June 12, 2008
It's Getting Crowded Under Obama's Bus
On Tuesday, Barack Obama faced the glare of the cameras and tried to deal with what was rapidly becoming one of those "distractions" he so despises.
It turns out that the man he chose to head up the steering committee to help him choose a vice president, Jim Johnson, had a past that was making Obama out to be a hypocrite on the sub-prime mortgage crisis. After Obama skewered John McCain for his connections with sub-prime lenders, it appears that Mr. Johnson made McCain's connections look positively innocent by comparison.
Johnson, Fannie Mae chief from 1991 through 1998, received more than $7 million in real estate loans from a program open only to "friends of Angelo." The "Angelo" in question is none other than Angelo Mozilo, CEO of Countrywide Financial Corporation. Obama, who has heavily criticized Mozilo for accepting hefty bonuses despite the sub-prime crisis, evidently didn't vet Mr. Johnson thoroughly and failed to discover the sweetheart connection.
It should also be noted that according to the Chicago Tribune, the practitioner of "new politics" accepted $1.9 million from sub prime lenders, which only goes to show that when it comes to a decision between engaging in the "new politics" and old fashioned money grubbing, "new politics" gets the shaft.
The revelations about Johnson led to an incredible exchange with ABC News reporter Sunlen Miller, who grilled Obama on why the information hadn't been discovered by the campaign before he hired him. The ensuing explanation by Obama is a jaw dropper.
So without further adieu, I give you, ladies and gentlemen, Barack H. Obama -- Columbia University graduate, Harvard Law, President of the Harvard Law Review, and noted American orator:
"Now look, the, the, ah, ah, ah, I mean the uh first of all uh I, I, I am not vetting my VP search committee for their mortgages so you're going have to uh d-direct... Well, nah I mean becomes sort of a... um... I mean this is a game that can be played everybody... It who is tangentially related to our campaign I think is going to have a whole host of relationships. I would have to hire the vetter to uh vet the vetter."
It gets murkier -- or more bizarrely incoherent. The following was cleaned up by the ABC website and made into something printable:
"Jim Johnson has a very discrete task," Obama continued, "as does Eric Holder, and that is simply to gather up information about potential vice presidential candidates. They are performing that job well, it's a volunteer, unpaid position. And they are giving me information and I will then exercise judgment in terms of who I want to select as a vice presidential candidate."So this - you know, these aren't folks who are working for me," Obama said. "They're not people you know who I have assigned to a job in a future administration and, you know, ultimately my assumption is that, you know, this is a discrete task that they're going to performing for me over the next two months."
Whassat? What'd he say? Johnson doesn't really "work" for him because he's a "volunteer" in an "unpaid position." And after all, he hasn't promised him a cabinet post so it's really OK that he didn't vet him and besides this is just a "distraction" so can we please get back to your slavish worship of my awe inspiring talents?
Well, on Wednesday, Johnson "unvolunteered" himself from the campaign:
I believe Barack Obama's candidacy for president of the United States is the most exciting and important of my lifetime," he said, according to a Bloomberg report. "I would not dream of being a party to distracting attention from that historic effort."
We all know how much Obama doesn't like "distractions." Obama himself cried a few crocodile tears in giving him the heave ho:
"Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept. We have a very good selection process underway, and I am confident that it will produce a number of highly qualified candidates for me to choose from in the weeks ahead. I remain grateful to Jim for his service and his efforts in this process," Obama said in a statement.
So, another Obama associate is thrown under the bus. One might begin to wonder if there are more people riding on the Obama express or underneath it. Think of all this guy's friends, staffers, spiritual advisors, and assorted far left radicals who have been given the equivalent of a pair of cement galoshes and thrown into the Chicago River. A partial list:
1, Samantha Power, foreign policy advisor, who ended up being just a little bit too frank about some of Obama's less than mainstream plans for Israel and other places if the candidate were to win office.
2. Austan Goolsbee, economic advisor, who whispered to the Canadian government sweet nothings about his boss's NAFTA switcheroo in Ohio -- Obama running around the state, breathing fire about the evils of NAFTA and how he would renegotiate the treaty while Goolsbee was telling the Canadians that the candidate was just politicking and had no intention of touching the treaty.
3. Reverend Jeremiah Wright, friend and spiritual advisor for whom the candidate bravely stood up -- at first -- until Wright's performance at the National Press Club caused the candidate to open the door himself and push the old man under the wheels.
4. Father Michael Pfleger, friend and spiritual advisor, whose spittle flecked rant at Trinity Church against Hillary, America and white people forced the candidate to leave his boot print on the good father's rear end as he too was impelled from behind under the Obama Greyhound.
5. William Ayers, terrorist and future Secretary of Education in an Obama Administration. Well, probably not. But Obama's dismissal of his former boss and friend as "just a neighbor" no doubt hurt the terrorist's feelings but became necessary when the press started to get curious about what a candidate for president was doing associating with someone who doesn't regret blowing people to smithereens.
There are more -- the undercarriage of that bus is bloody indeed. There's the entire congregation of Trinity United Church who now must practice their Black Liberation Theology and "anti-middleclassness" without the man who apparently spent many a pleasant Sunday sleeping through sermons -- or so he would have us believe.
But there is a monumental difference between Obama's previous actions in washing his hands of wayward staffers, bigots, and radicals and having to toss Jim Johnson out the window.
The others were handled when he was simply a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. But his choice of Johnson to head up the most important job he has between now and the election -- choosing a vice president -- was made as the presumptive nominee.
In short, Obama's first major decision as the nominee for president of his party was an unmitigated disaster.
Not only did he choose someone who opened him up to charges of being a rank hypocrite. But the way he handled himself in off the cuff remarks in trying to defend Johnson was shockingly incoherent and stupid. Trying to pass Johnson off as someone who didn't work for him? That's childish in its attempt to avoid responsibility. One might expect a 7 year old to deny breaking a dinner plate by saying something like "I didn't drop it mom, it fell." But when the potential next president of the United States tries to run away from his mistakes, we can ask legitimate questions on how this man will perform if he reaches the oval office.
Craig Crawford brings up another point:
Obama's cavalier response utterly contradicted his campaign's supposed crusade for reform. Not only did those words come across as tone deaf to the very ethical issues that he has raised in this election, but his remarks sounded like the ethical relativism we so often hear from the Washington business-as-usual crowd that Obama claims to be running against.
Chris Cillizza recognizes the danger Obama exposes himself to by latching on to people like Johnson:
For Obama, any questions in voters' minds about whether he truly is a change agent or is legitimately committed to breaking the alleged stranglehold lobbyists and other power brokers have over the political system is potentially disastrous. Because of the peril involved, it's not terribly surprising that Obama moved quickly to "fix the glitch" once he realized questions about Johnson weren't going away.Seen another way, however, this episode could forebode poorly for how Obama handles the various slings and arrows sent his way by Republicans and their famed -- and effective -- noise machine.
This is where the national press has done a heroic job in keeping a well kept secret of Obama's associations and actions in his past that would expose him as the hypocrite he is. No real attempt has been made to ferret out the truth of what his career was like as a Chicago politician. The Obama campaign would blow up if the press ever read some back issues of the Chicago Tribune or Sun Times.
Instead, it is as if Obama sprang fully formed into the world of national politics, unsullied by grubby special interests and lobbyists who afflict everyone else in Washington. His holy throat and golden tongue will lead a revolution that will make America a paradise of unity and happiness.
All I can say is we better snap out of it before we elect the most incompetent, the most naive, and perhaps the most dangerous man ever to run for the office of the president.
Rick Moran is the associate editor of American Thinker and proprietor of Rightwing Nuthouse.