Corrupt, or Clueless?
By William Warren
With the likes of Rod Blagojevich and his squirrelly, Muppet-like mug occupying the front page of every newspaper and website in the county, another Chicago politician is doing his best to dodge the spotlight—especially when it becomes searing.
For President-elect Barack Obama, the limelight in which he loves to bask can occasionally cause serious burns. So while Governor Blagojevich goes down in flames, the former Illinois Senator is doing all he can not to get caught up in the same conflagration.
So where does Mr. Obama stand on the subject?
Right in the wishy-washy middle.
On Tuesday when the news of Mr. Blagojevich's arrest came to light, Barack Obama weakly said he was “saddened and sobered” by the situation, affirming that he had not been in contact with the Governor or his staff.
However, Mr. Obama's very own senior advisor David Axelrod would apparently beg to differ. Mr. Axelrod stated in a November 23rd Fox News interview that the President-elect had spoken with the Illinois governor regarding the vacant Senate seat, adding that “there are a whole range of names, many of which have surfaced.”
Nevertheless, Mr. Axelrod issued a statement Tuesday night reiterating Barack Obama's account and stating that he had “misspoken” in his earlier comments to Fox News. Do senior political advisors often misspeak about their bosses' recently attended-to political itineraries? It would appear Mr. Axelrod may be on his way to testifying on this case. Perhaps U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald ought to aim his next investigation at Mr. Axelrod.
In any event, Mr. Obama subsequently fired up the rhetoric on Wednesday when he called for Governor Blagojevich's resignation and on Thursday when he claimed to be “appalled and disappointed,” again denying any knowledge of—or cooperation with—the Governor's malfeasance. As he said:
“No representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat."
How are the American people supposed to interpret Barack Obama's most recent smoke signals? For many of us, they seem more like smoke and mirrors.
After all, how can Barack Obama—a politician conceived within and birthed from the Chicago political machine who then operated said machine for over a decade—be unaware of his Governor's corrupt tendencies? Mr. Obama, after all, has been a firm supporter of Governor Blagojevich for years. As he said in 2006:
“If the governor asks me to work on his behalf, I'll be happy to do it… We've got a governor in Rod Blagojevich who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois.”
One can only draw two possible conclusions from this: either Barack Obama was aware of Governor Blagojevich's criminality and is therefore complicit in his corruption, or he is clueless, dense, and entirely out of touch with the world around him.
So is Barack Obama corrupt, or completely clueless?
Given Mr. Obama's cosmic intellect and ivy-league nuance—as the mainstream media and his liberal kin so giddily proclaim—the default answer would therefore appear to be “corrupt”.
But—as his campaigner staffers and dreamy-eyed disciples have declared—Obama is a beacon of hope and an agent of change for a broken and beleaguered political landscape. Perhaps the answer, then, is that Obama is “clueless.”
The disparity here is troubling. Nevertheless, the question is important and ought to be asked not solely with regard to Rod Blagojevich, but all of Senator Obama's relationships.
Take, for example, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the man whom Barack Obama has called his “spiritual mentor” for 20 years. When one particularly viscous, racist and anti-American excerpt from a Wright sermon gained prominence early on in the Democratic presidential primary, Obama quickly feigned ignorance. In addition his apparent absence from church on that particular Sunday, Senator Obama also claimed to be completely unaware of Reverend Wright's propensity to spew hate from the pulpit. As Mr. Obama said in an interview in April of this year:
“I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992. I've known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those that prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church. They certainly don't portray accurately my values and beliefs…I may not know him as well as I thought…”
The same goes for Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko. When Mr. Obama sought out Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn to help jumpstart his political career in the mid-1990s, was he aware that the two aged Chicago elites were unrepentant ex-terrorists? Yes or no?
When Mr. Obama received a suspicious sweetheart house deal from Antoin Rezko in 2006, was he aware that Rezko was under federal investigation for corruption? Yes or no?
When Mr. Obama's senior advisor David Axelrod was supposedly “misspeaking” to the media regarding the President-elect's dealings with Rod Blagojevich, was Mr. Obama aware? Yes or no?
So, again, we ask: Is Barack Obama corrupt, or clueless?
The answer to this burning question, however, is actually rather inconsequential.
The bottom line is that neither corruption nor cluelessness are qualities the American people deserve in their Commander-in-Chief.
William Warren is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.