Monday, May 21, 2012
Lowest Common Denominator Is The Goal of Government!
Irony of ironies - Russia tells Iran do not trust Obama. NATO Summit wrap up! (See 1 below.)
Who will continue to foot the bill after the music stops or will the music ever stop? (See 2 below.)
A book suggestion for those who want to understand issues involving Christianity and Islam. This well-written book is particularly apt for readers lacking an extensive background in Islam. (See 3 below.)
Could November Election results divide us even further? (See 4 below.)
The nastiness and lying has just begun and it will worsen. Are voters likely to be turned off more than already (See 5 below.)
What elections ultimately reveal is that politicians bring their appeal down to the lowest common denominator but then that is what government always does and is about. That is the best way to get the most numbers under government domination. Rather than seek to elevate, government seeks to expand and in doing so it generally destroys or lowers whatever it touches. Stop and think what government has done to education, to health care, to energy independence, to welfare and human degradation. Sad. Government is best at destruction as evidenced by our having the best military in the world. Discipline and a patriotic desire to serve buttressed by excellent training and weaponry is the end product.
Former New York Times writer bashed by his old employer for bashing Obama and alleging Rev. Wright has been silenced. Perhaps after three years of Obama, the Wright connection takes on more significance? (See 6 below.)
Sent to me by one of my sons-in-law. Very much on point and a worthy read. (See 7 below.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1)Leadership window dressing at G8 and NATO summits On the return flight to Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov filled in the space left by his Prime Minister Dmitri Medvadev’s silence at Camp David Saturday, May 20 with a large dose of skepticism on Iran. Contradicting President Barack Obama’s statement that diplomacy was preferable to military action,
Ryabkov said that the G8 leaders’ readiness to tap into emergency oil stockpiles quickly this summer “is one of the many various signals coming from various sources that the military option (on Iran) is considered as realistic and possible.” He added: “We are receiving signals, both through public and intelligence channels, that this option is now being reviewed in some capitals as more applicable in this situation,’ said the Russian official.
His words to reporters were in fact a Russian signal to Tehran not to trust American diplomacy and concessions because the US and its allies were at the same time preparing for war. As for the NATO weekend summit in Chicago, the decisions taken under Barack Obama’s leadership appear even less feasible. NATO issued a strong statement of support for the Eurozone.
However, none of the leaders present came with remedies for pulling the continent out of its existential economic crisis. Sunday, May 20, a former Greek finance minister warned that kicking Greece out would “open the gates of hell for Europe,” while British economists warned the UK economy “would never recover” if the euro collapsed.
The decision to withdraw all alliance troops from Afghanistan by the year 2014 is technically unfeasible so long as Pakistan refuses to allow them to cross through its territory and depart from its Indian Ocean and Arab Sea ports.
2)NATO summit: Who will foot the bill for long-term Afghanistan security?
By Howard LaFranchi
A war-weary US faces off with wary NATO allies in Chicago about money and support for Afghanistan after US combat troops withdraw in 2014. Don't expect any "Mission Accomplished" speeches As NATO nations meet in Chicago, one question tops the agenda: What happens in Afghanistan when US combat troops leave? To be sure, some troops from NATO countries, led by the United States, will likely stay behind after 2014 — both to train Afghans and act as a hedge against the Taliban's return. The summit will try to iron out some of those details.
But perhaps even more crucial — certainly for Afghanistan itself — is the question of who will foot the bill for Afghans to protect themselves. Afghanistan does not have remotely enough money to defend itself. Left alone, it could afford to pay about 30,000 soldiers and police officers. Currently, with international aid, it has more than 300,000 — a number that some experts say is too low. As a result, much of the Chicago summit will be a passing of the hat for Afghanistan.
With NATO countries war-weary and economically strapped, the commitments may not exactly fill that cup to overflowing. It points to a NATO role in Afghanistan that will continue for years after the end of the international combat mission in 2014, but at a much-reduced and still uncertain level. And it suggests that for all the heady words spoken by NATO leaders, funding and troop pledges for an event still two years away are likely to remain vague. The two-day meeting "will be something of a tin-cup exercise and should give us some idea of what the [NATO] coalition countries' post-2014 commitments to Afghanistan will look like," says Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
In a clear reflection of this reduced commitment to Afghanistan, the gathering is expected to endorse the scaling back of the Afghan National Security Forces. Army and national police forces once envisioned to hover around 350,000 personnel for years after NATO's departure are now seen as gradually scaling back to something over 200,000 by 2018. "The idea is to gradually reduce the size of the Afghan forces to make them more affordable," says James Dobbins, a former US Afghanistan envoy and now director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corp. in Arlington, Va. US SHARE: ABOUT $2 BILLION PER YEAR Pre-summit discussions among NATO countries resulted in a consensus that foresees the US picking up "the largest part of the cost," Ambassador Dobbins says, with other countries making up the rest.
That US share is expected to be about $2 billion a year, with other countries making up the difference of an annual bill of about $4 billion. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has indicated that he doesn't think the $4 billion will be enough. During the recent surge, the US was spending about $100 billion a year to maintain its force of 100,000 troops. Dobbins says he expects the pledges at Chicago to remain general, in part because countries are reluctant to make specific funding commitments for what is still a few years off. Moreover, NATO nations are concerned that promised gains in Afghanistan have not panned out. "The thinking was that the US surge would kick the stuffing out of the Taliban, they would thus be on the road to defeat, and we'd be handing off a much simpler job," says Stephen Biddle, senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. "Instead, in 2015 we'll be handing off a stalemate and a war that in fact is not going to be ending anytime soon." The reluctance to pledge long-term commitments to Afghanistan extends to the US as well.
Some members of Congress are already warning that there is likely to be a dwindling appetite for picking up a $2 billion annual check for the Afghan security forces after 2014 — even as the White House counters that the price tag is a small fraction of the $88 billion the Pentagon expects to spend in Afghanistan in 2013. Yet even if NATO countries stick to vague commitments, which will be enough to satisfy the modest goal the US has set for Chicago, regional experts say, the US wants to make a decade-long commitment to troop levels and funding in Afghanistan, and it wants to make sure it is not left on its own. "What [the US wants] is for NATO to endorse that" general commitment, says David Pollock, a former State Department planning staff official now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. But with national budgets tight and with "people convinced that Afghanistan's long-term success is a long shot," he says that "at best [the US] will get a statement of long-term goals — without any long-term commitments." 'WE'LL BE HANDING OFF A STALEMATE' President Obama wanted to signal this long-term commitment by signing the US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) in Kabul, Afghanistan, this month. "That was definitely a setup for the NATO summit, to underline the message that 'the US has done its part, so now you, too, should stand up,' "
But some analysts doubt that the agreement, which is short on specific US commitments to Afghanistan, will have any impact on the summit. "The US having failed to sign the SPA by Chicago would have been seriously problematic, but the converse doesn't hold, largely because it commits people to so little," Mr. Biddle says. What could come from Chicago is a concrete decision formally to shift NATO's mission from combat to training ahead of schedule — in 2013. That transition has already been taking place, Biddle notes, but formalizing it and suggesting that the conditions exist to speed it up could create the perception that NATO is in the mopping-up phase, placating voters and giving NATO members political cover to stay involved a little longer. "The beauty of changing the mission is that it leaves the political top cover for the allies to stay," Biddle says. NO AURA OF 'MISSION ACCOMPLISHED' Such a maneuver could become even more of an imperative after the election to the French presidency of Francois Hollande, who promised to have French troops out of Afghanistan by around the end of this year.
Whatever is agreed to in Chicago, no one expects the aura of "mission accomplished" that permeated Mr. Obama's brief mission to Kabul. Many of America's NATO partners want little to do with Afghanistan, but they also want to stay on the good side of the US and to keep the US committed to the alliance. The result is that coalition countries are likely to come through eventually with commitments, but they will be modest and have more to do with maintaining good relations with the US than with Afghanistan. NATO countries "will calculate that they can scale down, because they can stay on our good side practically without being" in Afghanistan, says the Washington Institute's Mr. Pollock. Vague talk of long-term commitments aside, he adds, "the drift is to quietly close this chapter in NATO's history."
3)The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude, and Freedom
By Mark Durie Durie, an Anglican pastor and an accomplished scholar of issues involving Christianity and Islam, has produced a reasoned, comprehensive, and well-written book that is particularly apt for readers lacking an extensive background in Islam.
His title comes from the three choices that the classic religious texts of Islam offer "peoples of the book": Convert to Islam, perish by the sword, or accept a second-class status, which modern analysts call dhimmitude. This last choice renders Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians subject to heavy social, legal, and economic discrimination enforced by the ruling Muslims and implying a status of perpetual humiliation.
The book's first half clarifies the theological underpinnings of dhimmitude. Durie debunks some myths about Islam, such as the idea that jihad does not mean war but rather spirituality. He discusses the concept of abrogation in the Qur'an, used by Muslim exegetes to explain away seeming contradictions within the text. Durie shows how the more conciliatory verses of the Qur'an, quoted by contemporary Islamic apologists to underscore the peaceful nature of Islam, were written earlier in Muhammad's career when his position was tenuous.
However, the more militant, less-forgiving phrases that tradition claims were revealed to Muhammad in the winter of his life abrogate many of these earlier peace-oriented verses. Durie gives many examples of dhimmitude, both historical and contemporary, which clarify the misery, fear, poverty, and degradation that framed the world of the pre-modern dhimmi. And what of dhimmitude today? Durie gives examples of Islamic-driven discriminatory practices in Muslim states. He also explores the self-inflicted behaviors in Western states, which mirror dhimmitude, that are driven by political correctness and fears of being labeled a bigot.
The Third Choice is a good first choice for those concerned about dhimmitude today.
4)How Another Electoral Split Decision Could Divide America
By Michael Medved
What if Obama won the popular vote, but not the Electoral College? It’s the nightmare scenario Team Romney might face if it doesn’t even try to woo Democratic strongholds. In looking ahead toward the November election, Republican strategists should take proactive steps to avoid a damaging, dangerous conclusion to the presidential race and to prevent the very real chance that Mitt Romney will win the Electoral College even while losing the popular vote badly to Barack Obama. The problem stems from the lopsided margins President Obama will surely pile up in a few uncontested states with big populations, including California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Romney, meanwhile, will likely prevail by comparable margins in only relatively small states: Utah, Idaho, the Dakotas, Alabama, and Alaska.
The big states that offer Romney his most plausible path to Electoral College victory probably will be won by much smaller margins, leaving Obama with a clear popular-vote advantage. All credible scenarios for a Romney victory with his “swing state” strategy begin with the presumptive GOP nominee holding all 22 states McCain carried, which are worth six additional electoral votes this time because of reapportionment. From this Republican base, Romney needs to implement a three/two/one trifecta: winning back the three traditionally Republican states (Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia) that Obama carried last time; seizing the two perennial battlegrounds that elected George W. Bush twice (Ohio and Florida); and then winning one more state—even a very small state—(New Hampshire is a likely candidate) to bring him the magic number of 270 electoral votes. In order to accomplish this feat, Romney needs to add as few as 650,000 votes to McCain’s totals in just six decisive states to get an Electoral College victory with the bare minimum of 270 votes, even though Obama won in 2008 with a near-landslide margin of nearly 9 million votes in the popular total—18 times Al Gore’s popular-vote advantage over Bush. A more likely outcome would give Romney wider margins of victory in swing states, while carrying a few other hotly contested states in the bargain.
For instance, he could prevail in both Nevada and Iowa (where he developed strong local support in the caucuses) for a total of 282 electoral votes to Obama’s 256. But even assuming that in each of the states mentioned above he won by 20,000 votes (bigger than Obama’s North Carolina margin last time, and large enough to avoid notorious squeakers like Florida’s 528-vote margin in 2000), Romney would still fall far short of a popular-vote victory. Even without adding to his own vote totals (despite population growth and expansion of the voter rolls), the president would still pile up an advantage of at least 7 million votes—substantially more than Bill Clinton’s comfortable margin of 5 million against George H.W. Bush in 1992. GOP partisans may blithely dismiss such calculations as meaningless since the Constitution unequivocally declares that the candidate with the most electoral votes becomes the next president, and the national tally of popular votes means nothing in the eyes of the law. But only once before did a sitting president lose the White House despite winning the popular vote, and Grover Cleveland’s 1888 margin over rival Benjamin Harrison was slender—48.6 percent to 47.9 percent. By contrast, Mr. Obama could prevail by as much as the 7 percent margin that gave him victory last time, while still losing the Electoral College to Romney. Grover Cleveland quietly vacated the White House without protest, confirming his reputation as a leader of unassailable integrity and profound humility. Would this happen in 2012?
Would President Obama attempt to calm angry spirits of his partisans on Nov. 7 were the results to show a “split decision?” It’s easy to imagine the national levels of rage, and impossible not to envision the president of the United States lending his voice to the angry chorus. In the five weeks before Dec. 17, the day when electors formally assemble in their respective state capitals, the president could push electors to shift support to him—even if they defied state legislation requiring winner-take-all distribution of electoral votes to the victor in that state and ignored laws of 24 states threatening punishment to “faithless electors.” The arguments would be fiery and, most likely, somewhat effective: insisting that basic fairness and democratic principle should trump any concern over the creaky, 19th-century relic known as the Electoral College. Obama might even consider the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Between 2007 and 2011, eight deeply partisan Democratic states (Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, and California) and the District of Columbia enacted legislation demanding that their electors cast their votes for the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of which candidate won the state.
This provision would only take effect if enough states agreed to this compact to represent a majority of all electoral votes; in an emergency, Democrats might attempt to coerce the five wavering states they need to take action in time to make a difference. Such action would raise a host of constitutional questions, but the Supreme Court might be unable to provide a final settlement of a disputed election as it did in 2000. For one thing, Obama has already made contempt for the court a hallmark of his presidency—as he did when he used the State of the Union address to openly condemn the Citizens United decision on corporate spending for political advertising. If the court strikes down key elements of the Affordable Care Act in June, the president will no doubt display additional outrage. For Republicans, the answer is easy: they must campaign vigorously in all large states, even those with no realistic possibility for statewide GOP victory. The element of race could give an especially dangerous edge to any protracted battle over a disputed election.
How many Republicans would lose heart at the prospect of evicting the nation’s first black president on a “technicality” after a clear majority of his fellow citizens expressed support for renewing his White House lease? What, then, could responsible politicians do to head off the most dire consequences of an inconclusive election? For Republicans, the answer is easy: they must campaign vigorously in all large states, even those with no realistic possibility for statewide GOP victory. Though the Romney campaign will naturally resist investing precious resources on lost-cause states with hugely expensive media markets (California, New York, and Illinois), they should overcome their reluctance. With no super-heated statewide races in these population centers and no visible Republican drive for statewide victory, conservative voters might feel a natural inclination to stay home—allowing Obama to run up his margins. If Romney can hold Obama’s margin to 55–45 in some of these heavily Democratic big states, he should win the popular vote; if, however, Democrats run up the score past 60–40, then Obama will win a popular-vote majority even if he loses the Electoral College. Of course, the ideal way to avoid a national crisis over a disputed electoral outcome would be for Romney to win an unexpectedly comfortable nationwide victory, sweeping to Reagan-like success even in states assumed to be solidly Democratic.
Failing that sort of unanticipated landslide, the best policy would be to compete fiercely in every major population center while recognizing that in this unique election, even popular votes that seem theoretically irrelevant may play a role in averting catastrophe.
5)Bain Capitalism 101
How does a rapacious company get repeat business? Watching Obama campaign ads or MSNBC, one could easily come to the conclusion that Bain Capital makes money by destroying the companies it owns. So for voters unsure about the business that Mitt Romney founded but still reluctant to trust the financial analysis offered by community organizers, some perspective might be helpful.
The basic Obama-liberal critique goes like this: Bain buys a company, loads it with debt and then sucks out cash before foisting the wounded business upon an unsuspecting buyer or a bankruptcy court. In the risk-taking world of private equity such a scenario can certainly happen, and it's true that Bain likes management fees and dividends as much as the next partnership. But then how to explain the history of Bain Capital? Mr. Romney started the business in 1984. The company has since bought and sold many businesses and executed thousands of financing transactions.
If Bain's standard operating procedure were to hand the next owner of one of its companies a ticking bankruptcy package, how is Bain still finding buyers nearly three decades later? And who would agree to lend money to a company backed by Bain? Wouldn't word have gotten around by, say, 1987 that Bain's portfolio companies weren't creditworthy? The liberal critique of private equity assumes that the financial industry is full of saps who have been eager to lose money across the table from Bain for 28 years. This is the same financial industry that the same liberal critics say is full of greedy schemers when it comes to padding their own pay or ripping off consumers.
But financiers can't be both knaves and diabolical geniuses at the same time. Learning about Bain successes like Staples or Gartner or Steel Dynamics confirms the logical conclusion that Bain had to be creating value along the way—for investors, for lenders, and that means for workers too.
6)Rev. Wright urged to stay silent until after 2012
By Byron York Chief Political Correspondent
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose "God damn America" sermon set off a firestorm during the 2008 campaign, agreed not to publish an account of the episode until after President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, according to an interview Wright conducted with the author of a new book on Obama. Wright said he made the decision at the urging of a friend and mentor, the prominent University of Chicago emeritus professor Martin Marty. In the interview, Wright told Ed Klein, author of The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, that he keeps a cardboard box of documents and notes detailing his experiences beginning in March 2008, when the controversy over his sermons began. "It's a painful box to look at," Wright said. "Marty had me over to his home for dinner in January ," Wright told Klein. "He said to me, 'Are you keeping notes on what's happened to you in this Obama campaign?' I said, 'Yes, sir, I am.' He said, 'Don't publish it until after the next election. They'll think it's sour grapes. Wait until after 2012."
It was at that point, Wright told Klein, that he decided to leave the box untouched, at least for now. "I don't look at the box," Wright said. "I haven't looked at it since I've been to Marty's house." "[Marty] said, 'Don't write that until after 2012," Wright said. "I said, 'I'm not.' [He said] 'Don't publish it.' [I said] 'I'm not.' I haven't even looked at it. I've just put all of it in one box and said I would get to it later." Wright's description of his discussion with Marty is not included in the Klein book. But Klein, through his public relations representative, made the audio of his entire two-hour-and-forty-five minute interview with Wright available to The Washington Examiner. Marty, reached by phone at his Chicago home Saturday, said Wright's recollections were accurate. Marty, a legend in the field of the history of religion, declined to make any other comment.*
At another point in the interview with Klein, Wright discussed the book he hoped to create. "What I was going to write on the Barack Obama thing was what it was like being the pastor of the one who ended up being the first African-descended president," Wright told Klein. "Before the media mess, what was it like? And Martin said if you're keeping notes about what happened, don't publish that until after 2012, regardless of how the election goes. So I really put it aside. And every time I look at that box, with all those things in it -- " When Klein asked more about the box, Wright revealed that in 2008 Eric Whitaker, a close friend of President Obama's, offered him a substantial sum of money to stay quiet about his relationship with Obama until after the '08 election. "What's in the box?" asked Klein. "An email offering me money not to preach at all between the explosion of the media the first week in March  and the November election," answered Wright. "An email from whom?" Klein asked. "One of his friends." "Whitaker?" asked Klein. "Yeah." "Eric?" "Yeah." According to Klein, Whitaker's offer, which was made through an intermediary at Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ, was $150,000. Wright declined.
Wright also said that some time after he received Whitaker's email, he spoke one-on-one with Obama, who did not offer him any money. "Was [Obama] aware that Eric Whitaker had offered you money?" asked Klein. "I don't know," said Wright. "I didn't mention that." "But he asked you not to appear at the NAACP or the -- " "National Press Club," added Wright. "Those two things?" "No -- and don't do any more public speaking." "What did you say to him?" "I said, how am I supposed to support my family?" Wright said. "I have a daughter and a granddaughter in college whose tuitions I pay. I've got to earn money. He said, 'Well, I really wish you wouldn't. The press is gonna eat you alive.'" "And that's all he said? Just that?" "Yes, that's all he said about my not speaking," Wright answered. "I really wish you wouldn't. It's gonna hurt the campaign if you do that." The Wright issue has resurfaced in the last week with the revelation that a pro-Mitt Romney SuperPAC considered making an ad that featured Wright. After a media firestorm, Romney and many Republicans condemned the idea. But Wright's specific allegation that Whitaker, a close friend of the president's, offered money in exchange for Wright's silence has received little scrutiny in the press.
The website BuzzFeed asked Wright, the Obama campaign, and the University of Chicago Hospitals, where Whitaker is a top executive, about the allegation. All declined to comment. *Update: On Sunday afternoon, responding to an email request for comment, Professor Marty sent this note about Rev. Wright's description of their talk: Yes, it was accurate. My wife and I had Jerry (a former student) and his wife (also a pastor) to dinner, and something like this came up in conversation. To answer your question: I was speaking only for myself in the give-and-take of friendly dinner conversation, and not as a representative of anyone or anything. I just thought he should move on; I think he was writing a memoir, and didn't think a "one-note" discussion of that topic would advance the plot.
7)The Potemkin President Disintegrates
By Bruce Thornton
After nearly four years in office, the tinsel and cardboard persona of Barack Obama is starting to fall apart. The political unifier who claimed, “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America––there is the United States of America,” has been exposed as one of the most divisive and partisan presidents of modern times.
The post-racial candidate who supposedly transcended our racial divisions has intensified them, whether by crudely racializing incidents like the Trayvon Martin shooting, or by allowing the Justice Department to facilitate race-industry attacks on state voter-identification laws, or by calling his own grandmother “a typical white person” for fearing black criminals. The decrier of how money has corrupted our politics has spent more time at the campaign contribution trough than he has governing. The “centrist” who set aside partisan politics for the greater national good has been exposed as a doctrinaire progressive adept at bare-knuckled class warfare.
And the “smartest guy ever to become President,” as one historically challenged historian put it, has turned out to be remarkably ignorant about a multitude of issues from the economy to foreign policy. Yet we didn’t need the past three years to learn the truth about Obama. The evidence was all there from the start. What allowed the fantasy Obama to gain the White House was the collusion of a corrupt mainstream media that failed to ask the hard questions or follow through on stories that had managed to get the nation’s attention.
The recent revelation from the Breitbart outfit that a publisher’s promotional booklet in 1991 bragged that Obama had been “born in Kenya” is just the latest evidence of how stubbornly and willfully indifferent the media have been to asking the penetrating questions of the sort that have dogged every president, especially those since Lyndon Johnson. The media’s dereliction of duty has allowed Obama to construct ad hoc identities that suit his political agenda and obscure his unsavory past and ideology.
For example, the continuing questions about Obama’s birth-country renewed by the Breitbart discovery are significant for exposing his long history of fabricating an identity to suit his careerist needs. The Hawaii prep-schooled, white-raised Barry Dunham discovered on getting to college that the exotic name Barack Hussein Obama, like the Indonesian childhood, was more useful for sending a diversity thrill down the leg of liberal white professors and admissions committees. So too with publishers, eager to display their multi-culti bona fides by promoting a Third-World author “born in Kenya,” who would chronicle his struggles against neo-colonial racism. Like many other hustlers “of color,”
Obama was no doubt happy to oblige and collude in the deception––until national political ambitions required that he tone down the “other” vibe, at least until after the election. So too with the unasked questions about Obama’s radical past. The media saw nothing to report about Obama starting his political career in the living room of ex-terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. You remember Ayers, the ex-Weatherman who bragged in his memoirs about getting away with his terrorist violence and being “free as a bird.” Obama assured us that Ayers was “just a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” despite serving on two foundation boards and appearing at conferences with him. As is the media’s wont, perfunctory “investigations” revealed that there was nothing to the stories, taking on faith Obama’s incredible assertion that there was no significance to the fact that one of America’s most notorious terrorists was a part of his life and political development.
The same media that ran with a hit-piece on George Bush supported only by an obviously fabricated letter, and that currently is intensely picking over the past history of Bain Capital, Romney’s treatment of the family dog, and his alleged high-school bullying––that same media four years ago didn’t think there was anything newsworthy in the Democratic candidate for president having ties with an unrepentant left-wing terrorist. Instead, they helped construct Obama’s new identity as a pragmatic centrist beyond partisan politics. Then there’s the Reverend Jeremiah “God-damn America” Wright, whom Obama credits with leading him to Christianity, who officiated at his wedding, who gave him the title of his second book, and whose church he attended for 20 years. When the videos of Wright’s sermons surfaced, Obama claimed that he was “shocked, shocked” by the rancid anti-Americanism and racism weekly preached by Wright, and the media accepted that preposterous rationalization. Even John McCain dutifully refused to demand an explanation, declaring Wright “off limits.” Indeed, any mention of Wright even today calls forth shrill charges of “race-baiting” and “racial politics” from the Democrats and MSNBC. The same media that in 2006 hyperventilated over Republican Senate candidate George Allen saying something that sort of sounded like what maybe was an obscure ethnic slur apparently didn’t see a story in the fact that Obama’s spiritual mentor hates white people and had glorified the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as “chickens coming home to roost.” Obama needed to be a mainstream post-racialist Christian for the election, so the media were happy to help him throw his one-time spiritual mentor under the bus.
Once again, none of those intrepid “watchdog” reporters from the legacy media were interested in digging for the true Obama, and in stripping away the carefully constructed façade to find out what, if anything, Obama sincerely believed in. All they needed to know was that he was going to “fundamentally transform America” into the progressive paradise. Like Lincoln Steffens on the train heading for the Soviet Union, the facts could be damned: the media had already seen the future, and it worked. And this is just the beginning of the Obama mysteries left unexamined by the media.
Why has the guy whose “I.Q. is off the charts,” as that same historian claimed, refused to release his college transcripts? Is there something in his course-work and grades that could explain the numerous historical gaffes, such as his assertion in the 2009 Cairo speech that Muslims were practicing tolerance in Cordoba centuries after they had been driven out by the Spaniards, or his repetition of internet apocryphal history, as when he claimed President Rutherford B. Hayes had dismissed the telephone’s future, when in fact he installed the first telephone in the White House? Is there some transcript evidence that illuminates the source of howlers such as “57” states or the “Austrian” language? Why have a media that reveled in documenting daily George Bush’s alleged stupidity maintained a studied indifference to this genius’s academic record?
Or why, in this age of meticulous intrusion into every last detail of a politician’s life and health, has Obama’s complete medical records been kept secret? What doesn’t he want us to see?
Why can’t we read the Columbia thesis of this universally acknowledged “brilliant” writer? Why did he receive “foreign student aid”?
Why, as Roger Kimball asks, are his Illinois state senate schedule and records, Selective Service registration, and law practice client list all sealed? Perhaps there are innocuous reasons for all this secrecy, but no other candidate for the most powerful political job in the world would ever be allowed to keep this information from the public.