Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Three Men Who Can Bring Down Obama

If you think Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been a problem for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, just wait until the attention is focused on his closest political associates in Illinois politics, Tony Rezko, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the man who has been called Obama's political Godfather, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Jr.. Rezko, of course, is the political fixer on trial in U.S. federal court in Chicago. He helped Obama raised $250,000 in political contributions and helped him out with the purchase of he and his wife's South Side mansion. As Obama struggles to put out the fires started by his former pastor, Wright, things are just starting to heat up with these three associates. As the foul stench from daily news of the "government for sale" rolls out of Rezko's trial, implicating persons at the highest levels of state government, even many Democrats in Illinois have had enough.

House Speaker Michael Madigan has advanced a bipartisan constitutional amendment to allow the state's voters to recall elected officials. Specifically, he wants the amendment on the ballot for approval this fall so voters will have the opportunity to recall Gov. Blagojevich before his current four-year term ends in 2010. Madigan says the recall amendment is the state's number one priority for one reason: Gov. Blagojevich. Madigan has a problem though. Sen. Emil Jones, Obama's Godfather, is a partner in crime with Blagojevich. He and his goons in the Illinois Senate killed the recall amendment today. Having spent six years working for the Illinois legislature back in the 1980s, it is astonishing to me that Jones ever managed to be elected by his colleagues as President, let alone lasted all these years in office without being indicted. When he chaired the Senate Insurance Committee years ago, the big joke at the State House was that his committee meetings were nothing more than an auction. This is the man to whom Obama sold his soul when he first won election to the Illinois Senate in exchange for Jones' agreement to help him get elected as a U.S. Senator.

When it's all done and said, you can take it to the bank that Tony Rezko, Rod Blagojevich and Emil Jones, Jr. will become far bigger problems for Sen. Obama and his hope of becoming president than Rev. Wright. An examination of FEC records and Illinois election records found that Obama's campaign raised money from the same Rezko-related Blagojevich donors during the period of 2001-2004. With several associates already pleading guilty to charges and cooperating with federal prosecutors as Rezko's trial continues and with Blagojevich likely to face charges as well, I wouldn't trust any of these guys not to turn on Obama in an effort to avoid possibly lengthy jail sentences. And if that happens, it will make Obama's problems with Wright look like, well, he and Michelle's walk in Indianapolis' Garfield Park yesterday afternoon.


Political Season said...

I read this post twice and then once more looking for an allegation of some sort of actual wrongdoing by Obama. The entire post is guilt by association, without one statement that goes something like "Obama did such and such that was illegal, unethical, or something. The entire post basically says Obama knows some people who are in trouble. That makes Obama like thousands of oher people in Illinois that know him these guys too.

If smear is the order of the day, at least make it a concrete smear.

Anonymous said...

I agree with arron & alaine. Gary,you are, as Obama would say, caught up in the same old politics.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Not hardly. It's time to stop the lie. Obama is not about change. This man is from the most politically corrupt culture in America. He will be exposed. Go right ahead and nominate him. I'm a Republican. This guy will be Swift-boated off the political stage faster than John Kerry was.

Unknown said...

Obama spent 20 years in the pew listening to a man spew hatred about the United States and making ridiculous claims and we're supposed to somehow not hold Obama responsible for that? Oh, and did I forget that he thought so much of Minister Wright that he officiated at his marriage?

Political Season said...

I'm a republican too. As a party, we hardly have a corner on the ethical high ground and our performance these past 8 years has been atrocious. As for Obama, I've already got a Savior, Barack need not apply. Its a measure of how low our expectations of ourselves as a party have sunk that while we champion and trumpet that we have better ideas (and we do) our campaigns revolve around how quickly we can politically destroy the character and reputation of our opponents. Obama as evil is a caricature. He's not evil, and McCain is no saint.

If there is a there there, I'm glad to hear it, but if the crux of the critique of Obama is these are unsavory people that he knows, the problem with that is that those guys are known by a lot of people. If thats all you are alleging its basically guilt by association and smear. We're better than that. I wish we'd act like it.

Political Season said...

Wright is entitled to have an opinion, whether you agree with them or not. In fact, if anybody has earned the right to have a viewpoint about America, its Wright, who is a Marine Corps Vietnam vet and served in the Navy in 1961. He was serving his country on the battlefield in Nam when our current commander in chief was staying out of the fray in the reserves and Cheney was taking advantage of deferments to avoid service. So in my book, the man has earned the right to be critical of his country in ways I never will.

Wright is not running for president and his political opinions won't make a difference to the war in Iraq, won't lower the cost of gas, won't do anything for the economy, you get my drift. Yet we are spending huge amounts of bandwith on this one black pastor, as though there is something particularly unique or special about him or his viewpoint.

Wright's views are not untypical of blacks of his generation, who experienced first hand segregation and much more overt prejudice and bigotry than many blacks today. Further, since when have the political views of your pastor been assumed to be those of the congregants? Do you subscribe to all the political views of your pastor? Hell, many of us go to church regularly and don't follow the spiritual advice given by our pastors, but somehow we all want to conflate Wright's views with Obama's views. Wright said God damn America. Has Obama ever said that? Said anything similar to that? No. You can't find a statement of Obama's where he says anything remotely like the outrageous statements of Wright. But somehow, every foolish opinion of Wright belongs to Obama. Its ludicrous.

Wright's lips move and we imagine Obama speaking. Its ludicrous. I think its a racially biased kind of double standard, that Obama is being held accountable for the silly or wrongheaded views of somebody else. I go to church for spiritual guidance. My pastor has political views and sometimes he expresses them and sometimes I agree, other times I don't. But either way, the pastor is the pastor and I'm me. I think for myself. This idea that the views of one black man should be assumed to be the views of another because they have known each other for a long time is just nonsensical. Never mind that Barack has never espoused the views Wright ascribes to. Never mind that he has been in public service for many years now and never expressed or said anything like what Wright has said. Yet, we excoriate him for the opinions of Wright, though he himself has never said any thing like Wright. This silly notion that Barack should have left the church because the pastor has off the wall political views is equally goofy and would only be a discussion in the context of politics.

When McCain accepts, indeed courts the support of conservative pastors like Hagee, who has made highly inflammatory comments about the Catholic church, without a single word of criticism, its a double standard. Because while McCain has said he disagrees with Hagee's views on the catholic church and what could fairly be termed catholic bigotry by him, he has not repudiated his support, quite the contrary. Now tell me why I should not ascribe the bias of John Hagee towards Catholics to John McCain? If thats going to be the standard, tell me why it does not apply to McCain?

Diana Vice said...

You know what they say, "You're known by the company you keep." Obama was associated with THAT racist pastor for over two decades. Not once did he confront the racist and anti-American rhetoric. He even wrote a book that was inspired by "Reverend" Wright. It's no real stretch of the imagination for people to believe that he privately buys into some of these ideas.

And you've got to be kidding about Haggee. I've heard much criticism about his anti-Catholic remarks. And John McCain repudiated Hagee's remarks.

Obama's associations with several shady characters tells me he lacks sound judgment. He's simply not fit for public office of any kind.

varangianguard said...

The late President Truman was groomed by the old KC Pendergast machine on his way up to a Senate seat. But, there was never any impropriety found in Truman's relationship with Pendergast.

Don't immediately assume that Senator Obama is any different.

artfuggins said...

Gary, your obsessive hatred toward Obama is detracting from you blog. Tell us his policy differences you have with him but all of this gossip and innuendo is beneath what you have done in the past. He will be the Democratic nominee and probably our next president. Remember you are from the party that is giving us McCain, Bush, Danny Burton, etc

MissouriDemocrat said...

aaron & alaine I am so happy to read your comments that the Republicans are not perfect. Yesterday I was listening to Rush and this week he has played his "Barack the Magic Negro" song over and over. He said the Democrats have the Black Community snowed into thinking only liberals will help them. A Black caller challenged that assertion. Rush debated him 10 minutes on the issue. How was this man to feel following all those plays of that song which doesn't nothing more than divide rather than unify. If I were McCain/Bush I'd openly castigate Rush for playing such a tasteless song. It portrays a political thinking which is indeed racist.

Political Season said...

@apples of gold,

It is unfortunate in the extreme that because blacks have routinely ascribed the label racist to speech or behavior that really did not warrant it, whites now routinely engage in the same careless behavior and that is part and parcel of the Wright foolishness.

You are asserting that Wright is a racist. First, define what you mean when you say racist so at least I know what that standard means when you say it, and then give me any statement by Wright which backs up the assertion.

I submit that much of what has been ascribed to the man as racist is based on statements that are critical of America, but since when does criticizing the country make you a racist? This kind of lazy conflation of different issues is what makes the conversation about Wright essentially a waste of time.

Further, its lazy analysis by voters. My goodness, if we are going to do this, then for pete's sake, cut to the chase. If you accept the premise that Wright is a racist (I don't, and I submit that people who say he is when pressed, will be unable to state with precision exactly what they mean by that), then the question being asked is "is Obama racist?" Does Obama bear some animus towards white people? If he's president, will he be prejudiced against white people and do things to hurt them? I mean, this has to be the essential issue for why people want to make a big deal out of Wright.

So, if thats what you believe about Obama, that he has animus towards white people, that he would somehow as president work against the interests of white people and discriminate against them, if you really think based on HIS record, HIS words and statements and speeches, HIS behavior in office, etc, well then, you should not vote for him. If you honestly believe that his membership in Wright's church means he has some sort of animus towards white people, okay, fine.

But thats the question. I don't think any reasonable person who looks at Obama's record, his statements, looks at the people who support him, have endorsed him and so on can come to the conclusion that he has an animus towards white people. Its hyperbole and its smear and it even has a sort of sanctimonious "Aha, I gotcha" feel to it, because white people can point to Wright, a black person, and say you are a racist, after so many years of being on the receiving end of accusations of racism, both deserved and undeserved alike. I would submit that it is that dynamic which is fueling this continuing attention to Wright, rather than any real question about Obama's ability to deal fairly with white people. Thats my take on it.

jabberdoodle said...

I'm with you a&a. The attitude that the 'other' party is pure evil is a primary reason we no longer have statesmen for elected representatives. Folks of that caliber are not seen as 'winners'.

As I take it, Obama really wants to change that attitude - and he thinks it can be done. I'd like to think that, but it may be naive. Your point on the need for a reality check on the 'guilt by association' approach to choosing our leaders is refreshing to hear voiced.

Unknown said...


If you really think Truman was able to lie down with Pendergast and his cronies without catching fleas, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

JoeE said...

If there were concrete allegations the thing would be over wouldn't it. The point is there is a lot of circumstantial evidence building up about Obama, and much of it is - yes - associations. You don't dance with people you have nothing in common with. Every day more questions are being composed on Obama's activities with these associates. Lots and lots of crooks, slum lords, unrepentant domestic terrorists as well as three of the most crazy people who call themselves ministers of God. What is so laughable is the naiveté and the extent to which those who adore Obama believe so ardently in his deceit.

Political Season said...


Circumstantial evidence of what? What you are saying is the essence of guilt by association and whats wrong with it. The man's reputation is being mangled purely on the basis of people he knows, not on the basis of anything he has done or said. We pride ourselves on being a country thats about individual responsibility, individual merit, but somehow it seems that in Obama's case, he is responsible for the actions and words of anybody he knows who is the least bit controversial or unsavory.

If thats going to be the standard, at least apply it fairly and also ascribe to him the deeds and words of others he is associated with, like Dick Lugar for example, who he traveled to Russia with to secure nuclear weapons.

Independent said...

I was an Obama supporter until I learned more. He is talking about gimmicks to win an election, well, Obama asked to put signs up at the fuel pumps in his Illinois home senate district stating, "Senator Obama reduced your gasoline prices" after voting for a gas tax suspension in his home state of Illinois. (source: Illinois senate transcript 4/15/2000) pg 80-81

Political Season said...

Appears to be true enough, its right there in the transcript, however, in fairness to Obama, you can't determine the tone or tenor of these remarks from the transcript, and you really didn't say what there is about this particular comment that you think makes Obama so bad. If it was seriously offered, I find it kinda of a "bleck" sort of thing, but in comparison for example to the manner in which Clinton has campaigned which gives me great pause, this is fairly trivial.