View Full Version : Obama's Associations Revisited...

10-13-2008, 07:49 AM
Since the Obama apologists have tried repeatedly to marginalize these associations at best, or at worst overshadow (i.e. deflect) them with allegations about McCain and Palin, it's not a bad idea to take a second look.

Notice how Krauth uses a scalpel here not a machete? He actually says some nice things about Obama, but levels the criticism where criticism is due. That's significantly different from the way 80% of the people here argue. Why not use that as a template for the ensuing debate that this article will undoubtedly spawn?


Character check for Obama? Examine his associations
A relevant, and justified, line of attack
By Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post Writers Group

Published on Monday, Oct 13, 2008
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 fund-raiser 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.

Krauthammer is a Washington Post columnist. He can be e-mailed at letters@charleskrauthammer.com (letters@charleskrauthammer.com).

10-13-2008, 10:36 AM
Sadly, character doesn't seem to have much merit in society today.

tony hipchest
10-13-2008, 02:57 PM
Do I think Obama is as corrupt as Rezko? Or shares Wright's angry racism or Ayers' unreconstructed 1960s radicalism?

and there we have it. "debate" over.

krauth offers up not too much save 2 opinions, 2 you obviously agree with. i simply dont. :hunch:

First, his cynicism and ruthlessness.- pure opinion followed by a bunch of reaches. i simply dont see it.

Second, and even more disturbing than the cynicism, is the window these associations give on Obama's core beliefs. how many of rev. do wrights sermons has krauth attended? so out of the 2000 or so obama allegedly attended, im supposed to believe everyone preached hate? a few soundbites aside, its not to far fetched to think obama learned a little about the bible, loving thy neighbor, giving to the community, and the overall philosophies and good deeds of Jesus Christ.

as far as krauth judging others character, perhaps he should note all the attributes that show obama has good character instead of make believing and nit picking on a few things he feels sho otherwise.

as far as your 80% comment (i guess you fancy yourself in the 20%) i find it a bit condescending and insulting to many members, and and attitude that may have contributed to recent flames and angst.

it seems youre saying for you +1 there are 8 others who havent found the right template to argue. well that is your template, not everybody elses.

mathematically, its like youre saying that for every one of "you" there are 4 other people who simply need to "buy in" and get in line.

thats the type of dictatorship i cant jump on board with. if it means getting my cyberbrow beaten then so be it.

i really dont think there is much to debate on obama's character. im just glad his camp isnt accusing mccain of associating and "palling around" with viet cong communists for 5 and a half years.

i think the way he has ran his campaign and debates speaks volumes of his character.

moving along. no debate here.

10-13-2008, 04:24 PM
So are you stating that no one on this board is toeing the party line?

Toning down the insults is fine and all, but that doesn't change the fact that there are many, many people on both sides of the aisle who can not and will not speak or think negatively about their candidate.

But Obama clearly did not consider these views beyond the pale. For many years he swam easily and without protest in that fetid pond.

Are we to ignore his associations just because they were in the past? Krauth makes a valid point. The associations helped him along in his career, and he severed ties when it was no longer expedient to his political ambitions to honor those ties. They are part of who he is...

And I absolutely consider myself part of the 20%. I've spoken highly of Obama on several occasions, and criticized McCain on others. I've CERTAINLY had my share of negative things to say about Palin. I think I've demonstrated as much balance as anyone posting on this board, while never hiding or denying my own bias.

I think Obama has to be held JUST AS ACCOUNTABLE for his past failings and bouts of poor judgment as McCain does. THAT is the only purpose of this thread and the ACORN thread...or are you suggesting that Obama is somehow now above reproach?

tony hipchest
10-13-2008, 04:44 PM
thanks for clarifying the 80% remark. you shoulda just said "toeing the party line in the first place, cause to me it seemed you were lumping all obama supporters in with all the uneducated pabst drinkers you feel are gonna win this election for him.

krauth does have a point. it is a point of fear and skeptisizm. im willing to give obama the benefit of the doubt.

im sure obamas character has been molded by many more than the 3 people in the article.

he seems like a very intelligent, well read, and grounded man.

why doesnt anyone speak of obamas mama or grandfather shaping his character?

and if you dont think obama has been held accountable for his associations you are wronk. i'd say half of america think he is either muslim or racist, and i'd say that many distrust him because of it.

these associations simply dont matter. its not like if he didnt have them he would be leading in the polls by 15-20 points.

the margin would be just as close with or w/o them. this election wouldnt be a landslide either way. its gonna be close.

beating "terrorist" and "hussein" to death isnt gonna change the way i vote. i find it petty.

(oh, and no. im not suggesting or stating anything you ask if im suggesting or stating- you musta missed my point :noidea:)

10-13-2008, 05:03 PM
The latest Ohio newspaper poll (conducted amongst readers of the 8 largest papers in the state) show McCain with a slight lead. Ohio is still a pivotal state. Will this be the first election that the President is elected without Ohio? Maybe.

And, yes, I do think that Obama outspending McCain on ads, especially misleading attack ads will sway undecided voters in his favor, especially uneducated and under-educated voters (who make up a big chunk of Ohio's democratic base). The ad campaign is relentless and ubiquitous. They are trying to scare the working poor/middle class into thinking McCain is going to steal their grocery money. Shameless.

And, I'm sorry, Obama's associations DO matter. It all comes back to character. McCain's associations matter to me. I don't like that he was Keating 5. I don't like what Gramm has stated recently. There are other connections that I'm not happy about. Obama's associations matter to me too. These are our presidential candidates, for Christ's sake! Their past associations matter a lot!

I'm relaxing my stance a tiny bit on completely conceding the election. But if it was held today Obama would win by 10 points.

tony hipchest
10-13-2008, 05:23 PM
im not happy about alot of things either. but simple science, my religious beliefs, and world history tell me we are all headed "to hell in a handbasket" (this term can be taken litterally or figuratively but should be recognized by both religious and those who are not).

with this being said, i choose not to live my life swamped in fear or skeptisizm. (how else could i have voted for bush in 04?)

some call this being naive, others call it having an "inner peace".

whatever, i dont care. if i was consumed with all the negativity that surrounds me i would never find a moment to enjoy the feeling of being truly happy.

the next president wont change that.

i get that you dont like the campaign obama is running in your state. but its a far cry from what is being run in other states. the whole world doesnt revolve around ohio. all politics are shameless.

shame on mccain and palin not even bothering to visit the home of the stealth and the raptor. their goal is to win the election, isnt it?

10-13-2008, 05:34 PM
I comment on what I observe, and leave the comments for the observations of others to those others. That's like saying that if the tree falls in my woods, it didn't REALLY fall because they aren't your woods. Obama lying in Ohio is okay because he's only lying in Ohio, and telling the truth in the other 49 (56?) states?

I don't live my life in fear. But I consider it a blessing that I am equipped with a skeptical and critical mind. I also work at it and read everything I can get my hands on (Jesus, Bill Clinton's "My Life" is next on my reading list). I derive enjoyment out of observing all the stuff around me and being able to formulate my own thoughts and opinions about that stuff. I'd NOT have a peaceful or happy life if I wasn't smart enough to truly think for myself.

(If we're going to get all Zen, let's really get Zen, baby!)