Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is Barack Obama Ready for Prime Time?

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent clear-eyed analysis by John Fund who asks some fundamental questions. But first of all, he notes an astounding piece of evidence that perhaps Obama lives in some sort of alternative universe.
Barack Obama's San Francisco-Democrat comment last week – about how alienated working-class voters "cling to guns or religion" – is already famous. But the fact that his aides tell reporters he is privately bewildered that anybody took offense is even more remarkable.

Let's check this exotic specimen of multiculti background to see if we can discover from his biographical history why he is "privately bewildered that anyone took offense."

He was born in Honolulu of an African father and American mother. His father left the family when Obama was two. His mother remarried and at age 6 Obama moved to Indonesia where he went to school in a Muslim school until he was ten. He then returned to Honolulu and went to one of the most exclusive private prep schools west of the Mississippi, where he was a stand-out athlete. He then moved to Occidental College in LA where more Hollywood films about campus scenes are shot than any other school. After two years at this unusual school, he transferred to Columbia U. on Morningside Heights in Manhattan. Finally, he went to Harvard Law School and upon graduating, moved to Hyde Park in Chicago, a veritable hotbed of intellectual activity, with more Nobel Laureates living nearby than anywhere else in the USA, including Cambridge & Berkeley.

I have spent a week in Honolulu, a month in Indonesia [where my brother now works in a USAID project], and know LA, Columbia [as a member of its Athenaeum] and Cambridge [lwhere my brother-in-law works at Harvard Business School. I can attest that nowhere Obama has lived or has ties to, like his rustic family in Kenya, is anything remotely similar to the average life experience of an American in what liberals derisively call "fly-over country."

Like Michael Dukakis, the cosseted-from-birth son-of-a-Senator Senator Al Gore, or the elitist St. Paul's [where my brother-in-law spent a decade], Yalie Skull-and-Boneser John Kerry, the Democrats are about to choose an exotic out-of-the-box eccentric again as their presidential nominee----and of course their chattering class Nomenklatura is thrilled to be presenting another exceptional, extraordinary, and perhaps fatally-flawed candidate to the nation.

Say what you will about Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, and Bill & Hillary, plus the weird egregious Jimmy Carter. They were autochthonous Americans who did not attend elite schools like Gore's St. Alban's or Kerry's St. Paul's. Bill did undergrad at Georgetown, not an Ivy School, and even Hillary went to a Seven Sister Ivy wannabe, but as anyone who reads Carl Bernstein's excellent book will discover, Hillary Rodham was raised as a normal girl in a Chicago suburb, with strong religious connections.

Obama, in addition to his biographical hometown venue travelogue, finally chose a low-church Antinomian Evangelist in order to get street cred in South Side Chicago. For two decades, he attended a church where "normal" God-fearing fellow Americans were excoriated from time to time in incendiary sermons that sometimes reached hallucinatory intensity. The near-insane pastor married him to a wife who begrudges America for her Princeton undergrad experiences where she "felt" out of place and her Harvard Law School degree which she just may have been enabled to get through Affirmative Action preferences---perish the thought! Now this spouse complains while she garners $350K/year in a "community outreach program coordination" gig for the University of Chicago Hospital.

Obama has been discovered to have also hung around with an unrepentant mini-terrorist named Bill Ayers, whom I met in my SDS days along with his girl-friend, Diana Oughton who blew herself and several other boutique terrorists up making a bomb in a Greenwich Village basement.

This is a very interesting CV with a lot of networking connections from the political Twilight Zone. With such a weird assortment of baggage in his background, John Fund notes about Obama:
Democrats have been worrying about defending Mr. Obama's highly liberal voting record in a general election. Now they need to fret that he makes too many mistakes, from ignoring the Rev. Wright time bomb until the videotapes blew up in front of him, to his careless condescension towards salt-of-the-earth Democrats. Mr. Obama has a tendency to make such cultural miscues. Speaking to small-town voters in Iowa last year, he asked, "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?

Mr. Obama is the closest thing to a rookie candidate on the national stage since Dwight Eisenhower, who was a beloved war leader. Candidates as green as Mr. Obama make first-timer mistakes under the searing scrutiny of a national campaign. Even seasoned pols don't understand how unforgiving that scrutiny can be. Ask John Kerry, who had won five statewide elections before running for president.

Fund goes through the extremely liberal record Obama has compiled as Illinois State Senator and US Senator during his twelve years in public office. Aside from his matchless rhetorical gifts and likable personality traits, there are a lot of unanswered questions about serious issues where his political statements often are vague or conflict with other things he's said in public.
Donna Brazile, Al Gore's 2000 campaign manager and an undeclared super delegate, is worried. "With the Wright controversy still lingering and now Obama's unartful comments," she told CNN, "it will paint the picture of Obama as being 'out of sync.'"

With 81% of voters telling pollsters the country is on the "wrong track," no one disputes Democrats can win in November. Still, it should be a matter of concern to them that both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama currently trail John McCain in general-election matchups. Democrats would be wise to have more debates and sharper exchanges in the remaining primaries. It may help minimize the surprises they are likely to encounter this fall.

Hillary Clinton is going around to superdelegates telling them what Bobby Rush said in a nasty Illinois primary election in the year 2000---that Obama is "inauthentic" and may wilt under closer public scrutiny. What Obama thinks is bitterness due to material poverty affecting small-town religious "clinging to God" may actually, as Hillary says, be an indication of spiritual richness. Her mother's folks hail from around Reading PA in a coal-mining district where Welsh Methodist pastors preached love and brimstone.

No "God Damn America" and shouts from the pulpit about "chickens coming home to roost" from these God-fearing hard-working sons of toil. In that respect, Hillary has a down-home, deeply-rooted sense of who she is and where she has come from. Now if she could only stop fibbing and stretching the truth!

No comments :