Barack Obama: It's more about his choices
By Frank Salvato
Many of the more conservative talking heads – and even some on the Left side of the aisle who support Hillary Clinton – are espousing their concern about Barack Obama's "associations." They point to Obama's spiritual advisor, Jeremiah Write, and note his "friendly" relationship with unrepentant domestic terrorists William Ayers and his partner Bernadine Dorhn and wax alarmingly about his willingness to associate with such people. Certainly, Wright, Ayers and Dorhn are interesting if not contemptible people but a person's associations concern me less than a person's choice to defend those associations.
The moment the Jeremiah Wright issue was brought into the public eye the taboo of aggressively examining the background of the first Black man with a real chance to capture the presidency was lifted. Begrudgingly, the star-struck mainstream media – so in awe of Barack Obama's "rockstar" political presentation – has begun, ever so apathetically, to cover the issues of his candidacy that the new media has exposed.
When the racism and bigotry of Obama's spiritual leader, Jeremiah Wright, was first exposed in February of 2007 by The New Media Journal's Erik Rush in a column titled "Obamination", all those critical thundered that Obama had to denounce not only Wright's statements, but the church and the man himself. What Obama responded with was a denunciation of the statements and a redirection. He chose to redirect the conversation to one about race in America. Obama made a conscious decision – a choice – to tacitly defend his pastor of 20 years even though it was plain to the world that Wright was a bigot, a racist and a socio-political opportunist.
And when the new media brought Obama's "friendly" relationship with unrepentant domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn to the forefront – something that Sean Hannity and the Powerline blog are doing a tremendous job of doing – Barack Obama made the choice to address the issue in exaggerated circumspect. Obama conveniently placed 39 years between the eight-year old Barry, who existed at the moment in time that Ayers and Dorhn enjoined in a concerted effort to blow up the Pentagon, the US State Department Building and the Capitol Building, and the politically astute Barack who not only went to pay political homage to Ayers' prior to his Senate run but insists that he maintains a "friendly" relationship with the former Weatherman. Once again, Obama chose to denounce the actions instead of the man – the people – who perpetrated the actions (this is akin to denouncing the actions of al-Qaida on 9/11 but not denouncing al-Qaida).
As an aside, I am truly perplexed that two unrepentant domestic terrorists, in William Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn, have been permitted to ascend to high levels of academia at such prestigious institutions as the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University's law school. It truly says a lot about the integrity and the ideological mindset of these institutions.
So, with each of the two major crisis that have erupted in Obama's campaign (this excludes the questions surrounding his wife's afro-centricity and hatred for our country and the questions surrounding the depth to which Obama studied Islam) he has chosen – he has made conscious choices – to retain the friendship of those in question. Even though the individuals in question continue to engage in that bad behavior – Wright unrepentant in his "coincidental retirement" and Ayers and Dorhn still espousing their hatred for the United States – Obama finds it acceptable to rationalize away the hatred, be it racial or toward our country.
Many who are outraged, especially on the conservative front, bring up the point that if a conservative were to have been found with the same associations he or she would have had to drop out of the race. While this is almost certainly true I believe a larger point is being overlooked.
The President of the United States makes many decisions, may choices. Some of the most important choices a president makes are who he includes in his cabinet and who he assembles as his inner-circle, his team. These choices serve to empower those who occupy the offices of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the National Intelligence Director, the Director of the CIA and FBI and a plethora of positions throughout the Executive Branch. These "choices" create policy for our nation and in doing so fashion the way we interact with the world community.
Given that Barack Obama is predisposed to rationalizing away the bad behavior of those he keeps as friends and confidants – some rightfully described as racists and terrorists – it is prudent to question whether he has the ability to make the right choices for our country. This is especially relevant at this precise moment in time; when Islamist fundamentalists are – for a third time in the ideology's existence – questing for a global Caliphate and as an encroaching American Fifth Column eats away at the soul of America.
Barack Obama's choices are quite clear. It would seem that the best choice for the future of our nation, come November of 2008, is also quite clear.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for Basics Project a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, Basics Project, partnered in producing the first ever national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is the host of the NMJ Radio show broadcast global on NetTalkWorld global talk radio and broadcast live on BlogTalk Radio. He is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, syndicated on over 25 stations nationally and on The Captain's America Radio Show catering to the US Armed Forces around the world, as well as an occasional guests on radio programs across the country. His opinion-editorials are syndicated nationally and he is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!