The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Guilt by Association

Guilt by association. It’s a subject that fascinates the MSM at every turn. For example, Rudy Giuliani was justifiably criticized because of his association with former NYC police commissioner Bernard Karik, who has been indicted on “alleged conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the IRS.” (Wikipedia) But at the same time, is it fair? Is it reasonable to tar a political candidate with the negative attributes, opinions, and actions of those people he has associated with? The answer, like or not, is yes.

A politician must choose friends, associates, donors, and advisors carefully. Whom a politician associates with provides insight into his character. Whom he or she chooses as advisors provides considerable insight into the direction is his or her policies as time passes. Whom he or she accepts money from provides an indication of how far the politician is willing to go to stay liquid.

I think it’s fair to state that everyone has some associations that are less than pure. We all know shady characters and might even associate with them for their benefit or ours. But when the list of shady associates begins to grow long, our own character and intentions come into question, and that’s when guilt by association is no longer an unfair indictment but rather a reasonable topic for very thorough investigation.

In a scathing article that dissects Barack Obama’s friends, associates, donors, and advisors, Ed Lasky (hat tip: The Belmont Club) provides an extremely detailed examination of people who are close to Obama. Undoubtedly, some will characterize Lasky’s article as a diatribe that uses guilt by association to tar the “candidate of hope.” But as Lasky points out, Obama’s associations tend to be with people who are far from ecumenical, far from bi-partisan, and far from even-handed in their treatment of foreign policy issues. In effect, Obama has created a community whose world view should be very troubling for those of us in the center. As Laskey notes:
But Obama has on his own volition assembled his networks of friends, mentors, financial supporters and foreign policy advisers. In his judgment -- a judgment that he regularly trumpets as being superior to others - these people are worthy of advising him.

Among those “worthy of advising” Barack Obama are Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., an ardent supporter of Louis Farrakan; George Soros, a far-left billionaire who funds a variety of groups that believe that all the world’s ills are caused by a hegemonic, imperialist America; Zbigniew Bzrezinski and Anthony Lake (past advisors to the same Jimmy Carter whose naïve policies precipitated the fall of a friendly Iran and the rise of Islamofascism), and many other questionable choices. Not one of them can be characterized as bi-partisan. Every one of them ascribes to an ideology that would not dovetail with the world view of the vast majority of Americans.

The MSM in the US has finally begun to explore some of Obama’s associates, but gently and without the enthusiasm that is typically reserved for guilt-by-association stories. Let’s hope the MSM does its job and takes a hard, penetrating look at the people that Barack Obama has around him.

After all, you don’t just elect a president, you select an administration. And as any Left-leaning partisan would argue, we didn’t just elect George W. Bush, we also selected (indirectly) the neo-cons who formulated his policies. Do we want to make the same mistake by electing Barack Obama, only to learn that his administration will be populated by people who make a lie out his claims of bi-partisan change and hope?

Guilt by association? Read the entire article and you decide.