The Barack Obama campaign is beginning to look a lot like the middle stages of the Bill Clinton administration: scandals everywhere, but nothing that sticks. If Sen. John McCain continues to run his Bob Dole-style campaign, one of these scandals will have to come to the forefront and constitute an “October Surprise” for Sen. Obama.
The latest to break is the alleged voter registration fraud concerning an Obama-connected group called ACORN — the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Sen. Obama started his political career as a community organizer — even doing some training work for ACORN — so people who’ve wondered what community organizing is all about need only follow this story.
ACORN is registering likely Democrats to vote. It doesn’t seem to matter whether a person is real, fictional, already registered, or dead — ACORN wants to sign him up. In Cleveland, voters have told authorities that they have been hounded by the organization, even if they’ve made it clear that they are already registered. 21 year-old Lateala Goins told the New York Post, “You can tell them you are registered as many times as you want; they do not care. They will follow you to the buses, they will follow you home.” In Nevada, officials raided the ACORN office, accusing the group of signing up the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys.
The Obama campaign has donated $800,000 to ACORN to support its activities and the group has endorsed him for president. But will the story have enough legs to damage Obama? Not likely, because the media isn’t interested. FOX News and, to some extent, CNN have covered it. But it hasn’t gotten much play in newspapers.
Could Obama’s alliances with unsavory people be his undoing? The anti-American Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger are effectively nuzzled until after election, and whatever chickens they might have brought forth have already roosted. Obama sustained minor damage but recovered.
But to many people, Obama did not just “associate” with such people; he was “allied” with them. That’s why his connection with the domestic terrorist William Ayers has resonated to some extent.
The campaign talking point that every Democrat repeats ad nauseum is that Obama was only 8 years old when Ayers and his terrorist wife Bernadette Dohrn were involved in such activities as bombing the U. S. Capitol and the Pentagon. On “Meet the Press,” moderator Tom Brokaw refers to Ayers as an “education reformer.” The truth is that Ayers gave Obama his only executive experience by tabbing him to distribute $50 million in grant money — money to be used by groups like ACORN to radicalize students.
But somehow this is too complicated for the people to understand. After all, Obama was just 8 years old.
Well, he wasn’t 8 when he met Antoin “Tony” Rezko. Rezko, a convicted felon, is behind bars and may be singing like a canary to federal prosecutors. What he’s telling them isn’t precisely known because it’s all secret. But Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich might have reason to worry; so might Obama. It just depends on what it takes for Rezko to get a deal with the feds. And, of course, it depends on what’s to tell. Perhaps Rezko’s fundraising and real estate dealings with Obama were all on the up and up. Not likely, but maybe.
And maybe the October Surprise will involve Obama’s on-line fundraising where the numbers of fake names and over-the-limits donations are skyrocketing. The Republican National Committee has asked the FEC to investigate evidence of illegal foreign influence, but time is running short.
Maybe, if there is a surprise, it will be the result of some major media investigation of Obama’s relationship with the bloody Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga. WBBM-TV in Chicago ran a report that had Obama criticizing Kenyan President Kibaki during a 2006 Senate fact-finding trip to Kenya. It would be interesting to know more about Obama’s ties to Odinga, who has a power-sharing agreement with Kibaki and who named his son “Fidel” after you-know-who. But no major newspaper or network is checking into the story so far as we know.
Maybe the October Surprise will be that John McCain takes the advice of his own supporters and forcefully goes after Sen. Obama on his record, his policies and his alliances. Now THAT would be a surprise.