let their buildings deteriorate, even turning off the heat on their tenants during the winter. By his own account, Obama never bothered to follow up on how the money was spent, but the record shows that he worked in every legislative session to provide more for his developer friends.

He then finds yet another conflict of interest involving a law client:

The client, Robert Blackwell, had just paid Obama $112,000 in his capacity as a private attorney for one of his corporations. State Senator Obama and [aide Dan] Shomon then helped Blackwell obtain $320,000 in state tourism grants to hold ping-pong tournaments.

It is not as if self-dealing, executive skills, and integrity aren’t issues in a presidential campaign. So it remains baffling why these were not front and center from the start of the general election. Perhaps the McCain camp underestimated the media’s unwillingness to bring some of this up on their own. Maybe the McCain team imagined it would do this all in the fall and unfortunately got swamped by the economic meltdown. Or they could have be lulled by their own success this summer in narrowing the gap in the polls through the “celebrity” attacks.

Still it remains a bit of a mystery and, in the end comes, down to McCain himself. One suspects he never had his heart in the effort that was needed: a systematic and sustained effort to reveal Obama as a Leftist and a craven product of machine politics.

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