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

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Best Offense

Whether it’s the NFL or the NBA, every coach will tell you that “the best offense is a good defense.” The Obama campaign has heeded this sage device and has decided that the best defense about questions arising from Barack Obama’s long list of highly questionable associations (Rev. Wright, Tony Resko, Ali Abunimah, Rashid Khalidi, Bill Ayers, among others) and his long standing financial support (via grants, legislation, and earmarks) of ACORN is to trumpet the charge that the McCain campaign is using “guilt by association” or initiating unfounded “attacks” that are both ungentlemanly and unfair.

Many in the mainstream media, who have become an extension of the Obama campaign, recognize the potential damage that a full investigation of any of these associations might do. As a consequence, they have decided to run out the clock, spending little if any time investigating these matters. When forced to confront an issue, say the Ayers connection, the MSM focuses more on the “attack” than on the substance of the charge.

It works. Obama has become the Teflon candidate. Questions about his judgment and character—all tied to the long list of associations, go unanswered. His supporters contend that the questions should never have been asked in the first place or respond that even John McCain palled around the Charles Keating, one of the key bad guys in the S&L scandal in the 1980s.

The problem is that McCain has close to 20 years of important legislative accomplishment that has occurred after his association with Keating. He may have made a mistake in associating with the man, but his actions (forget his words) in the years after the scandal demonstrate clearly that he is a reformer, a bipartisan legislator, and a man with more integrity than most politicians.

What about Obama? His record is so thin that we have no idea whether or not he has gotten beyond his associations. He has done nothing legislatively to indicate that he vehemently disagrees with Wright’s or Ayer’s characterization of his country. He has never sponsored a bill or acted in any way that indicates that he would oppose Abunimah's and Khalidi's views on the Middle East.

The real irony and brilliance of the Obama campaign is that while they use guilt by association as a bogus defense against legitimate questions about their candidate's character and judgment, they have themselves used guilt by association as the centerpiece of their campaign— “four more years of Bush’s America.”

It works … and it appears increasingly likely that it will result in an Obama presidency. But after the celebrations of November 4th, after the giddy pleasure of the inauguration, and after the honeymoon of the first 100 days, the legitimate questions that should have been thoroughly vetted in September and October will remain unanswered.

The one thing that Barack Obama will learn is that there is no such thing as a Teflon presidency. His character and his judgment will be tested by a frightening set of domestic and international challenges. I can only hope that his associations were nothing more than inexperience and that at his core, he is a man who is ready for the most difficult job on the planet.

It would be far better if we knew now, but I’m afraid all we can do is hope.