How many lies must Obama tell before he falls off his perch as an “Agent of Change” and comes back down to earth and is recognized as a gifted but flawed politician, no better and no worse than McCain or Hillary Clinton for that matter?
Lying about one’s personal affairs in order to avoid taking a political hit is an art form that most politicians must eventually master if they are to survive. All of us have some kind of skeleton in the closet whether it’s our own or someone close to us. Beyond that, innocent situations can be twisted by opponents and unfriendly media into the appearance of wrongdoing. Eventually, just about everyone will come face to face with a situation where a choice will present itself; tell the truth and risk the wrath of the voters or lie and hope no one catches you.
In Obama’s case, he has lied about the extent of his relationship with Tony Rezko from the beginning. And yesterday, the chickens came home to roost.
Prior to yesterday, Obama described his relationship with Rezko in casual terms:
Mr. Obama says he never did any favors for Mr. Rezko, who raised about $150,000 for his campaigns over the years and was once one of the most powerful men in Illinois. There is no sign that Mr. Obama, who declined to be interviewed for this article, did anything improper.(6/14/07)
Mr. Obama has portrayed Mr. Rezko as a one-time fund-raiser whom he had occasionally seen socially. But interviews with more than a dozen political and business associates suggest that the two men were closer than the senator has indicated.
When Mr. Obama first fielded questions about Mr. Rezko last fall, he said they had had lunch once or twice a year and had socialized with their wives â€œtwo to four times.â€
A “one time fundraiser?” Occasional socializing?
That was then. This is now:
Trying to put his past with Antoin “Tony” Rezko behind him, presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday said he never thought the nowindicted Chicago businessman would try to take advantage of him because his old friend had never asked for a political favor.
But in a 90-minute interview with Tribune reporters and editors, Obama disclosed that Rezko had raised more for Obama’s earlier political campaigns than previously known, gathering as much as $250,000 for the first three offices he sought.
Rezko helped bankroll all of Obama’s subsequent campaigns except his presidential bid. Rezko was on Obama’s campaign committee in his failed run against U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and gathered between $50,000 and $75,000 of the estimated $600,000 raised in that race, Obama said.
Rezko also was on the finance committee for Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate run. “My best assessment is that he raised $160,000 during my U.S. Senate primary,” he said, adding that those funds had been given to charity.
At first, Obama claimed that Rezko raised no more than $50,000 for his campaigns – which was a lie. Any politician who doesn’t have a good idea how much an important fundraiser like Rezko raises for him wouldn’t be winning many elections. The figure rose to $150,000 and now stands at $250,000.
Any bets on how high that number will eventually go?
Beyond that is the extent of his friendship with Rezko – something both Obama and the campaign have sought to minimize since day one by simply telling outright lies about how well the two men knew each other.
Even Obama’s statements about the purchase of his house were full of falsehoods as far as the reason Rezko went in on the deal.
At first, Obama downplayed the entire matter:
“I don’t recall exactly what our conversations were or where I first learned, and I am not clear what the circumstnces were where he made a decision that he was interested in the property,” Obama reportedly said.(11/2/2006)
“I may have mentioned to him the name of [a developer and] he may at that point have contacted that person. I’m not clear about that,” he said.
That was then. This is now:
But they talked about the upcoming sales. “He said, ‘I might be interested,’ ” Obama recalled. “My response was, ‘Well, that would be fine.’”
Obama added: “This is an area where I can see a lapse in judgment.” He said his motivation was “if this lot is going to be developed, here’s somebody I knew. So I didn?t object.”
In his first accounts of the purchase, Obama did not divulge that tour. He said Friday that he simply didn’t feel the information was salient and insisted the tour didn’t mean he and Rezko coordinated their purchases.
Is this plausible? Your friend of 20 years is buying the lot next to your dream home (although the sellers insist they gave no “discount” to Obama they also said that they wished to sell both the lot and house at the same time which Obama confirms in the Trib interview) and you don’t “coordinate” the sale in any way? This after touring the property with your friend and discussing possible development of the lot next door?
Obama is asking us to take an awful lot on faith – faith in his truthfulness.
Finally, in the matter of Reverend Wright, we are asked to believe that in a 20 year relationship with the pastor, he never once uttered the kind of vicious racial and anti-American statements that were revealed yesterday:
The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.
Is that true? Rich Lowry did a little digging:
Before he ever thought he would have to deploy Clintonesque spin to try to get himself out of a campaign controversy, Barack Obama wrote (an achingly good) memoir. In the book, Obama makes it clear that Wright when he first got to know him was pretty much the same Wright we’re getting to know now (the one that Obama is at pains to say is on the verge of retirement). Wright was striking some of the same notes, saying racially venomous things and attacking the bombing of Hiroshima. Note this passage about the first sermon Obama heard from Wright, the source ultimately of the title of Obama’s second book and one of the central themes of his presidential campaign:
â€œIt is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folksâ€™ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphereâ€¦Thatâ€™s the world! On which hope sits!â€
And so it went, a meditation on a fallen world. While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpsville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House. As the sermon unfolded, though, the stories of strife became more prosaic, the pain more immediate. The reverend spoke of the hardship that the congregation would face tomorrow, the pain of those far from the mountaintop, worrying about paying the light billâ€¦
Is it possible Barack Obama forgot the things that Reverend Wright preached? Or, more frighteningly, is it possible that Obama can’t recognize hate speech and anti-American rants when he hears them?
And then there’s this curious comment from his Wright “Mea Culpa” quoted above:
When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments.
“At the time?” People are still digging but no one seems to be able to come up with any comments “condemning” anything Wright has ever said that occurred anywhere near the beginning of his campaign for president. He condemned s Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic statements (not the man) when it became known that Wright’s Church bestowed the â€œRev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteerâ€ named after Wright’s church’s magazine that featured the racist demagogue on the cover:
“I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan,” Obama said in the statement. “I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.”(1/15/08)
This is certainly a long time after “the beginning” of his presidential run – almost a year.
And what do we make of this excerpt from his book Dreams of my Father where he specifically mentions Wright’s “radical” reputation:
In his 1993 memoir â€œDreams from My Father,â€ Obama recounts in vivid detail his first meeting with Wright in 1985. The pastor warned the community activist that getting involved with Trinity might turn off other black clergy because of the churchâ€™s radical reputation.
What exactly did Obama think Wright’s “radical reputation” was all about?
Obama’s statement published at Huffingtonpost is at best a careful dissembling of the truth and at worst a tissue of lies as this piece at American Thinker makes clear:
We noticed on the videotaped sermons that when Rev. Wright fires up the crowd, they jump to their feet. A Harvard-trained lawyer like Obama inserting the phrase “sat in the pews” knows exactly what he is doing. If he was on his feet applauding and shouting approval like so many other Trinity congregants, then this statement becomes true, if utterly misleading.
It is time for the Obamamaniacs to wake up and come down from the mountaintop. Support him for president if you must but base it on his positions on the issues and his abilities not on his perceived messianic visions of a new kind of politics – “post racial” or “post partisan” or any other unique attribute that his leadership supposedly will bring out.
Barack Obama is just another politician – devious when he has to be, vague when it suits him, and a liar when necessity calls. May this incident involving Reverend Wright open the eyes of most of those who have lost themselves in Obama’s rhetorical fog so that they can see who and what they are supporting for President of the United States.