The Real Obama by Thomas Sowell www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/10/the_real_obama.html Critics of Senator Barack Obama make a strategic mistake when they talk about his "past associations." That just gives his many defenders in the media an opportunity to counter-attack against "guilt by association." We all have associations, whether at the office, in our neighborhood or in various recreational activities. Most of us neither know nor care what our associates believe or say about politics. Associations are very different from alliances. Allies are not just people who happen to be where you are or who happen to be doing the same things you do. You choose allies deliberately for a reason. The kind of allies you choose says something about you. Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, William Ayers and Antoin Rezko are not just people who happened to be at the same place at the same time as Barack Obama. They are people with whom he chose to ally himself for years, and with some of whom some serious money changed hands. Some gave political support, and some gave financial support, to Obama's election campaigns, and Obama in turn contributed either his own money or the taxpayers' money to some of them. That is a familiar political alliance-- but an alliance is not just an "association" from being at the same place at the same time. Obama could have allied himself with all sorts of other people. But, time and again, he allied himself with people who openly expressed their hatred of America. No amount of flags on his campaign platforms this election year can change that. Unfortunately, all that most people know about Barack Obama is his own rhetoric and that of his critics. Moreover, some of his more irresponsible critics have made wild accusations-- that he is not an American citizen or that he is a Muslim, for example. All that such false charges do is discredit Obama's critics in general. Fortunately, there is a documented, factual account of what Barack Obama has actually been doing over the years, as distinguished from what he has been saying during this election campaign, in a new best-selling book. That book is titled "The Case Against Barack Obama" by David Freddoso. He starts off in the introduction by repudiating those critics of Obama who "have been content merely to slander him-- to claim falsely that he refuses to salute the U.S. flag or was sworn into office on a Koran, or that he was born in a foreign country." This is a serious book with 35 pages of documentation in the back to support the things said in the main text. In other words, if you don't believe what the author says, he lets you know where you can go check it out. Barack Obama's being the first serious black candidate for President of the United States is what most people consider remarkable but how he got there is at least equally surprising. The story of Obama's political career is not a pretty story. He won his first political victory by being the only candidate on the ballot-- after hiring someone skilled at disqualifying the signers of opposing candidates' petitions, on whatever technicality he could come up with. Despite his words today about "change" and "cleaning up the mess in Washington," Obama was not on the side of reformers who were trying to change the status quo of corrupt, machine politics in Chicago and clean up the mess there. Obama came out in favor of the Daley machine and against reform candidates. Senator Obama is running on an image that is directly the opposite of what he has been doing for two decades. His escapes from his past have been as remarkable as the great escapes of Houdini. Why much of the public and the media have been so mesmerized by the words and the image of Obama, and so little interested in learning about the factual reality, was perhaps best explained by an official of the Democratic Party: "People don't come to Obama for what he's done, they come because of what they hope he can be." David Freddoso's book should be read by those people who want to know what the facts are. But neither this book nor anything else is likely to change the minds of Obama's true believers, who have made up their minds and don't want to be confused by the facts. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Real Obama Part II by Thomas Sowell www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/10/the_real_obama_part_ii.html A recent Republican campaign ad sarcastically described as Barack Obama's "one accomplishment" his supporting a bill to promote sex education in kindergarten. During an interview of a Republican spokesman, Tom Brokaw of NBC News replayed that ad and asked if that was something serious to be discussed in a presidential election campaign. It was a variation on an old theme about getting back to "the real issues," just as Brokaw's question was a variation on an increasingly widespread tendency among journalists to become a squad of Obama avengers, instead of reporters. Does it matter if Barack Obama is for sex education in kindergarten? It matters more than most things that are called "the real issues." Seemingly unrelated things can give important insights into someone's outlook and character. For example, after the Cold War was over, it came out that one of the things that caught the attention of Soviet leaders early on was President Ronald Reagan's breaking of the air traffic controllers' strike. Why were the Soviets concerned about a purely domestic American issue like an air traffic controllers' strike? Why was their attention not confined to "the real issues" between the United States and the Soviet Union? Because one of the biggest and realest of all issues is the outlook and character of the President of the United States. It would be hard to imagine any of Ronald Reagan's predecessors over the previous several decades-- whether Republicans or Democrats-- who would have broken a nationwide strike instead of caving in to the union's demands. This told the Soviet leaders what Reagan was made of, even before he got up and walked out of the room during negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev. That too let the Soviet leaders know that they were not dealing with Jimmy Carter any more. There is no more real issue today than "Who is the real Barack Obama behind the image?" What does being in favor of sex education in kindergarten tell us about the outlook and character of this largely unknown man who has suddenly appeared on the national scene to claim the highest office in the land? It gives us an insight into the huge gulf between Senator Obama's election year image and what he has actually been for and against over the preceding decades. It also shows the huge gulf between his values and those of most other Americans. indergartners to be absurd but there is more to it than that. What is called "sex education," whether for kindergartners or older children, is not education about biology but indoctrination in values that go against the traditional values that children learn in their families and in their communities. Obviously, the earlier this indoctrination begins, the better its chances of overriding traditional values. The question is not how urgently children in kindergarten need to be taught about sex but how important it is for indoctrinators to get an early start. The arrogance of third parties, who take it upon themselves to treat other people's children as a captive audience to brainwash with politically correct notions, while taking no responsibility for the consequences to those children or society, is part of the general vision of the left that pervades our education system. Sex education for kindergartners is just one of many issues on which Barack Obama has lined up consistently on the side of arrogant elitists of the far left. Senator Obama's words often sound very reasonable and moderate, as well as lofty and inspiring. But everything that he has actually done over the years places him unmistakably with the extreme left elitists. Sadly, many of those who are enchanted by his rhetoric are unlikely to check out the facts. But nothing is a more real or more important issue than whether what a candidate says is the direct opposite of what he has actually been doing for years. The old phrase, "a man of high ideals but no principles," is one that applies all too painfully to Barack Obama today. His words expressing lofty ideals may appeal to the gullible but his long history of having no principles makes him a danger of the first magnitude in the White House.