| Wednesday, December 13, 2006
| The Obama Rorschach Test
|Do you think the high school kid at left could grow up to be president of the United States in your lifetime? Just by looking at him, would you expect him to want to be? Would you change your mind if you knew that the kid at left is Barack Obama, back in his days at Punahou School in Hawaii?
Obamamania is in full effect (and not just among lefties seeking some sort of national racial therapy) ... at least for now ... until the media tire of giving him the Full Monica and begin tearing him apart, ahead of their quadrannual ritual of kissing the ass of whichever Republican becomes the front-runner in the GOP presidential primary. So Obama has a little over a year to enjoy the glow, and to survive the afterglow.
Howard Kurtz stumbles on what could be Obama's first scandal challenge, and quotes Right Wing Nut House and other conservative bloggers who are already seeking to peel away Obama's glorious outer layer of "all things to all people" (except racist rednecks) likability.
It seems that Obama and his wife closed last year on a $1.65-million house on the city's south side on the same day that Rezko closed on a $625,000 vacant lot next door. Then Obama paid Rezko $104,000 to buy part of the lot. Well, none of that seems terribly unusual to me, except maybe the part about Obama paying his landscaper to mow Rezko's yard and Rezko agreeing to pay for a $14,000 fence along their property line.Problem? Maybe. Maybe not. but don't think the right is going to just sit there and let Obama become a presidential contender. Sure, for now, he'll do as a brickstop to slow Hillary's march to the White House. But if it gets serious -- or he gets onto Hillary's ticket, consider all bets off. If you think the right has been nasty up to now, and if you think we've seen the worst of GOP race-baiting and redneck fear-mongering, just wait till you see them in 2008.
The problem is that during this period, Rezko came under grand jury investigation. He has since pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to obtain kickbacks from companies seeking state business, according to the Tribune. Rezko has also pleaded not guilty to separate allegations that he bilked a loan company through the fraudulent sale of his pizza businesses. (I hereby copyright Pizzagate if this story takes off.)
Suddenly, Obama had a PR problem, or as he put it to the Chicago Sun-Times, "I misgauged the appearance presented by my purchase of the additional land from Mr. Rezko . . . It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor."
This seems like a minor-league issue. But as Bill Clinton learned about his money-losing Arkansas land deal, when you run for president, everything in your past gets magnified.
On to my fave rightie (sorry Mark in Mexico -- you're a close second...) Rick Moran of Right Wing Nuthouse:
"First, it must be said that a Democratic corpse plucked from a Chicago graveyard could have won the race for Illinois senator in 2004. True enough...
You might recall that the Republican nominee Jack Ryan was forced to withdraw 4 months before the election following revelations contained in child custody documents relating to Ryan's divorce from actress Jeri Ryan (the sexiest Borg in the Star Trek Universe) that he forced the comely actress to go to sex clubs with him . . . ...and his replacement Alan Keyes, is certifiably nuts...!
"Obama is an empty vessel. Not a Clintonesque figure in that he tries to appeal to all voters in some way but rather a welcoming icon who invites the voter to take something away and make it their own as far as how they view the man. Is this dishonest? Or is it great politics? . . .You've still got it, Moran...
"We see this dance by the media every four years. Bored with writing and talking about the same old faces, the media seeks out a darkhorse candidate and elevates him for a short while to prominence -- only to then amuse themselves by tearing him apart piece by piece once they've decided he is not worthy of all the glowing coverage.
"In Obama's case, there is the added significance of race to be considered. Will the Senator's blackness protect him from the usual smear tactics practiced by politicians from both parties?"
An intriguing question, given that we've never had a serious black contender for the presidency--or serious female contender, for that matter.
Meanwhile, over at NRO, Larry Kudlow is advising Obama to have a chat with Harold Ford before he decides to run, ostensibly to be counseled on how to become less liberal. Memo to Kudlow: Ford lost his bid for the Senate, despite being a center-right Dem, and entirely because he's a Black man in Tennessee. Maybe Obama and Ford could chit-chat about that...
And yesterday, I listened to about a half hour of the Michael Medved show, as caller after caller took him up on his challenge to whites who wouldn't vote for Obama (or Colin Powell or Condi Rice, for that matter) based on race, to tell him why.
The best answer: "I have lots of Black friends... lots of Black friends ... but they got mad at me during the O.J. trial, and so I think they just have too much baggage."
Runner up: "He'd get all the Blacks and Browns all riled up together..."
God bless America, indeed.
I for one think Barack should run for president, even if he would lose. I think that his running would be a teriffic test for America, just to see where are collective heads are at. Let's see if white folks really are as evolved and tolerant as they tell pollsters they are, or whether racism is there, just below the surface, waiting to reach out and slap down any nigger who would dare tread toward the White House. I love it when people are who they are, and this would be white America's chance to show the world. Like Hillary's race, it would be instructional, a great civics lesson, and unlike Rev. Al's run, it would carry with it the envigorating sting of possible success.
Tags: barack obama, national politics, politics, senate, 2008
|posted by JReid @ 11:57 AM