Barack Obama apparently wishes his two autobiographies to be the definitive record of his past. He has blocked efforts by others who wish to independently examine his past.
He won't allow his transcript from his undergraduate days at Columbia University to be released.
He won't answer questions about his days at Harvard Law School.
He "lost" his Illinois Senate records. He won't release his application to the state bar, which, as National Review's Jim Geraghty notes raises questions about whether he told the truth about parking tickets and drug use, among other issues. He won't disclose list of his clients from his law firm days or the nature of the work he did for them as a lawyer (his clients include the indicted political fixer Tony Rezko).
He walks away from uncomfortable questions about Rezko at a news conference.
His cultists try to shut down inquiry into his stewardship of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge by sliming a journalist investigating his days at the helm of that group, which blew through $100 million dollars with no discernible benefit for the schools and students that it was putatively designed to help (what does the constitutional law lecturer say to the chilling of free speech by his acolytes?). He tries to muddle his long-standing ties with Pastor Wright by producing a version of his attendance record at Trinity Church that is sharply at variance with previous versions he has given ("Obama Re-invents his Trinity Church History"). The Wall Street Journal joins the battle over Obama's past in today's editorial ("Obama's Lost Years"):
The Columbia years are a hole in the sprawling Obama hagiography. In his two published memoirs, the 47-year-old Democratic nominee barely mentions his experience there. He refuses to answer questions about Columbia and New York -- which, in this media age, serves only to raise more of them. Why not release his Columbia transcript? Why has his senior essay gone missing? [....]
Voters and the media are now exercising due diligence before Election Day, and they are meeting resistance from Mr. Obama in checking his past. Earlier this year, the AP tracked down Mr. Obama's New York-era roommate, "Sadik," in Seattle after the campaign refused to reveal his name. Sohale Siddiqi, his real name, confirmed Mr. Obama's account that he turned serious in New York and "stopped getting high." "We were both very lost," Mr. Siddiqi said. "We were both alienated, although he might not put it that way. He arrived disheveled and without a place to stay." For some reason the Obama camp wanted this to stay out of public view.
What can be said with some certainty is that Mr. Obama lived off campus while at Columbia in 1981-83 and made few friends. Fox News contacted some 400 of his classmates and found no one who remembered him.
Barack Obama is the least-examined Presidential candidate in American history. Partly this may be due to the fact that he has a paper-thin resume and few accomplishments. However, he does have a record and past (he is, after all, approaching 50 years old). An informed electorate is the foundation of American democracy -- a principle which Senator Obama has ignored. The mainstream media -- with a few courageous exceptions (the pages of National Review, Weekly Standard, ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper) -- have aided and abetted Barack Obama's quest to change history retroactively by immunizing him from any serious examination. Meanwhile they send the journalistic equivalent of the dogs of war to create their own history of Governor Sarah Palin (notably by pulling journalists off the terrorism "beat" to cover Palin's record in Alaska).
He accuses people who scrutiny his record of being engaged in distractions or pulls the race card out and slurs them as racists. At times, he has all but accused people who inquire about his record as being stupid. He imperiously declares some areas of his life as being "off limits".
For a man who constantly trumpeted the importance of transparency he seems to be adverse from applying that principle to his own life. He owes the voters a clear accounting of his past.
Why have journalists allowed Barack Obama to avoid scrutiny? The media has been called the Fourth Estate for its crucial role in ensuring that democracy thrives. When journalists abdicate their role, we all suffer. What is Barack Obama afraid of regarding his past? What do journalist fear to find?
When they rely on Barack Obama's version of his life to become their stories they become nothing more than campaign workers laboring away for free.
Come to think of it, this does not seem so far from the truth.