3 – Obama’s radical connections. Standards operating procedure has been to cry “racism” whenever one of these has been brought up. We even have a detailed strategy ready to go should McCain ever bring Rev. Wright up. Though by themselves they are of minimal worth, taken together, Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Pfelger, and now, Rashid Khalili, are exactly what the campaign does not need. The more focus on them, the more this election becomes a referendum on Obama. The campaign strategy from the very beginning was to make this election a referendum on Bush. Strategists have been banging their head on how successfully McCain has distanced himself from Bush. This has worked, and right now the tide is in his favor. People are taking a new look at Barack Obama, and our experience when this happens tells us this is not good news at all.
Yep. As I mentioned to Andrea Shea-King last night, Obama is not a closer, and the reason is fairly obvious. Once you start looking at him carefully, the smoke and mirrors and vapid slogans don't work anymore. You start to realize that the (proposed) emperor has no clothes.
Last week I made the open-and-shut case for John McCain: In a dangerous world entering an era of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation, the choice between the most prepared foreign policy candidate in memory vs. a novice with zero experience and the wobbliest one-world instincts is not a close call.
And this part nobody except Joe Klein can deny:
On other domestic issues, McCain is just the kind of moderate conservative that the Washington/media establishment once loved -- the champion of myriad conservative heresies that made him a burr in the side of congressional Republicans and George W. Bush. But now that he is standing in the way of an audacity-of-hope Democratic restoration, erstwhile friends recoil from McCain on the pretense that he has suddenly become right wing.
Exactly. The notion that somehow McCain has morphed into a John Bircher may be useful for the media, but it's as divorced from reality as Obama's plans to meet with Ahmadinejad.
(This post will remain on top until Thursday night; scroll down for newer content).
I will be on tomorrow night with my old buddy, Andrea Shea-King to talk about the upcoming election and other topics of current interest. Andrea is always a terrific host and asks the most interesting questions, so be sure to tune in over the internet tomorrow, Thursday, at 9:00 PM Eastern, 6:00 PM for those of us lucky enough to live in the West.
I mention the Bradley effect because I think, too, that McCain and Sarah Palin's attack against Obama for advocating "spreading the wealth" and for "socialism" and for pronouncing the civil rights revolution a "tragedy" because it didn't deal with the distribution of wealth is aimed ultimately at white working class undecided voters who would construe "spreading the wealth" as giving their money to blacks. It's the latest version of Reagan's "welfare queen" argument from 1980. It if it works, it won't be because most white Americans actually oppose a progressive income tax, but because they fear that Obama will inordinately favor blacks over them. I don't doubt that this argument will have some effect, but I suspect it's too late and that worries about McCain and Republican handling of the economy will overshadow these concerns.
Several people have picked up on this supposed connection between redistribution of income and the progressive income tax; I don't get it. For starters, Obama was talking about redistributing the wealth in that 2001 video, not income (although he did talk about redistributing income in his discussion with Joe the Plumber). Second, there is no "re-distributing" going on in the income tax; it's all taking.
Steve Benen continues the "when John McCain says socialist, he means black" canard.
I perceive the rhetoric the same way. When McCain tells white working class undecided voters that Obama wants to "take your money and give it to someone else," he doesn't say who "someone else" is, but he probably hopes he doesn't have to.
An Obama presidency would be a stark contrast to the rhetoric of the “real” America — which is basically defined as the part where everyone is white — versus the unreal America comprised of non-whites and the white people who deign to live near them.
What's going on here? For starters, they're poisoning the well. If McCain does win on Tuesday, they're all going to say it's because he ran a racist campaign with all these "code words" to appeal to bigots.
And for another, they're Charlie Brown and the American public is Lucy, holding the football and telling them to go ahead and kick the field goal. They're paranoid that once again the final panel will show them flat on their backs, bemoaning their naive belief that the ball wouldn't get yanked away at the last moment.
Sure, he has a nice easy smile, but he also looks very determined, strong-jawed yet thoughtful, as if he’s very seriously pondering, “Why do they hate us?” Don’t laugh, that’s not funny. There is absolutely nothing in the record to indicate that President Obama wouldn’t slap the cuffs on any jihadis when the evidence is there that they plan to attack America, or already have, and that the Obama Justice Department won’t throw the book at them in a major way. He’s personally going to invade Pakistan, or not, depending. And he’s got some stern words for a lot of dictators he intends to deliver face-to-face, mano a mano. Nuke-happy mullahs, watch out: There’s a new community resource officer in town, and you’re about to be read your Miranda rights.
Yep, he'll capture Osama and put him on trial in New York, where Bin Laden can't face the death penalty, and they'll reform him there so that he renounces his terrorist ways and promises to be good and the Truthers and the folks from the Free Mumia movement will have somebody else to swoon over.
I mentioned earlier that the McCain camp is complaining about the LA Times' refusal to release a videotape of Obama praising Rashid Khalidi.
Who is Rashid Khalidi? He's currently the Hate Israel Chair--err, make that the Edward Said Chair at Columbia University. He's not very fond of Israel:
The co-founder of the Arab group in question, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, also has held a fundraiser for Obama. Khalidi is a harsh critic of Israel, has made statements supportive of Palestinian terror and reportedly has worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism and was labeled by the State Department as a terror group.
This is not surprising. Although he was born in the US, he spent some time working for the PLO:
But when Columbia academic officials made this choice they knew they were getting a Palestinian political activist. From 1976 to 1982, Mr. Khalidi was a director in Beirut of the official Palestinian press agency, WAFA. Later he served on the PLO "guidance committee" at the Madrid peace conference.
The Khalidis and Obamas were good friends. In his capacity as a director of the Woods Fund, Obama in 2001 and 2002 steered $75,000 to the Arab American Action Network, the brainchild of Rashid and Mona Khalidi. According to an L.A. Times account of the dinner, Obama mentioned that he and Michelle had been frequent dinner guests at the Khalidi home (just another guy in the neighborhood?) and that the Khalidis had even baby-sat for the Obama girls.
Like William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, the Khalidis held a fundraiser for Obama in their living room when he unsuccessfully sought a House seat. At the farewell dinner, according to the L.A. Times, Obama apparently related fondly his “many talks” with the Khalidis. Perhaps that’s where he learned, as he told the Des Moines Register, that “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.” Obama told the crowd that those talks with the Khalidis had been “consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots. . . . It’s for that reason that I’m hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation — a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid’s dinner table” but around “this entire world.”
Of course, this only matters in as far as Obama has adopted Khalidi's attitudes towards Israel. According to some accounts, Barack has done this:
"A Local Palestinian Activist Said Obama Attended The Fundraiser And Expressed Sympathy For The Palestinian Cause And Criticism For U.S. Support Of Israel. "In 2000, [Ali] Abunimah [a Hyde Park Palestinian-American activist] recalled, Professor Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian American advocate for a two-state solution and harsh critic of Israel, held a fundraiser in his home for Obama, embarked then on an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the House of Representatives. 'He came with his wife,' Abunimah said. 'That's where I had a chance to really talk to him. It was an intimate setting. He convinced me he was very aware of the issues [and] critical of U.S. bias toward Israel and lack of sensitivity to Arabs. ... He was very supportive of U.S. pressure on Israel.'" (Larry Cohler-Esses, "Obama Pivots Away From Dovish Past," The New York Jewish Week, 3/9/07)
For the past few weeks, however, I have been concerned about a totally different issue with respect to Prof. Ayers: his political views concerning Palestine and Israel. The LA Times recently explored Obama's connection to those politics through his and Ayers' service on the board of the Woods Fund, during which time he and Ayers voted to award a grant of $70,000 to an organization created by Rashid Khalidi. The article raises questions about the depth and sincerity of Obama's expressed support for Israel.
Yellow light on this one, but if true it could definitely hurt Obama:
Reason we can't release it is because statements Obama said to rile audience up during toast. He congratulates Khalidi for his work saying "Israel has no God-given right to occupy Palestine" plus there's been "genocide against the Palestinian people by Israelis."
The McCain camp is accusing the LA Times of covering up for Obama:
"A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi," said McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb. " . . . The election is one week away, and it's unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job -- make information public."
The paper claims:
The Times on Tuesday issued a statement about its decision not to post the tape.
"The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it," said the newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton. "The Times keeps its promises to sources."
Our socialist (oops, sorry, that's a racist code word) President-in-Waiting from 2001. More discussion from Mrs M.
Update: Also read Bill Whittle. If this had been Sarah Palin giving the interview, you know the freaking news media would have been all over the story.
Update II: Unexcitable Andrew:
Here's what it's based on: the "tragedy," in Obama's telling, is that the civil rights movement was too court-focused. He was making a case against using courts to implement broad social goals - which is, last time I checked, the conservative position.
Clearly, that was not what Obama was saying. The tragedy was that they didn't redistribute the wealth. It's true that Obama went on to say that using the courts in the future was liable to be counterproductive, but counterproductive to the goal of redistribution.
Update III: Full transcript of the entire show here. I am reading it myself now and will append my thoughts.
Update IV: Having read the relevant sections, I can say that the idea that this video unfairly characterizes Obama's position is false.
Obama was not showing disrespect for constitutional law in any of this. More radical law professors would criticize the courts for not engaging in more expansive interpretations of the Equal Protection Clause and for failing to provide much more expensive, invasive remedies. He did not do that. He accepted the limits the courts had recognized and advised against the unfruitful pursuit of economic justice in the judicial forum. It's a political matter. That is a moderate view of law.
But he did criticize the court, by saying it wasn't as radical as people think. And she hand-waves away the desirability of redistribution here:
Now, there remains the question of how much he would want the legislative branch to do in the name of economic justice, and obviously, the phrase "redistribution of the wealth" gets people going. But that's the same old question we've been talking about for months.
Since he didn't talk about how exactly how much he wants the government to redistribute the wealth, it's not socialism, or it might be but it's not proven how much socialism he desires. It's the same old question: Just how much of a communist is Barack Obama? We don't know, so let's find out.