Include me out
By Michael M. Bates
It's numbing. The adulation, the elation, the mirth, the idolatry, the reveling in every possible facet of Obamaness. And that's just the response of the mainstream media.
There was too much riveting coverage to fully absorb. You were no doubt stunned to learn, about every three minutes, that this year's inauguration was historic. Stop the presses.
Unhappily, some stories didn't receive as much attention as that revelation. One was Jill Biden confiding to Oprah Winfrey's national audience that "Joe had the choice to be secretary of state or vice president." Plugs quickly hollered "Shhh!" to his charming missus, but obviously she has as much trouble keeping her mouth shut as her husband. "OK," she continued, "he did."
She then pointed out that if Joe were secretary of state, he'd probably be away from home most of the time. That's true, and was probably a consideration taken into account by Bill Clinton when he urged his own charming spouse to take the state slot.
Before the day was out, a Joe Biden spokeswoman issued a statement that essentially called Jill Biden a liar. It ended:
"To be clear, President-elect Obama offered Vice President-elect Biden one job only - to be his running mate. And the Vice President-elect was thrilled to accept the offer."
Wouldn't you love to hear the spirited discussion that avowal engendered in the Biden household? And what must Jill's disclosure have done to Hillary's self-esteem? It's bad enough ranking second in the boudoir and second in the primaries without learning you also ran second to Joe Biden in the secretary of state derby.
Another story deserving of fuller press treatment is the saga of Obama's designated treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner. Audited for tax years 2003 and 2004, he had to pay more than $16,000 in taxes and interest.
That's because he, as an employee of the International Monetary Fund, should have paid self-employment taxes. Obamatons contend that this is a problematic part of the tax code, despite the fact the IMF provides written guidance as well as an additional allowance to pay those taxes, and Geithner just made an honest mistake.
OK, let's say we buy that assertion. It doesn't explain why Geithner, learning of his error in 2006, didn't correct his tax returns for the two earlier years that he worked at the IMF. It wasn't until he came under consideration for treasury secretary that he amended his returns and coughed up an additional $25,000 in tax payments.
Moreover, Mr. Geithner used his child's overnight camping expenses to calculate dependent-care deductions. That's not permitted and his accountant told him so. Once again he chose not to amend his filings.
He probably doesn't deserve to go to Guantanamo, if it's still opened, for his erroneous tax reporting. At the same time, it doesn't seem to me that such a person should run a federal department devoting most of its budget to operating the Internal Revenue Service.
Yet another development not getting adequate attention occurred at the "We Are One" concert given for Obama on Sunday. The usual celebrity airheads were in attendance, eager to flash their liberal credentials and possibly curry the favor of the president-elect. Someone who hasn't been welcomed by other chief executives also performed: Pete Seeger.
Seeger was a member of the Communist Party for years and the Red newspaper People's Weekly World hasn't forgotten. It reported:
"How deep the change has already become was evident after Obama's speech, when peace and social justice movement icon Pete Seeger took the stage. . . Tears welled up in this reporter's eyes watching Seeger, who was blacklisted for his political views, perform for an inaugural event."
Another former Communist, Ronald Radosh, who – unlike Seeger – realizes the genuine evil of that philosophy, has written "that Seeger's only consistency was to the current Communist Party line; that in fact, Seeger was antiwar during the period of the Nazi-Soviet Pact; pro-war after the Soviet Union was the ally of the United States; and anti-war during the years of the Cold War and Vietnam."
Seeger defended Stalin, described Ho Chi Minh as having "a wonderful sense of humor," and is now cheering on Obama. And vice versa. That's newsworthy.
The "We Are One" theme comes at a remarkable time. After eight years of liberals bashing President Bush and other Republicans, it's expected that magically all Americans will suddenly, joyously unify as one big happy family under Obama.
That ain't gonna happen. Some Republicans are wishing Obama success. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is one, saying that "We need to get behind our new president and our new Congress," and "support them."
Support them in driving this country into the ground? If Obama delivers on his campaign promises, it'll be an unmitigated disaster. Good luck for him means bad luck for the United States.
Other conservatives may wish the new president success. That's their prerogative. As movie producer Samuel Goldwyn said, include me out.
This Mike Bates column appeared in the January 22, 2009 Reporter Newspapers.