Barack Obama’s quest for the presidency is remarkable in many ways, not least of which is the utter lack of close scrutiny by the dominant liberal media of Obama’s history. What little we know of it is a history that belies nearly everything those who see him as their political messiah believe to be true: that he is a reformer, an agent of “change,” a “new style” of “post-partisan” politician, that his relationships with (to put it mildly) unsavory characters like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers are irrelevant outliers, and that Obama is a moderate who works well with Republicans and Democrats alike to get important things done.
In his new book, The Case Against Barack Obama, (published by Regnery and available here at Amazon.com) political reporter David Freddoso lays out in great detail (averaging 65 footnotes per chapter) the many substantial flaws in Obama, showing him to be anything but a new sort of politician and anything but a force for positive change or real change of any kind, other than change to benefit Obama and advance the liberal agenda. Obama is, as Fred Thompson said, George McGovern without the credentials.
Although Freddoso gladly admits his conservative background, The Case Against Barack Obama is neither an outpouring of conservative political polemics nor a manifesto by someone who dislikes Obama simply because Obama is the most liberal candidate we have seen for the presidency in many years. Freddoso doesn’t focus either on the low-hanging fruit of Obama’s being the least experienced, least qualified candidate for the presidency in generations.
Instead, the book examines the candidate’s record, particularly during his time in the Illinois State Senate (because he has so little U.S. Senate record to discuss.) Freddoso shows that Obama the reformer is an imposter and that Obama’s history should give any thinking voter pause before blindly supporting a man whose rhetoric is completely divergent from his record.
It is a record of supporting corruption, associating with criminals and terrorists, taking stances even to the left of our most liberal politicians (including blocking a bill in Illinois to ban a particular sort of infanticide) all from positions of power obtained without ever winning a truly contested election.
Despite his unimpressive record, Obama’s history is of “a shrewd, Machine-aligned politician from Chicago — a charismatic, smooth-talking politician whose words make people faint” — and his lack of experience. “Obama appears to be escaping the appropriate examination that any man (or woman) who covets the Oval Office deserves.”
David Freddoso is exactly right when he says “that is why this book needed to be written … because the idea of Barack Obama as a reformer is a great lie.”
The Case Against Barack Obama is a solid first step toward remedying that problem by doing what major American newspapers should have been doing already but haven’t been because they have become more partisan than the professionals.
Hoping for “Change”
Much of Obama’s appeal to young voters and the furthest-left members of the Democratic Party are his dual mantras of “hope” and “change”. However, were those supporters to examine Obama’s record they would realize that the closest Obama will bring them to “change” is their fervent hope for it.
Obama’s political career began in the truest Chicago style: He won his first election by challenging enough of his opponents’ petition signatures to have the opposition candidates removed from the contest, including knocking the then-current incumbent, Alice Palmer (more on her later) off the ballot. Obama then ran unopposed to win his state senate seat in 1996. This is not to say that there were not some real problems with the petitions. But there were also signatures invalidated because someone used a married name instead of a maiden name and because people printed their names instead of writing them in script.
One of Obama’s would-be opponents said in a Chicago Tribune interview: “Why say you’re for a new tomorrow, then do old-style Chicago politics to remove legitimate candidates? He talks about honor and democracy, but what honor is there in getting rid of every other candidate so you can run scot-free? Why not let the people decide?”
Once in the Senate, Obama used his power and popularity not to support change and reform but rather to support the re-election of John Stroger, one of Cook County’s most corrupt figures, even when Stroger “faced a strong and credible challenge in the 2006 primary election from a reform-minded liberal Democrat” who was gaining support from Democrats and Republicans alike. Then, Obama supported Stroger’s equally corrupt but clearly unqualified son to fill John Stroger’s position when the elder Stroger became too sick to run, with Obama calling the son “a good progressive Democrat”.
The Strogers had control of hiring for the Cook County government (the county in which Chicago is located) and used that control for the benefit of themselves and Mafia-like unions. A judge, tasked with investigating the Strogers, received hundreds of complaints of illegal hiring practices, including hiring and firing people based on their contributions to the Strogers’ political campaigns. Of the $2.4 million raised by Stroger in political contributions, more than half came from county contractors and Cook County employees. None of this was a secret in Chicago when Barack Obama supported the candidates of corruption rather than a candidate of reform, even when the challenger was a liberal Democrat with strong bipartisan support.
Welcome to the Machine
In The Case Against Barack Obama, David Freddoso digs deeply into Obama’s political history — his mentors, his supporters, and even his remarkable good luck (with both his Democratic and Republican opponents in 2004 dropping out of the race because of embarrassing revelations from their divorces). It is a background that makes it clear that Obama’s opposition to change and reform, despite his rhetoric supporting such lofty-sounding but undefined ideas, was critical to his political success. It also makes clear that nobody should be surprised that he was recently rated the most liberal member of the United States Senate.
For example, Obama’s relationship with Illinois State Sen. Emil Jones reads like a 1950s Chicago politics dime novel. Sen. Jones is a powerful man in the state legislature and he made it his business to give Obama committee assignments and the task of managing certain legislation, especially legislation related to unions that “would cement key constituencies for his Senate primary.”
According to Freddoso, “Obama’s colleagues at times expressed bitterness about Jones’s habit of taking popular, high-profile, must-pass bills away from their writers and champions in the late stages and giving them to Obama to manage in the Senate.”
While giving Obama the light lifting of carrying non-controversial bills to bolster Obama’s résumé,
“Another way Jones could help Obama in his U.S. Senate race was to give him a free pass on more controversial issues. He could remain uninvolved in nasty debates. He always had a habit of voting “present” instead of casting a real recorded vote, and he could now do it without even getting a dirty look. He voted that way about 130 times while serving in the state senate, and … he would sometimes absent himself from tough votes altogether.”
Since his election to the U.S. Senate, Freddoso notes Obama has “returned the favor” by requesting earmarks for Jones’s “pet projects” and refusing to encourage Jones to support anti-corruption legislation in Illinois.
Going back a few years earlier to Obama’s first election to the Illinois Senate, more history points to the shaping of Obama’s political mind. The seat he won had been held by Alice Palmer, a black Socialist who groomed Obama to be her successor when she ran for Congress. (When Palmer lost her primary fight against Jesse Jackson Jr., she reneged on her promise not to run against Obama, which is when Obama had enough of her petition signatures challenged to knock her off the ballot.)
According to Freddoso, “Obama had been so close to Palmer that … the Socialist newsletter New Ground misidentified him as her chief of staff.” This is the same Alice Palmer who, in 1986, attended the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and returned to the U.S. to extol the virtues of the USSR. “Clearly, she was leaving [Obama] with big shoes to fill.”
Obama’s relationship with a mentor who despised her own nation is the first of many such troubling associations during his adult life, but such influences began much earlier for young Obama.
“The Radical Influences”
In his book “Dreams From My Father,” Barack Obama discusses “a poet named Frank,” clearly an important influence on him well before his similar guidance from Alice Palmer. Frank, who David Freddoso’s research finds to be Frank Marshall Davis, “never admitted to being a member of the (Communist) Party during his lifetime. But there’s solid evidence he was” and that he worked on behalf of the Communist Party in the U.S.
With the Soviet Union now dead, Frank’s views on race are even more disturbing than his views on geopolitics. Obama quotes Frank in “Dreams” with some of the following jaw-dropping thoughts:
Speaking of Obama’s grandmother, whom Obama so famously threw under the bus as a “typical white person” during the 2008 campaign season: “She understands black people have a reason to hate.”
Speaking of going to college: “They’ll train you so good, you’ll start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh*t … Until you want to actually start running things, and then they’ll yank on your chain and let you know that you may be a well-trained, well-paid n——r, but you’re a n——r just the same.”
From a poem espousing Davis’s hatred for America: “Say, Uncle Sam, Are you sure you want me to have a gun?”
It is difficult to avoid wondering how much these ideas poisoned young Obama forever. Learning about Frank makes Obama’s association with people like Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers that much easier to understand and Obama’s claims that those men are now “not the men he knew” that much more difficult to believe.
Black Liberation Theology
We have all heard more than enough about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In “The Case Against Barack Obama,” David Freddoso points out that Obama could not possibly have misunderstood Wright’s position on issues of race in America, given that Obama heard similarly racist and anti-American, albeit less inflammatory, rhetoric from Wright from his earliest days attending Wright’s church. Furthermore, Obama was well aware that the Trinity United Church of Christ was based on “Black Liberation Theology”, a profoundly aggressive and racist vision of religion based in large part on the writings of Dr. James Cone.
Freddoso quotes extensively from Cone’s book. Here is a taste: “Whiteness is the symbol of the antiChrist. Whiteness characterizes the activity of deranged individuals intrigued by their own image of themselves and thus unable to see that they are what is wrong with the world. Black theology seeks to analyze the satanic nature of whiteness and by doing so, prepare all nonwhites for revolutionary action.”
Pastor Wright’s “US of KKKA” and “G-d D-mn America” are wholly consistent with Trinity’s stated mission to support Black Liberation Theology and in keeping with what Barack Obama must have known about the church even before attending his first sermon there. As Freddoso asks, “Would you join a church that proclaimed itself to be grounded in the writings of a racist?”
Terrorist “Is Not Man I Knew”?
Perhaps more frightening than being a faithful member of an explicitly racist church is taking campaign contributions from and becoming friends with William Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, unrepentant Communist terrorists with the blood of Americans on their hands.
Freddoso quotes from the testimony of Larry Grathwohl, who got close to the inner circle of Ayers terrorist group, the Weathermen. Speaking of a planned bombing of the Detroit Police Officers’ Association Building, “Bill said that we should plan our bombing to coincide with the time when there would be the most people in those buildings.” The police were alerted to the bomb (by Grathwohl) and found the unexploded bomb. It had not gone off because the fuse setup had been improperly designed. Otherwise, dozens of police officers would likely have been killed.
As for Dohrn, she “is probably most famous for her reaction to the Charles Manson murders”:
Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach! Wild!
Even on Sept. 11, 2001, Ayers blamed America. It is simply not possible that Bill Ayers’ evil was unknown to Obama during the years when they served together on boards and were “friendly.” The idea that Ayers is now “not the man I knew” is simply unbelievable and, like Obama’s association with the Rev. Wright and others whom Freddoso discusses, casts great doubt on Obama’s truthfulness and judgment even while Freddoso, unlike some more careless authors, explicitly recognizes that Obama is neither a Communist nor a terrorist, nor directly supportive of such things himself.
Why Should the Rapper Think Anything Else?
More recently, much to Obama’s embarrassment, the rapper Ludacris seems to believe that Obama is indeed the Black Theology messiah. (These lyrics follow a line mentioning that the rapper’s Bentley “got sex appeal”):
You can’t stop what’s bout to happen, we bout to make history
The first black President is destined and it’s meant to be
The threats ain’t fazing us, the nooses or the jokes
So get off your ass, black people, it’s time to get out and vote!
Paint the White House black and I’m sure that’s got ‘em terrified
McCain don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped …
Get out and vote or the end will be near
The world is ready for change because Obama is here!
While Obama’s campaign is not accepting this “endorsement,” this is the type of publicity that Obama most certainly doesn’t need. The explicitly racist overtones of the rap fits all too neatly in with Obama’s characterization of many mostly rural white Americans as “bitter” and “cling[ing] to guns or religion.” Given Obama’s consistent history of associations and mentors, and especially for a candidate who repeatedly reminds us to focus on deeds rather than words, how could Ludacris not think that he understands Obama perfectly?
Obama and Energy
It is no easy feat to be to the left of Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer, but Barack Obama has done just that. In The Case Against Barack Obama, David Freddoso focuses more on Obama’s personal history and political path rather than his positions on various issues. However, two issues that Freddoso does cover give much-needed perspective on the man who would have us believe he is a moderate.
First is the issue of ethanol: “Obama loves ethanol. He loves it so much that his energy plan would outlaw new cars that can’t run on high-ethanol blends.… He brags about how he inserted a new ethanol subsidy into a 2006 tax bill.” Freddoso then “does the math,” showing that “when government subsidized corn ethanol production in 2007, it was like spending $9.00 to create a gallon of gasoline, and doing it 853 million times. If you are still unsure about ethanol, think of it this way: If you could turn gold into lead, would you do it?”
As Deroy Murdock has reported, Obama’s opposition to sensible and affordable energy for America doesn’t stop with ethanol. In January, 2007, he was the only sponsor of Senate bill S 115, which he calls the “Oil SENSE Act.” Its purpose is to raise costs and taxes on the oil and gas industry, to try to force renegotiation of leases that the industry entered into in good faith with the government, and to change the depreciation and deductions allowed for developing our energy infrastructure.
Another provision of Obama’s SENSE-less bill is to repeal a section of the 2005 Energy Policy Act that requires the government to “conduct an inventory and analysis of oil and natural gas resources beneath all of the waters of the United States Outer Continental Shelf.” This inventory is to “use any available technology, except drilling, but including 3-D seismic technology.” Deroy Murdock has written that Obama’s bill “would leave decision-makers with Carter Administration maps drawn with pre-PC technology.” In other words, Obama’s strategy to prevent America from using our own natural wealth is to prevent us from knowing just how energy-rich we are.
Tax Hikes Solve All Problems
In a debate in Philadelphia in April, Obama summarized his view of the economic world in a response to a question about capital gains tax rates. When asked by the moderator whether he would look to raise capital gains tax rates even with data showing that such a move would likely generate less net revenue to the government, Obama said “I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”
Not only does such an answer demonstrate a tendency toward outright socialism, but it was spoken at a time of clear economic weakness. The last thing the country needs is a policy change that would tend to discourage business formation and job creation.
As David Fredosso notes, Obama “has no time for the idea that lower marginal tax rates help promote investment and employment, instead stating simply that the government needs more money, and the rich should be happy to contribute.”
“In the U.S. Senate, Obama has yet to find a tax increase that he does not support. He has voted dozens of times to raise federal taxes. … He wants to raise the top capital gains tax rate from 15% (depending on one’s income) to somewhere between 20% and 28%.”
And if the point weren’t already made clearly enough, Obama’s “solution to Social Security is to increase the payroll tax, in addition to the income tax, the capital gains tax, and his new health insurance tax on employers. There is no problem in America that Barack Obama cannot solve with a tax increase.”
Obama’s Health-Care Dreamworld
Then there’s the mother of all of Obama’s spending plans: a socialized medicine plan that Obama claims, laughably, will cost only $50 billion to $65 billion a year. For comparison, Obama is claiming he will provide “free” or subsidized health care to everyone who wants it for about the same amount as Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit, spends to provide just 25 million people with medicine.
History offers a guide to what we should expect regarding Obama’s estimates for his socialized health-care plan: When Medicare began in 1966, it was estimated that it would cost about $12 billion in 1990. The actual cost in 1990 was $107 billion.
According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, “Medicare’s total unfunded liability is more than five times larger than that of Social Security.” Further, the prescription drug benefit alone “has an unfunded liability greater than Social Security!”
The Social Security Administration’s trustees just issued a “Medicare-funding warning” for the second year in a row, noting that the growth of Medicare spending is unsustainable and that “the longer action is delayed, the greater will be the required adjustments, the larger the burden on future generations, and the more severe the detrimental economic impact on our nation.”
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has said, “If you wanted to cover the unfunded liability of [Medicare] today, you would be stuck with an $85.6 trillion bill. That is more than six times as large as the bill for Social Security. It is more than six times the annual output of the entire U.S. economy.”
And if you’re an employer who, by the judgment of Obama or his appointed bureaucrats, doesn’t spend quite enough on health care, Obama plans to penalize you until you’re spending as much as he thinks you should or until you have to shut your doors. David Freddoso points out Barack’s fundamental lack of understanding of the real world: “He shows the same ‘blank stare’ when he proposes ‘a new tax on small businesses that do not provide health care to their employees’ — many of them because they cannot afford to.”
So, just as the Government Accountability Office is warning us that the “long-term federal fiscal challenge [is] driven primarily by health care,” Barack Obama wants to multiply the problem, leading toward massive tax increases in the short term and government bankruptcy in the long term.
Obama Opposed Born-Alive Bill
But the Obama position that David Freddoso finds most shocking, and one that would enrage the majority of Americans if the mainstream media were to report it, was Obama’s opposition to Illinois’ Senate Bill 1095 in 2001 defining a “born-alive infant.” The bill, which The Case Against Barack Obama reproduces in its entirety, specifies that “every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development” is a “person”, “human being”, etc., for purposes of the law.
The bill came about after a former nurse, Jill Stanek, went through the horrific experience of holding a baby born alive but premature from an abortion until it died because the aborting mother did not want the baby to receive any medical treatment. “I couldn’t let him die alone,” she says. “And so I held him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He moved a little bit. Of course he didn’t cry.”
“Birth” and “alive” were clearly defined and the bill could not be construed as an anti-abortion bill in any way. As Freddoso says, the point of the bill was that a baby born alive, such as during an abortion that did not kill the fetus, would get the benefit of “the same laws and the same rules of medical ethics (that) would apply to any other born, living babies.”
Obama voted “present” on this bill after incorrectly giving a “constitutional” argument against it based on Roe v. Wade, a case that was irrelevant to the “born alive” bill. In 2001, a nearly identical bill passed the U.S. Senate 98-0. Yet Obama also voted and argued against similar bills in Illinois in 2002.
For pro-life voters, there is much in Obama’s record to dislike, including the fact that “he voted ‘present’ (again, effectively a ‘no’ vote) on requiring parental notification (not parental consent) when minor children obtain abortions.”
But it bears repeating that the “born alive” bill was absolutely specific that its language “applies only to babies that have already been born.” Even pro-choice voters should be horrified that Obama felt it necessary and appropriate to argue that it is OK to let living babies suffer and die in order to protect a non-existent threat to his support of Roe.
Most recently, at the Saddleback Church, when Obama was asked when a baby acquired human rights, he hemmed and hawed before responding that an answer is “above my pay grade.” Regardless of a voter’s position on the issue of abortion, answers like that must make one wonder just what job Obama thinks he is applying for, and reinforce the notion that Obama is simply too naïve and inexperienced to be our next President.
Tony Rezko and ‘The Slum Lords’
The Case Against Barack Obama lays out what author David Freddoso calls “Pinstripe Patronage,” pointing out that the Tony Rezko’s conviction is just the tip of the iceberg of Obama’s connection with Chicago real estate developers.
Beyond the fact that Obama and Rezko “had really been quite close” and that Obama “assumed [he] would have seen a pattern [of corrupt behavior] over the past 15 years,” Obama has steered millions in government money not just to Rezko but to other slum lords. According to the Boston Globe, “campaign finance records show that six prominent developers collectively contributed more than $175,000 to Obama’s campaigns over the last decade and raised hundreds of thousand more from other donors.”
What did the slum lords get from Obama? Sponsorship of and support for many pieces of legislation designed to force government to subsidize construction of low-income housing. And what did they build with the taxpayer money that Obama funneled their way? Housing projects which had to be demolished because of sewage backups, a project with over 1,800 code violations, and a 31-unit building where the owners, Tony Rezko and a partner, “claimed they lacked the funds to turn the heat on” during the winter of 1997. “Despite [the partnership’s] financial hardship, Rezko still managed to sign a check for $1,000” to Obama’s campaign fund.
Getting Others to Lie for You
Barack Obama is trying, and, with the complicity of the mainstream media, having some success being all things to all people, by “presenting not ideas but feelings” … by being and saying almost nothing of substance but using very pretty words to do so. In Obama’s own words, discussing politicians, “He may not lie, but he understands that there is no great reward in store for those who speak the truth, particularly when the truth may be complicated.” Freddoso takes it one step further: “Barack Obama does not need to lie. He has consultants and advisors to do that for him.”
Freddoso shows Obama’s surrogates, lying about Obama’s position on the surge, and covering for Obama’s own lies about John McCain’s statement regarding how long there may be a U.S. presence in Iraq.
Obama’s lies, especially about foreign policy, are to a large degree a product of his utter lack of experience in that area. From saying he would meet with the world’s dictators and state supporters of terrorism “without precondition” to claming that there was “unanimity” in U.S. policy during the Cold War, to his flip-flopping on American participation in the International Criminal Court, Obama shoots from the hip because he has no experience on which to base informed answers.
And still, during times in which international issues have greater prominence than they’ve had for a generation or more, the dominant liberal media remain silently uncritical.
The Case Against Barack Obama lays out example after example of how the press is abetting the Obama campaign’s strategy that any attack is a smear.” “Barack Obama is not to be criticized. He is above that sort of thing.”
The result is that “even serious issues are out of bounds” and Obama is never held accountable for his words, much less his deeds.
This year, Obama cannot win as he has won in the past. He can neither knock McCain off the ballot nor count on his divorce filing to destroy his candidacy. But if the press fails to hold Obama to the usual standard, perhaps he can get a free pass that exempts him from debates about issues like abortion, foreign policy, and his level of experience. He repeatedly, and understandably minimizes these legitimate issues by deriding them as “old politics” and “politics of division.” Pretending that they have become irrelevant distractions from the issues that really matter to Americans?
Obama’s campaign is trying to prevent the “intelligent dialog that this country needs to have.” It might just work.
The Reform Fraud
The Case Against Barack Obama asks the hard questions the mainstream media refuse to ask: On what grounds does one hope that Barack Obama will be an agent of change and reform? As Freddoso points out:
“If Barack Obama is a reformer, he could be the first one ever to become President of the United States having done almost nothing difficult in the name of reform.”
“He did not change politics in Chicago … [and he] did not change politics in Springfield. You can’t reform a state like Illinois by voting ‘present’ 130 times to avoid controversial issues.”
“Obama has certainly not changed politics in Congress. You can’t reform Washington by earmarking a million dollars for your wife’s employer after they double her salary.”
“It’s not that Barack Obama is a bad person. It’s just that he’s like all the rest of them. Not a reformer. Not a Messiah. Just like all the rest of them in Washington.”
If there is a tax you can name, Obama wants to raise it, regardless of the consequences to the economy.
And while Obama’s radical associations “do not disqualify Obama from the presidency, they do raise questions about his judgment” and his truthfulness.
David Freddoso has done the nation a favor by showing through his in-depth reporting that Barack is not ready and not qualified to be our President, and that he has fooled the American people so thoroughly only because of the dominant liberal media’s absolute abdication of their journalistic responsibility.
As Barack Obama continues his substance-free crusade for “Hope and Change,” maybe we should consider Obama’s own words when asked in 2004 if he might run for the presidency: “I am a believer in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job.”