“THE ILLUSION OF BARACK OBAMA”…A Must-Read from The Australian

~~Posted by InsightAnalytical-GRL

Back in August I posted a report on my dealings with a Radio Australia talk show host named Phillip Adams who also does a column for The Australian.  His post was really a testament to the aging, radical crowd that sneers at anything that’s “not Obama.” See  I Write to an Aussie Talk Show Host About Obama, He Gets “Inspired,” Writes a Column in “The Australian” (Mentioning Me), and Then….

Well, The Australian printed a piece in May that offsets the Adam Phillips piece and doesn’t mince words.

A commenter called “Woman Voter” writing in a thread at No Quarter suggested that a post be done on this piece, so I’m going to pick up on it. It’s worth a read and I am posting it in its entirety.

The piece, entitled The Illusion that is Barack Obama, was written by Fred Siegel “a contributing editor of City Journal. He teaches at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.” City Journal is an “urban-policy magazine” put out by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank. Siegel has written other pieces for CJ on the subject of Obama, all questioning his candidacy (just search “Fred Siegel” at the site and you’ll come up with a list of articles).  In case you’re wondering what became of Judith Miller, she’s listed as an editor; but don’t be put off by the conservative nature of this publicaton…the pieces on Obama are worth looking at.

This particular piece is s a litany of the flaws in the Barack Obama candidacy, a compendium which gives a picture of Obama that is easy to absorb. The reader might not agree with all the premises offered, but there’s enough here to make it a worthwhile read.

The Illusion that is Barack Obama

Fred Siegel | May 05, 2008

POLITICAL campaigning necessarily produces a wide gap between words and deeds. This is the price of bringing together a broad coalition with disparate interests. All effective politicians are at times authentically insincere or sincerely inauthentic. Exaggeration, embellishment, overstatement, doubletalk, deception and lies presented as metaphorical truths are the order of the day.

So, of course, Barack Obama is no different. He exaggerates the credit he deserves for a limited piece of ethics-reform legislation. He embellishes when he presents himself as having had a consistent record on the Iraq war when in fact he’s done a fair amount of zigzagging.

He engages in doubletalk when, on free trade and Iraq, he tells the yokels one thing and the policy people another. He overstates when he presents his minimal accomplishments in the Illinois Senate as proof of his stature. He engages in systematic deception when he says he doesn’t take money from lobbyists.

He presents a lie as metaphorical truth when he says it was the 1965 bloody Sunday attacks on peaceful civil rights protesters in Selma, Alabama, that inspired his parents to marry. (They had been married for years already.)

All of this is unappealing, but also unexceptional. What makes it different is that there’s not just a gap but a chasm between his actions and his professed principles, which would normally kill a candidacy. And because his deeds are so few, the disparity is all the more salient.

Obama, far more than the others, is the “judge me by what I say and not what I do” candidate. He wants to be the conscience of the country without necessarily having one himself.

The disparity between Obama’s rhetoric of transcendence and his conventional Chicago racial and patronage politics is a leitmotiv of his political career. In New York, politicians (Al Sharpton excepted) are usually forced to pay at least passing tribute to universal principles and the ideal of clean government.

But Chicago, until recently a city of Lithuanians, blacks and Poles governed by Irishmen on the patronage model of the Italian Christian Democrats, is the city of political and cultural tribalism.

Blacks adapted to the tribalism and the corrupt patronage politics that accompanied it. Historically, one of the ironies of Chicago politics is that the clean-government candidates have been the most racist, while those most open to black aspirations have been the most corrupt. When the young Jesse Jackson received his first audience with then mayor Richard Daley Sr – impervious to the universalism of the civil rights movement in its glory – offered him a job as a toll-taker. Jackson thought the offer demeaning but in time adapted.

In Chicago, racial reform has meant that the incumbent mayor, Richard M. Daley, has been cutting blacks in on the loot. Louis Farrakhan, Jackson, Jeremiah Wright and Obama are all, in part, the expression of that politics. It hasn’t always worked for Chicago, which, under the pressure of increasing taxes to pay for bloated government, is losing its middle class. But it has served the city’s political class admirably.

For all his Camelot-like rhetoric, Obama is a product, in significant measure, of the political culture that Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass described: “We’ve had our chief of detectives sent to prison for running the Outfit’s (the mob’s) jewellery-heist ring. And we’ve had white guys with Outfit connections get $100 million in affirmative action contracts from their drinking buddy, Mayor Richard Daley … That’s the Chicago way.”

At no point did Obama, the would-be saviour of US politics, challenge this corruption, except for face-saving gestures as a legislator. He was, in his own Harvard law way, a product of it.

Why, you may ask, did the operators of Chicago’s political machine support Obama? Part of the answer was given long ago by the then boss of Chicago, Jake Arvey.

When asked why he made Adlai Stevenson – a man, as with Obama, more famous for speeches than for accomplishments – his party’s gubernatorial candidate in 1948, Arvey is said to have replied that he needed to “perfume the ticket”.

Obama first played a perfuming role as a state senator. His mentor, Emil Jones, the machine-made president of the Senate, allowed him to sponsor a minor ethics bill. In return, Obama made sure to send plenty of pork to Jones’s district. When asked about pork-barrel spending, Jones famously replied: “Some call it pork; I call it steak.”

Obama repaid the generosity. When he had a chance to back clean Democratic candidates for president of the Cook County board of supervisors and Illinois governor, he stayed with the allies of the Outfit. The gubernatorial candidate he backed, Rod Blagojevich, is under federal investigation, in part because of his relationship with Tony Rezko, the man who helped Obama buy his house.

The Chicago way has delivered politically for Obama even this year. Ninety per cent of his popular-vote lead over Hillary Clinton comes from Illinois, and two-thirds of that 90 per cent comes just from Cook County.

Some of this advantage came from the efforts of Obama’s political ally, the flame-throwing reverend James Meeks, a political force in his own right. Meeks, who mocks black moderates as “niggers”, is an Illinois state senator, the pastor of a mega-church and a strong supporter of Jackson’s powerful political operation, which has put its vote-pulling muscle squarely behind the Obama campaign. It was only with Obama’s remark about bitter, white, working-class, small-town voters that we saw his difficulties appealing beyond the machine’s reach. He won his US Senate race in 2004 not only because his opponents self-destructed but also because of the machine’s ability to deliver votes.

In Pennsylvania, he has lacked such assistance and the campaigning has not gone nearly so well. First, Obama pretended to be a tenpin bowler and scored a 37. Then, appearing before a supposedly closed San Francisco audience, he complained that small-town Pennsylvanians “cling to guns or religion or antipathy towards people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations”. This is the man who belongs to a church built on bitterness, rancour and conspiratorial fear. During the Wright affair, Obama not only repeatedly lied about what he knew and when but violated the spirit of the civil rights movement in its mid-1960s glory.

When, as a young man, I was on the periphery of the movement, there was an unwritten rule that if people told racist jokes or speakers engaged in defamatory rhetoric, you needed to register your immediate disapproval by confronting the speaker or ostentatiously walking out.

Wright’s “black theology” is essentially a Christianised version of Malcolm X’s ideology of hate.

But for 20 years, Obama, who had planned to run for mayor of Chicago, kept silent about the close, if at times competitive, relationship between Wright, whose 8000-member mega-church gave him his political base, and Farrakhan. His ambition overrode his moral integrity.

As part of his “black value system”, Wright attacked whites for their “middle classism”, materialism, and “greed in a world of need”. Obama sounded similar notes in his recent address at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, in which he laid the blame for the sub-prime mortgage crisis on those who had “embraced an ethic of greed, corner cutting and inside dealing”.

But that’s exactly what Obama did in buying his luxurious house. Given the choice of purchasing a less expensive home or getting into bed with his fundraiser-cum-slumlord-cum-fixer Rezko, Obama chose the latter. Then again, the oppressed of Trinity United Church of Christ are building Wright a $US1.6 million ($1.7million), 960sqm home complete with four-car garage, whirlpool and butler’s pantry. This house, which backs on to a golf course, is to sit in Tinley Park, a gated community in southwest Chicago that is 93 per cent white.

The Obamas’ charitable giving is consistent with Wright’s talking Left while living Right. Obama and his wife are quite well off. They had an estimated income of $US1.2 million from 2000 to 2004. But the man who preaches compassion and mutuality gave all of 1 per cent of that income to charity during those years. Most of that went to Wright’s church.

There is a similar chasm when it comes to Obama’s claim to post-partisanship. His achievements in reaching out to moderate voters are largely proleptic. But words are not deeds and, although Obama has few concrete achievements to his name, his voting record hardly suggests an ability to rise above Left v Right.

In the Illinois Senate, he made a specialty of voting present, but after his first two years in the US Senate, National Journal’s analysis of rollcall votes found that he was more liberal than 86 per cent of his colleagues. His voting record has only moved further Left since then. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action gives him a 97.5 per cent rating, while National Journal ranks him the most liberal member of the Senate. By comparison, Clinton, who occasionally votes with the Republicans, ranks 16th.

Obama is such a down-the-line partisan that, according to Congressional Quarterly, in the past two years he has voted with the Democrats more often than did the party’s majority leader, Harry Reid.

Likewise, for all his talk of post-racialism, Obama has played, with the contrivance of the press, traditional South Side Chicago racial politics. The day after his surprise loss in New Hampshire, and in anticipation of the South Carolina primary, with its heavily black electorate, South Side congressman Jesse Jackson Jr – Obama’s national co-chairman – appeared on MSNBC to argue, in a prepared statement, that Clinton’s teary moment on the campaign trail reflected her deep-seated racism.

“Those tears,” said Jackson, “have to be analysed … They have to be looked at very, very carefully in light of Katrina, in light of other things that Mrs Clinton did not cry for, particularly as we head to South Carolina, where 45 per cent of African-Americans will participate in the Democratic contest … We saw tears in response to her appearance, so that her appearance brought her to tears, but not hurricane Katrina, not other issues.”

In other words, whites who are at odds with, or who haven’t delivered for, Chicago politicians can be obliquely accused of racism on the flimsiest basis, but pillars of local black politics such as Wright, with his exclusivist racial theology, are beyond criticism.

Liberals love Obama’s talk of taking on powerful financial interests. But here , too, he is rather slippery. In his Cooper Union speech, he denounced in no uncertain terms the “special interests” of people on Wall Street (who are well represented among his campaign donors).

He, of course, had an opportunity to push for repealing the privileged tax treatment of private equity firms when that question was before Charles Grassley’s Senate subcommittee – but he simply made a pro-forma statement in favour of doing so and disappeared.

Nationally, as in Chicago, Obama the self-styled reformer never crosses swords with any of his putative foes. To pick another example, he has attacked “predatory” sub-prime lenders while taking roughly $US1.3 million in contributions from companies in that line of business.

Obama is the internationalist opposed to free trade. He is the friend of race-baiters who thinks Don Imus deserved to be fired. He is the proponent of courage in the face of powerful interests who lacked the courage to break with Wright (until Wednesday). He is the man who would lead our efforts against terrorism yet was friendly with Bill Ayers, the unrepentant 1960s terrorist. He is the post-racialist supporter of affirmative action. He is the enemy of Big Oil who takes money from executives at Exxon-Mobil, Shell and British Petroleum.

Obama has, in a sense, represented a new version of the invisible man, a candidate whose colour obscures his failings.

But so far, the wild discrepancy between Obama’s words and his deeds, and between his enormous ambitions and his minimal accomplishments, doesn’t seem to have fazed his core supporters, who apparently suffer from a severe case of cognitive dissonance. Like cultists who rededicate themselves when the cult’s prophecies have been falsified, his fans redouble their delusions in the face of his obvious hypocrisy.

That is because Obama, in the imagination of many of his fans in the public and the press, is both a deduction from what was – the failures of the Bush administration and the scandals of the Clintons – and an expression of what should be.

The ideal, the aspiration, is so rhetorically appealing that it has been assumed to be true. They remind one of Woodrow Wilson’s answer when asked if his plan for a League of Nations was practicable: “If it won’t work, it must be made to work.”

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11 Responses

  1. insightanalytical,

    Thanks for doing this, this is by far the first article I have seen that covers Obama and the many contradictions of his life and career. Hanity did a show tonight, that will have a couple more to come that begins to explore the many areas that people don’t discuss like ACORN.

    If only the press had vetted him early on, we could have Hillary as our nominee, but the DNC worked with him and against us. Thank you for being so global in your reading and comments too, that is impressive. You are awesome.

  2. Thank YOU, for the tip! Feel free to post any suggestions here that you think need to be followed-up…

    GRL

  3. For the F-I-R-S-T time in the history of AMERICAN Democracy, a Black America MALE stands an excellant chance, a better than likely chance, an above any smear by the other side chance of being elected by ‘We the PEOPLE’ to be OUR next President, our next Commander-in-Chief, OUR next leader of the FREE world. Republicans rant, rant, rant all you like. ‘We the PEOPLE’ STILL remember the LIE you told, the Swift Boat lie with which you smeared an American PATRIOT. And you say you care about veterans. If this is how you show that care then please disregard my retiree status…I NEVER served a single day..

  4. As to you comment (The Illusion of Barach Obama), I have an observation to make. Early on in the primaries, those who track/comment on such things, gave the nomination to Hillary. The GOP spent over TWO years AND over SIX MILLION DOLLARS in an effort to LEGITIMATELYimpeach Bill Clinton. White Water turned up nothing. The so-called File-gate had the same results as did Travel-gate. (you will of course take note of the ‘gate’ suffix attached, by GOP operatives in an effort to put the WATERGATE of Richard Nixon inthe minds of American) For many, many years, the Republican Party has been known as the ‘Dirty Tricks Party’. The REAL reason the GOP spent ALL those taxpayer’s dollars AND wasted ALL that legislative time had a twofold purpose. One, they had no agenda to bring before the nation and Two, they were seeking AND desirous of REMOVING Bill Clinton from office. Sound kinda like a coup d’etat? Does to me too. Republicans knew from the very first days of his first term that Bill Clinton was, politically AND intelluctually an extremely formidable political opponent, more so than they could handle. Republicans impeached Clinton because of a lie, a lie THEY told. In the Paula Jones case, a case in which Mr. Clinton was exonerated, the L-E-G-A-L definition was established by a FEDERAL Judge, Judge Weber-Wright so as to NOT include ANY references to ANY type of oral activity. Sexual activity was defined as ONLY an act involving the sexual parts of BOTH particpants.. This definition was agreed by the lawyers, Democratic AND Republican, from BOTH sides. So why did this ‘lie’ result from a negative answer to the REPUBLICAN question, “Did you have SEXUAL RELATIONS with that woman”? Mr. Clinton KNEW of the definition. Mr. Clinton also the ‘rule of law'[ which, in effect, becomes a law in and unto itself, the ‘rule of law’ known as precedence. Mr. Clinton knew this. His Republican tormentors knew this. I would say that IF a ‘master of illusion’ exists one need to look no further than the NEXT Republican you encounter. Remember the lessonslearned from Hitler, who’s Minister of Propaganda once said, “A lie told often enough, with authority, in time, becomes the truth.”. The more lies Republicans tell the more often, the more folks they WILL dupe into quiet acquiescence. America, please, P-L-E-A-S-E don’t be found ‘asleep at the switch’ with the train of America so in danger of jumping the track!!! The one and ONLY thing merited by the Republican Party is a sure AND certain political demise WITHOUT the sad singing a slow walking.

  5. lookingunderalltherocks . . You are simply misinformed. Research your way into some reality .

  6. lookingunderallthe rocks..,.,you should be looking under Obama’s “rocks” a bit. We know how some elements of the Republican Party work, and now we see the Democrats using the same tactics, with a candidate from a political machine who knows how to use them. I don’t give a damn if he’s a “black man”—he’s an inexperienced Trojan Horse from a gang of thugs, to boot.

  7. Wish this article could get national coverage. He has been sold to the public by the same people who sold us Bush, a ” new version of the invisible man, a candidate whose colour obscures his failings.”

    One matter, small in the scope of things, that bother me is that Obama, wants to expand faith-based spending of taxes. When we learn that “the oppressed of Trinity United Church of Christ are building Wright a $US1.6 million $1.7million), 960sqm home,” and we know that TUCC has received $15m in tax money, how do we know if WE built the lovely reverend his manse?

  8. To lookingunderalltherocks-

    You’ve had a bit too much of the kool-aid. Go sleep it off and re-read what you wrote. I’m a Democrat and I don’t want you speaking for me. I wouldn’t vote for your candidate if my life depended on it.

    You are so typical of the average obamabot. You don’t care that this man is a shadowy figure from nowhere who has changed his platform more often than he changes his socks. You only care that his skin is black.

    I’m afraid that his heart is blacker than his skin. After all he is only half black with a white mother, but his heart and soul are pitch black. Wake up before it’s too late. If you think this elitist would do anything for you once he gets your vote, you are dreaming.

  9. lookingunderalltherocks,

    I would like to thank you for trying to give a civilly worded opinion; many Obama supporters get profane and just call people names. I truly appreciate that you didn’t. However, this is not a Republican site. This is a site dedicated to stopping America from turning into a Socialist/Facist nightmare (a la the NSDAP). As the other posters noted, you presented no reason why we should vote for Obama, other than he is black. You gave reasons not to vote Republican, but I can give you the best reason possible to counter that particular argument: You (and your fellow racist Obama supporters) took away all my other options! There was an illegal primary that was run by thugs and cheaters that are card-carrying Democrats! Now you tell me I should support the candidate they shoved down my throat, after they barred the most competent candidate in years from getting the nomination that was rightfully hers (by popular vote)? Be serious. The best advertisement the Republican party ever had is Barack Obama.

  10. Thanks for sharing this; good to see how foreigners also view Obama after doing some research of him.

    If this doesn’t sum up the Obama campaign, I don’t know what else does:

    “A lie told often enough, with authority, in time, becomes the truth.”

    The scary thing is Obama believes the lies. You can see it in his face seeming to forget that HE is still only a member of Congress. At least McCain remembers THAT. It was Bush who had to remind Obama that he still had a job!

  11. Thisto Briana. I have no need to research anything. I can only report that which I know to be factual. The entire Republican coup d’etat was broadcast live, as it happened both on CSPAN and on CNN. As I retired man, I was able to see it all. Methinks it is thee who shalt be doing the research!!!

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