By Matthew Vadum
The American Spectator
Published 9/18/2008 12:08:03 AM
With few exceptions, the mainstream media has fallen down on the job covering the meteoric rise of Senator Barack Obama, so when every once in a while a journalist takes an honest, critical look at Obama, people who believe in the democratic process should welcome the discussion. But instead of welcoming the opportunity, the Obama campaign tries to suppress legitimate debate by engaging in Leninist political theater.
If Obama has nothing to hide, what's he so afraid of?
The campaign's Obama Action Wire tried to drown out investigative journalist David Freddoso who wrote the New York Times bestseller, The Case Against Barack Obama, when he appeared September 15 on "Extension 720," a Chicago radio show.
The Obama campaign sent out an emergency "Obama Wire Alert" to supporters, urging them to stir up trouble for Freddoso, whose book is now number 5 on the Times' bestseller list (hardcover nonfiction), the Chicago Tribune's blog, The Swamp, reports. "The author of the latest anti-Barack hit book is appearing on WGN Radio in the Chicagoland market tonight, and your help is urgently needed to make sure his baseless lies don't gain credibility," the political all-points bulletin read.
"David Freddoso has made a career off dishonest, extreme hate mongering," the email claimed. "And WGN apparently thinks this card-carrying member of the right-wing smear machine needs a bigger platform for his lies and smears about Barack Obama -- on the public airwaves."
ANYONE WHO KNOWS David Freddoso knows this is a vicious libel. The hard-driving Freddoso, a veteran of the Evans-Novak Political Report, has great integrity. Instead of giving credibility to wild conspiracy theories about Obama (as some in-the-know conservatives say Jerome Corsi did in The Obama Nation), he has steadfastly refused to adopt the template that other critics of Obama have relied on. Specifically, he rejects the Corsi approach and has earned high praise from commentators such as the Heritage Foundation's Conn Carroll for taking the high road.
In his book, Freddoso writes that Obama is "the least experienced politician in at least one hundred years to obtain a major party nomination for President of the United States," and that throughout his accomplishment-free political career Obama has consistently backed the Chicago political machine over genuine reformers. "He is simply another liberal Democratic politician who will divide America along the same lines as it has been divided for decades," Freddoso writes.
Obama is on record supporting the gruesome medical procedure known as "partial-birth abortion," or as normal people call it, infanticide. As an Illinois state senator, he insisted that aborting babies alive and leaving them to die in a cold, dark closet was a physician's prerogative.
These are all easily verifiable facts, yet the Obama campaign accuses Freddoso of hate mongering.
Here is the campaign's lead example (from the recent Obama Action Wire):
Freddoso asks Barack, "How many unrepentant Communist terrorists do you have as friends?" [p. 126] This question is so ridiculous it refutes itself. Barack might as well ask Freddoso how many leprechauns he's friends with.
The campaign pretends it's like the classic loaded question, So when exactly, senator, did you stop beating your wife? But it's not a "ridiculous" question and it's telling that the campaign refuses to answer the question directly.
Evidence has established that Obama is friends with at least two people with a communist and terrorist past: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, formerly of the Weather Underground. Ayers and Dohrn, the married couple that helped to launch Obama's political career in 1995, were both involved in terrorist bombings in the United States. Members of their cell killed people.
Obama, who has consistently downplayed his relationship with Ayers and Dohrn, has yet to give a satisfactory public accounting of why he thought it was no big deal to be friends with these unrepentant criminals. It is the media's job to keep pressing him, and that's exactly what Freddoso has been doing.
THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN had the same modus operandi August 27 when it attempted to mau-mau Freddoso's fellow National Review writer, Stanley Kurtz, during his appearance on "Extension 720." Kurtz had traveled to the University of Illinois at Chicago to research the education reform project known as the Chicago Annenberg Challenge because both Obama and his friend Ayers were involved in it.
Instead of putting on a campaign spokesman to challenge Kurtz's arguments, the campaign tried to shut down the show. Obama supporters inundated the show with telephone calls and picketed outside the studio. They also called other talk shows and regurgitated the talking points the campaign fed them.
Radio talk show host Mark Levin launched one of his famous "Levin surges" after tiring of the rote recitations from Obamabots on his show's call-in line. Levin read the campaign headquarters phone number on air and encouraged his listeners to swamp that line with complaints.
Will Obama Action Wire launch a vendetta against Levin now?
Freddoso has made it clear he thinks it's silly and counterproductive to wallow in conspiracy theories such as the one that claims Obama isn't a U.S. citizen, the one that claims he isn't a Christian, or the one that claims he is some kind of Manchurian candidate surreptitiously inserted into the presidential contest by America's enemies.
Without name-calling or innuendo, Freddoso makes the case that Obama is simply a liberal machine politician, and "not an agent of hope and change." (See my "Organization Watch" interview from August 26, partial transcript here.)
Freddoso a dishonest, extreme hate monger? Give me a break.
- Matthew Vadum is a senior editor at Capital Research Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank that studies the politics of philanthropy.