January 10, 2008
Do You Believe in Magic?By Kyle-Anne Shiver
Do you believe in magic? I don't either, but there are few among us who wouldn't agree that Barack Obama's meteoric political rise this year has seemed downright magical.
For a few months, I almost started believing in Obama's magic myself.
I yearn to believe in him; I yearn to vote for him.
I feel that with one punch of my ballot I could give myself a sort of sanctified absolution for generations of my own family's racial guilt.
And I feel this keenly.
I am a white lady, and a mere two generations removed from a plantation in Mississippi. I grew up during the 50s and 60s hearing the stories of grandparents who were raised there, and who spoke as if General Sherman were still burning houses somewhere close by, and the War Between the States had been fought only a few years back. One of the reasons that I'm a Republican today is that I grew up among genuine white racists -- all strident Democrats to their graves.
But I could not vote for a socialist in sheep's clothing no matter how black or white he is, no matter how great he sounds or how absolved it might make me feel about my ancestral guilt.
Magic or no magic.
And Barack Obama's fortuitous climb has really not been quite as magical as it has appeared in the media's glow.
After wading through hundreds of pages this week, looking into the unlikely tale of how a not-even-through-his-first-term U.S. Senator romped his way through Iowa and barely took a stumble in New Hampshire on his quest for the United States Presidency, I don't see even a tiny shred of magic.
I see perfect Alinsky-style jujitsu, turning the opponent's force against him and causing the opponent so much pain that the match is quickly over. That, and a smattering of luck and very shrewd political maneuvering. But certainly no magic.
First, there was the rather cold-blooded elimination of Chicago's genuine civil-rights icon, Alice Palmer, which led to Obama's walk-over victory for the Illinois state senate seat in 1996.
Perfect jujitsu; Palmer tapped out before she even made it to the mat.
Joining the Illinois state senate as the man known "for knocking off Alice Palmer," won Obama the instant attention and alliance of the long-time Illinois President of the Senate, Emil Jones, a distinguished African American of long-standing connections within the Democrat Party.
Merely the result of Obama's jujitsu; nothing magical about that
In 2004, when Republican Senator Peter Fitzgerald decided not to run for reelection, Obama spied his next political opportunity, one that would catapult him from a mere 7-year stint in the Illinois state senate to national prominence.
Obama, who was far behind in the race, benefitted from the collapse of the front runner, Blair Hull, who had bought his way to the lead with a near $30 million TV and radio ad buy, an unheard of level of campaign spending in Illinois. Hull's campaign was destroyed by a series of Chicago Tribune articles which exposed that his ex-wife accused him of physical and verbal abuse, that he had used cocaine in the 1980s, and had been an alcoholic. Dan Hynes, another contender in the Democratic race, was a Chicago political legacy, but ran a dull campaign , and never emerged.
Obama, raised a lot of money quickly after the Hull collapse, and went on the air in the last few weeks with positive image-creating ads that were very effective, much like his ethereal Presidential campaign today. He shot to the lead and then won a stunningly decisive victory in the primary ,garnering over 50% of the vote, displaying the same crossover appeal among white voters that he has demonstrated this year.
Political shrewdness, yes; luck, yes; but no magic.
Enter George Soros Stage Left
Early in the summer of 2004, following Obama's fortuitous primary victory, he got noticed by a mighty hefty Democrat donor, George Soros.
An article, written by Robert Bluey, of CNSNews.com, entitled: "Unlike Kerry, Obama Covets George Soros' Support," included this:
So, while Hillary Clinton was lying a bit low herself, and temporarily out of the prime spotlight (John Kerry was in it.), Obama met with one of Team Clinton's staunchest supporters and allies in everything from 527 largesse to Hillary's think tank, the Center for American Progress (and seemingly every other Clinton project under the sun).
Not only did Obama meet with Mr. Soros, but according to his spokesman, Michael Vachon, there's this:
Shortly after these intimate meetings with George Soros, Obama faced a potential derailment of his national ambitions. In his Senate run he faced multi-millionaire Republican candidate Jack Ryan.
Once again, an operative in another rival's campaign, leaked rumors to the Chicago press that there was an unseemly sex scandal in Ryan's divorce decree from Jeri Ryan. Ryan steadfastly refused to release the records, due, he said, to a desire to protect his nine year-old child.
Ryan's protests were to no avail, however, as suit was brought by the Chicago Tribune and other media to force the records' disclosure. And shortly thereafter, an appointed judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, Robert Schnider, ruled in plaintiff's favor and opened the sealed records. Ryan dropped out, leaving the Republicans high and dry, left to run a move-in candidate with a ghost's chance.
And Barack Obama waltzed into his United States Senate Seat, promising to stay put for a while, but now running for President before the completion of a single term.
Lots of eerie luck, lots of shrewdness, some political jujitsu, yes.
The Real Magic
Obama's supreme de facto political jujitsu, however, may be one of our own foolish acquiescence if not manufacture: the race card.
Obama keeps this card tucked inside his suit wherever he goes, whatever he does. He can't even take it out and discard it. We know it's there; he knows it's there. His community agitator forces and his religious-body forces know it, too.
I feel it every time I put my fingers to my keyboard to write about Obama. And you can bet that every other media person in this Country feels its presence just as strongly.
We have, ourselves, created a national atmosphere so guarded against the slightest charge of racism that we are forced to go to the mat nearly every day and tap out like a wrestler giving up, rather than be assailed by an Al Sharpton or a Jesse Jackson or an Oprah Winfrey or a Jeremiah Wright or a Louis Farrakhan with charges that we are a bunch of white, imperialistic, disgustingly heathen racists.
A similar line is espoused in Barack Obama's Afro-centric church, Trinity United Church of Christ. Is this what Barack Obama thinks of white Americans?
In fear of these kinds of gross accusations, we hold our own throats in a chokehold, and tap out.
Saul Alinsky never even dreamed of such an accomplishment. And we have let it happen to ourselves on our own watch.
Now that Hillary Clinton has demonstrated the power of turning victim status into empathy and enhanced voter turnout, that race card has to weigh heavily on the minds of potential critics of Obama.
What else can one call it but perfect jujitsu?
My thanks to Liam Ford, staff writer for the Chicago Tribune and David Mendell, Chicago Tribune writer and author of Obama: From Promise to Power, for generously sharing their insights. I alone remain responsible for any and all errors and misinterpretations.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.