Obama’s Ambition

I have noticed that there are certain similarities between the life histories of Sen. Barack Obama and myself (even though I’m old enough to be his father). For one, we were both community organizers — he in Chicago in the 1980s; I in Cranston, Rhode Island, about 1970. As community organizers, we were both inspired by Saul Alinsky. Obama was working in Chicago, Alinsky’s hometown, where his legacy lived after him. My inspiration came from the fact that Alinsky was a great friend and favorite of the Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain, whose writings I spent a lot of time studying in the 1960s.
Obama and I were both members of state legislatures — he of the Illinois Senate, I of the Rhode Island Senate. And we were both soundly defeated when we ran for the United States House of Representatives. He was defeated 2 to 1 in a Democratic primary contest against an incumbent. I won my Democratic primary, but then I was defeated 3 to 1 when I ran against the Republican incumbent.
Obama and I have each had two books published. His became bestsellers and made him a relatively rich man. Mine have had modest sales, enough to take my wife to dinner and the movies on numerous occasions; I did not quit my day job. Both Obama and I have worked as teachers in higher education — I at the Community College of Rhode Island, he at the University of Chicago Law School.
There, whatever similarities there may be between us come to an end. My political talent was considerably less than his, and my political ambition far, far less. When I was defeated in my race for the U.S. House, my ambitions ended. When Obama was defeated in his race for the House, his ambitions had hardly begun. And we all know the rest of the story: He became a member of the United States Senate, and he’s now on the verge of becoming president of the United States.
It seems to me that my personal history, including my rather moderate level of political ambition, has helped me to understand the apparently dubious associations that have come back to embarrass Obama — I mean Bill Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, and ACORN.
Put yourself in Obama’s shoes when it first seriously occurred to him that he might have a very promising career in politics. You’re an ambitious young man, and you get a chance to enter into an ongoing association with Bill Ayers. Ayers used to be a domestic terrorist; you don’t like that. And normally, as a man with political ambitions, you’d stay a million miles away from a man with that kind of record. Strange to say, however, Ayers seems to have put the Weather Underground behind him and become a respectable professor and community do-gooder in Chicago. People respect him. He’s well-connected. So while it’s strange to think that this apparently solid citizen was once a terrorist, you decide it’ll be good for your political future if you befriend him and work with him.
And then there’s Reverend Wright. You need to belong to a local Chicago church — maybe for the good of your soul, and certainly for the good of your political career. And since you’re Barack Obama, a man who had a Muslim father and Muslim stepfather, it’s doubly important that you join a Christian church — you don’t want some future political opponent circulating the rumor that you’re a Muslim. Now, what’s the best-attended African-American church in your part of Chicago? Reverend Wright’s Trinity Church. So you join, naturally. It’s true that Reverend Wright sometimes says very strange things from the pulpit. But so what? Listening to such nonsense is a small price to pay for the political advantage of being part of the Trinity community.
Next there’s Tony Rezko. Rezko has money — lots of it — and he has lots of friends who have lots of money. If you’re planning to zoom up the political ladder, you’ll need oodles of campaign money — which means you’ll have to make connections with people like Rezko and his friends. It may be true that Rezko is rumored to be a bit unsavory. But what of it? Up till now (that is, up till the time you first began hanging around with him), he’s never been convicted of anything. And besides, if you postpone your ambitions till you find a rich friend with perfectly clean hands, you’ll wait forever. So you hold your nose, and you become Rezko’s good friend.
Finally, there’s ACORN. They’re not very scrupulous about whom they hire to sign up voters, and they’re not very scrupulous about whom they sign up, either. But you have figured that your political career will be based on two main constituency groups: well-educated white liberals plus African Americans. There’s no need to worry about registration rates among well-educated whites or middle-class blacks; they register and vote. But lower-class blacks are another story. ACORN can get them registered to vote, and maybe even get them to the polls on election day.
If you had your druthers, you’d keep your distance from Professor Ayers, Reverend Wright, Mr. Rezko, and ACORN. Had you chosen some line of work other than politics (if you had pursued, for instance, your law career), you could have kept your distance. You could have been an amateur moralist and sneered in a very superior way at the likes of Ayers, Wright, Rezko, and ACORN. But you’re a politician, and you’re a realist. So you don’t sneer. Instead, you embrace these people and use them to your advantage. Of course the day may come when they will cause you embarrassment, and then — ever the realist — you will disown them.
Obama is not a wild-eyed radical (like Ayers); he is not a black fanatic (like Wright); he is not a crook (like Rezko); and he is not politically unscrupulous (like ACORN). He is simply a very intelligent, very realistic, and extraordinarily ambitious man who decided years ago that he would like to go all the way.

By

David R. Carlin Jr. is a politician and sociologist who served as a Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate. His books include "Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?: How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion" and "The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America." Carlin is a current professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island at Newport.

  • dumb but not that dumb

    “Obama is not a wild-eyed radical (like Ayers); he is not a black fanatic (like Wright); he is not a crook (like Rezko); and he is not politically unscrupulous (like ACORN). He is simply a very intelligent, very realistic, and extraordinarily ambitious man who decided years ago that he would like to go all the way.”

    I was waiting for the punchline, instead the essay ends with an a fortiori that sounds altogether like a whoopie cushion….with all the same persuasive power.

    Here’s my response in kind:

    “Obama is a wild-eyed radical (like Ayers); he is a black fanatic (like Wright); he is a crook (like Rezko); and he is politically unscrupulous (like ACORN). He not is simply a very intelligent, very realistic, and extraordinarily ambitious man who decided years ago that he would like to go all the way.”

    In other words:

    1) Born Alive Act
    2) FOCA, and 40,000,000 other reasons and counting…

  • SWP

    That he chose, like so many in his party, to build his career ambitions on a pile of 50 million dead children will hopefully cost him the presidency.

    That he aligned himself intimately with the ambitions of eugenicists and homoactivists will hopefully not cost him his soul.

    If he wins the election, may God have mercy on us all, especially those who are the least among us.

  • Joe Marier

    Stilll, keep in mind that Barack Obama chose his milieu: he didn’t grow up in Chicago, he moved there. Chicago politics was what he wanted, and that’s what he did, and did well. And I say that with a deep love for Chicago…

  • Zoe

    David, thanks for an interesting look at Senator Obama. There is a tendency to see him only in light of his support for abortion rights. My reading on Obama is similar to yours. For many, his views on abortion make him suspicious in every other way. But when you look into the lives of ambitious public figures, you will often find less than stellar associations — people and organizations who are simply stepping stones rather than mentors or friends.

  • Ann

    I think everything you wrote rings true.

    But look at McCain. He dumps his first wife and children don’t speak to him for years. Then goes after Cindy, a 20+ year younger blonde beauty. Marries her like a month after the divorce is final. Admits that he cheated. Oh and Cindy also happens to be the heiress to a massive beer fortune and her and her family and business contact certainly have many connections in Arizona that just might help a young guy get into politics. And don’t forget that nice cushy beer fortune which will keep your lifestyle quite cushy. Coincidence?

  • jamie hunt

    “Strange to say, however, Ayers seems to have put the Weather Underground behind him and become a respectable professor and community do-gooder in Chicago.”

    Seems? Please tell me I missed the sarcasm tag in your article …

    On September 11, 2001, he’s quoted in the NYT:

    ”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.”

    In 2002, Ayers said on the radio, “I considered myself partially an anarchist then and consider myself partially an anarchist now. I mean, I’m as much an anarchist as I am a Marxist, which is to say that I find a lot of the ideas of anarchism appealing…”

    On Sept. 15, 2006, he republished his execrable Weather Underground Manifestos. http://tinyurl.com/6e8dgk

    Hardly the act of someone who’s put the Weather Underground behind him. He’s proud of the association.

    Ayers, Wright, Rezko, ACORN … Khalid, Odingo … one’s a fluke, two’s a coincidence and three’s a trend… this is serial lousy judgment.

  • JC

    I mostly agree with you–one of the things that hinders my own political ambitions is that, the few times I’ve ever tried to get more politically active beyond writing, I left with a bad taste in my mouth.

    As for Ayers, my dad studied Ayers when he was working on his doctorate and had no idea about Ayers’ background. He was actually a big admirer of Ayers till this Obama stuff “broke”. Now he feels kind of intellectually dirty.

    That said, I *do* think Obama agrees with these people ideologically, for the most part. And while his position on abortion is certainly a huge factor in my assessment of him, his views on economics and his New Age philosophy are as well.

    I’ve always said that I think people are making too big a deal of these built-up allegatiosn instead of focusing on the horrible things Obama actually *says*.

  • Joe Marier

    Ann, you have a point. I can’t wait to see the Obama attack ads going after John McCain’s nefarious associations with Cindy McCain.

  • L.B.

    I’d rather lose an election than lose my soul. Salvation won’t be arriving on Air Force One.

  • PerryJ

    If one is politically motivated he can hang out with and take money from anyone he wants?

    Obama is barbaric and cold. This is shown by his support for letting children die who survive an abortion.

  • CK

    Those inempt and unsavory, freely chosen associates upon whom Mr. Obama quickly built his career, without taking positions for posterity to judge, were not simple one act characters in his play. They are woven in and out of his tapestry and to whom he still owes his dues, btw. You wish to remove him from such consequences based solely on his belated and unconvincing steps aside? Just who footed his many bills…for his elite education for instance…his desired property…and coverups for his inflatedly described accomplishments as well as the possibility of a fraud of constitutional qualifications for the position??? And if they are not politically satisfied in the future?

    The description that no one has as yet strongly emphasized in this man’s situation as it stands today is “puppet”. So he just had to hold his nose and accept favors from whomever? And who will now offer same such incentives for this man when he gains a power that no other such inexperienced and untested candidate has ever been given? Many now of a more foreign nature indeed, after a more careful scrutinizing than the innocent populace of our own nation, give us hints of just who may be the future puppeteers of such a “one”. Ambition? Or a dangerous narcissim as has been seen in formerly dangerous leaders?

  • Deal Hudson

    I accept much of what Carlin says above, but I hear in Obama’s voice, the sound of committed liberal and a committed supporter of both abortion and gay marriage. Does the word “radical” apply? Certainly on some issues it does. Does it apply to his policies in general? Maybe far-left or extreme-left are more apt. It’s hard to believe, however, that Obama snoozed through Rev. Wright’s sermons for twenty years — he’s not the kind of preacher you can ignore.

  • mark

    Obama is a democrat, most like Pelosi, Kennedy, Pat Leahy. THEY ARE NOT LIKE Pope Benedict, or JPII. They support and encourage abortion, with our money. They support gay marriage. They think and may as well claim to have the same insight and knowledge of the Holy Fathers. They also wish to do away with the second amendment and bring us the so called “Fairness Doctrine”.

    Actually since Hitler, and Stalin and Mao all legalized abortion and confiscated firearms, I have to say Obama and some Dems. have something in common with those tyrants. Additionally, Hitler encouraged a sort of enviromentalism, like some in politics today: the enviroment is as important as people.

    Interestingly, the two Bush and Reagan had more similar to the Popes in their submitting to the pro life movement. Though they were Protestant, they gave us three Pro life justices, defended traditional marriage, and were and are against using taxmoney for abortion.

    McCain and Palin know personal suffering and sacrifice better than Obama. McCain in his suffering for his country, and Palin in raising 5 children, and having the 5th inspite of a handicap. Ask yourself which candidates do the anti clerical media support. The more Bush gets trashed, the more I’m glad I voted for him. It may be the same for McCain.

  • Claire

    It does not matter to me that Ayers was a terrorist. It would be great if he would apologize for blowing buildings up and killing people, but to each his own. My problem with Ayers is that he is still a radical, just a more subtle and insidious kind. I’m talking about his views on education. He co-founded the Small Schools Workshop in Chicago, which was meant to “radicalize” students (Ayers’s word, not mine). It had the goal of using all subjects to indoctrinate children in socialism. Now, not all socialist ideas are bad – applied in moderation, they can be quite helpful. However, using math problem to teach kids about the unequal distribution of fresh produce for example. Maybe you agree with this or maybe you don’t, but the fact of it is that neither this nor the Annenburg Challenge actually helped school kids in Chicago. Their scores are just as bad as ever. Yet Obama thought it worth giving them almost $2,000,000. Maybe they should worry about teaching kids to read, write, and do math, before worrying that they don’t have progressive social ideas. Those values should taught by their parents, not the schools. There is an article here:

    http://tinyurl.com/5sjot4

    My biggest problem with Obama is extreme pro-abortion stance. My second biggest problem with him is his dangerous foreign policy, almost tied with his naive economic ideas. But next on that list, and it actually informs some the above points, is his notion that the job of the government is provide ideals – to “heal the soul of America”. The government cannot make you happy, and it cannot make you just. If you take his rhetoric at face value, it should give you enough reason not to vote for him – he thinks it’s up to him to change the country. The most any president can do is change the government, and that’s even a long shot. At best he will not live up to his promise.

  • Mark From Grand Rapids, Mi

    Mr. Carlin,
    Like others, I found your article compelling up to the point I realized there was no punch line. Unlike you, I still believe we can tell MUCH about a person by the company they keep. Advantageous or not, Obama’s associations (at the very least) tell us who he’s beholding too.

    Would your philosophy change if your intelligent, very realistic, and extraordinarily ambitious children hung out with a wild-eyed radical (like Ayers); a black fanatic (like Wright); a crook (like Rezko); and worked for a politically unscrupulous organization (like ACORN)? I would hope you’d be smarter than that.

  • Marie

    Every Christian reading this blog needs to be informed that
    Saul Alinsky dedicated his book “Rules for Radicals” to Lucifer.

    Alinsky – Ayers – Obama

    There’s a pattern here people – wake up!

  • Tricia

    Is this an endorsement for BO? Please, sir, explain your intent to the Catholics on this site…

  • lwestin

    Bad case of relativism happening in Carlin’s mind. Relativism may be o.k. for a Democrat, a Republican, an atheist, or multitudes of others, but it isn’t ‘o.k.’ for Catholics. Especially educated Catholics have plenty of opportunity to use their faith and reason to arrive at TRUTH. For an educated ‘Catholic’, relativism is a choice – one that makes swallowing Obama manna possible.

    Carlin should know better.

  • Brian Saint-Paul

    Is this an endorsement for BO? Please, sir, explain your intent to the Catholics on this site…

    Hi Tricia,

    I don’t want to speak for Professor Carlin, but you may not be familiar with his past IC columns wherein he has written extensively — and critically — about Barack Obama:

    http://tinyurl.com/5arneu
    http://tinyurl.com/6d563c
    http://tinyurl.com/5bb9nz

  • NorthoftheBorder

    …that speaks of the depths he’s willing to go to…”What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his very soul?”…and all that jazz….

  • Bobby

    McCain is a wild-eyed radical (like G. Gordon Liddy); he is a white fanatic (like Hagee); he is a crook (like Keating); and he is politically unscrupulous (like ACORN, an organization he addressed in person and praised to the high heavens in 2006). He is not simply a very intelligent [DEFINITELY NOT!], very realistic, and extraordinarily ambitious man who decided years ago that he would like to go all the way.

  • Rose

    I agree with “dumb but not that dumb.”
    This article is nothing more than an excuse for the author’s choice for Obama & the timing is calculated. It may even have been written to soothe his conscience this side of Heaven, but it won’t smooth talk God or mean a hill of beans to all those aborted innocent souls that Obama & those who support this intrinsic evil with laws to further evil agendas are ignoring.

  • Marjorie Campbell

    Instead, you embrace these people and use them to your advantage. Of course the day may come when they will cause you embarrassment, and then — ever the realist — you will disown them.

    Mr. Carlin, Thank you for an interesting article. I offered a very similar analysis to an Obama-supporting friend of mine to explain why I did not trust Mr. Obama’s judgment about people. He was either not mature enough to say “No” to radical people he should have, or their association reflected more about himself than he is allowing now. But you missed one association – which I also rely upon in my analysis of the man who wants to make judgements in the international arena on my behalf – and that is his association with Planned Parenthood. I could imagine, in your line of thought here, that Mr. Obama’s failure to vote for the born-alive legislation that even Barbara Boxer supported on the national level was one of those “use them to your advantage” moments with Planned Parenthood. Since then, however, he has fully embraced that association and its radical agenda, and made it his own with any number of promises, including a promise to sign FOCA. Planned Parenthood’s balance sheet stands to burgeon nicely should this dear friend of theirs become their dear friend in the White House. That’s one association that transcends the political.

  • meg

    Ayers used to be a domestic terrorist; you don’t like that. And normally, as a man with political ambitions, you’d stay a million miles away from a man with that kind of record.

    …but if you weren’t a man with political ambitions you WOULD hang out with him? I’d say most Americans would avoid hanging out with domestic terrorists, but that’s just me.

    Am I losing my mind or does this piece basically say as long as you’re running for political office you can hang out with whoever you want, as long as you can rationalize it later on so it doesn’t hurt your ambitions – that is the only criteria? Anybody else see this?

  • John Jakubczyk

    …the more they remain the same. I think the point of the article was the article was the similar paths the two men began. Obviously one chose not to “sell” his soul and hte other has already done so.

    Perhaps the comment about Alinsky dedicating his book tr Lucifer was not simply ironic.

    Whether Obama is simply Machiavelli in he 21st Century or worse, it does permit us to ask to what extent one can support a person who has forsaken the virtues that we desire for public office.

    Essentially it once again reminds us htat character matters.

    Unfortunately for many it is the celebrity status and hte perks that matter.

    Finally on the cheap shot taken at McCain. John McCain’s first marriage may or may not have been the right thing for them to have entered. He admits he was responsible for its failure. His first wife never has made a public negative remark about the situation. He has a relationship with his children including the ones he adopted from that marriage. I was not here to advise him on his life and I find it interesting that everyone will readily excuse pro-abortion Catholics who dissent from the Church’s teachings on marriage, human sexuality and abortion, but enjoy attacking a non-Catholic who readily admits his failures form the past. Since forgiveness and mercy are suppose to be our stock in trade, I would suggest hat those who want to defend Obama and his character do so on the merits of the argument.

  • Joe Marier

    More on Saul Alinsky and Rhode Island politics, please!

    I’m sorry. I love stories involving political machines; I can’t get enough of ’em. It’s probably wrong of me, though.

  • Fran

    The author apparently has the ability to read minds and motives. I’m not buying his analysis. Only Obama knows why he did what he has done. Maybe it was all done for calculated political reasons, but maybe not.

    With regards to what the author says about Obama joining Trinity Church, check out Obama’s speech on politics and religion on his campaign website. Worth reading.

    Also, everyone who thinks Ayers and Obama are BFFs, look at Factcheck.org. It’ll set you straight.

  • Regina

    Let’s say (all fantasies require that you accept the impossible) that Obama doesn’t associate himself philosophically with Ayres, Alinsky or Wright. Still, Obama is their man for president.

  • Nathan Cushman

    The author never says Obama’s decisions are good, justified, or in any other way appropriate. All he’s saying is that these associations are not out of the norm for a politician. This is part of the problem with politics.

    The government, academia, and the media are partly as screwed up as they are because most highly moral folks can’t quite justify doing some of the things that these people have to do to get their position. The other thing is that they are more likely to be drawn to leading in a more religious career than such a messy secular career.

    Honestly, I can’t stand some of Obama’s positions. And I’m worried about the future of our religious freedoms if the state starts forcing us to recognize and accept “gay marriage,” and abortions as “perfectly moral” decisions.

    But this in no way disproves the author’s point that Obama is mostly behaving the way politicians normally do. Still, we can weigh this against McCain’s associations, and perhaps Obama does leave more difficult questions about his past unanswered.

    McCain admits his divorce was a foolish decision. Hagee wasn’t McCain’s pastor, just an acquaintance. So perhaps his skeletons are less damning?

    I personally think it says something if you’ve been going to a church for many years and you don’t agree at all with the pastor. It says you don’t really care about church. If you took it seriously, you would have found a pastor you could trust to lead you on the right path.

  • JC

    Good point, Nathan.

    One thing no one seems to talk about, in all the talk of what exactly Obama’s “religion” is, is what he’s said in regard to his private schooling in India.
    He said that he attended Muslim school for 2 years and Catholic school for 2 years, and made fun of religion class at both.

  • John

    Obama seems to me is somthing of a cold blooded person, as he has voted on in particular baby KILLING , THINK now a person of this caliber is just that what he prescribes, where will he stop, if one has no mercey for Babies in the womb, he wont have a care in the world for getting rid of people either, when and where will be of no matter to him, this is very frightening to me as it shoulld be to all of the U.S.A. with the power of the presidency , whats next AMERICA VOTE WITH YOUR HEART….

  • Fran

    Let’s say (all fantasies require that you accept the impossible) that Obama doesn’t associate himself philosophically with Ayres, Alinsky or Wright. Still, Obama is their man for president.

    ]]

    What is your point, exactly?

  • Regina

    People with terrorist, demonic, and racist thoughts in their brains want Obama to be the next president! That’s scary, whether Obama considers them friends or not.

  • kold
  • kold

    Got moxie? Most of U.S. don’t. God’s a concrete, kick-ass reality which BO doesn’t seem to notice; he seems to think he’s separate from what we ALLL have to succumb to someday – death. I guess the Bible’s RITE: a few will ascend, most will descend. God bless you.

  • prayerwarrior4Jesus

    Thank God not all people have fallen for Obama’s smooth-talking! The writer assumes Obama is going to win–“and he’s now on the verge of becoming president of the United States.” But it’s not over until ALL the votes are counted, excluding all the fraudulent votes. It may take a while. We must pray that he doesn’t win and pray even more if he does. Obama is a dangerous man who has managed to fool many people. Anyone who is ambitious at all costs, especially killing babies, bragging about his record to NARAL and Planned Parenthood, then lying to the American people, will do anything, say anything to get elected. Even many blacks don’t trust him. http://www.atlah.org/broadcast/ndnr10-17-08.html

    There is much about Obama that we don’t know, much he has purposely hidden from the people he “wants to serve.” How can he say he didn’t hear the things Jeremiah Wright said in 20 years? That insults everyone. He is lying! He’s just like the kid who got in trouble, then tries to worm his way out of it. Only this is very serious and we’re not buying it.

    There are so many of these issues: Ayers, ACORN, his lack of support from his grandmother, his past relationships in Chicago, his slum properties–he is not whom people think he is. Barack Obama is a fraud who disdains most American and many things American. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He wants power in order to change what he believes needs to be changed in the United States. And the Congress is poised to let him do whatever he wants–be assured of that!

    PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! God is still God, He is still in control and we trust in Him!

  • dave carlin

    When I read some of the comments on my “Obama’s Ambition” essay, I had to ask myself, “Am I an especially sloppy writer, or are some people especially sloppy readers?”

    How anybody could imagine that I am endorsing Obama puzzles me. I am simply offering a hypothesis that explains his associations with Ayers, Wright, Rezko, and ACORN. He is an intelligent, ambitious, and opportunistic politician — as are all great politicians.

    As for his thoroughgoing support for abortion, I am well aware of it, and this is the main (though not the only) reason I’m not voting for him. But this too can be explained by his ambition. I see no reason to suppose that he’s convinced deep in his heart about the merits of abortion rights. But he knows that a Democrat nowadays cannot go to the top if it evokes the enmity of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the ACLU, etc.

    Obama is a brilliant politician. I regret that his political calculations have made him the enemy of things I believe in. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that he’s a brilliant politician.

  • Rebekah

    If being pro-choice is no big deal, then why have other pro-choice candidates Catholic candidates been denied communion? It is a big deal! So is “spreading the wealth around” and his other Marxist ideas. Not to mention the law suit against him in Pennsylvania about his citizenship. He has yet to produce a valid birth certificate. Wake up people!

  • Tim G.

    Seems there are a lot of presumptions in this article about Obama and giving him the benefit of the doubt. But here is the facts, he is pro choice and the most radical of pro choice. As a Catholic he is unsupportable by those who take their faith seriously. A vote for Obama is a vote for furthering abortion rights, and furthering homosexual rights, two of the greatest evils of our time.

  • Fran

    People with terrorist, demonic, and racist thoughts in their brains want Obama to be the next president! That’s scary, whether Obama considers them friends or not.

    This is seriously flawed logic, Regina. The same could be said about the crowds at McCain/Palin rallies, who have yelled things like “Kill him” and “Terrorist!” and “Off with his head!” when Obama’s name is mentioned.

  • dumb but not that dumb

    Mr. Carlin,

    I didn’t think you so much endorsed Mr. Obama (being familiar with your other writings) as you attempted to sanitize your decision not to endorse him….

    Neither sloppy reading (on my part) or sloppy writing (on your part), simply sloppy thinking on the issue of Mr. Obama’s associations.

    Dare I say, regarding Mr. Obama, that if it brays like a donkey (sic), and kicks like a donkey, chances are….

    On the other hand, maybe The One is that rare exception to the aviary rule of feathers, but I really doubt it.

  • Joe H

    Have any of you even bothered to look at the board that Obama was coincidentally on with Ayers?

    “Woods Fund of Chicago is a grantmaking foundation whose goal is to increase opportunities for less-advantaged people and communities in the metropolitan area, including the opportunity to shape decisions affecting them.”

    From their website. Yes, this sounds like a) evil, scandalous activity, b) the place where someone motivated by sheer ambition would spend their time. Give me a break.

    You folks realize that there were Reagan Republicans serving on that board too, right? How many Republicans on the board said, “wait, this is Bill Ayers – lets get out of here”? How many? I would have stayed on the board too, because I’m not hysterical and irrational.

    What about McCain’s associations? A group denounced by the Anti-Defamation League as infested with anti-Semties? G. Gordon Liddy? Charles Keating? People are letting their visceral hatred for Obama’s policies turn into an irrational condemnation of everything the man has ever done. I wouldn’t be surprised if crackpots start seeing secret Muslim/commie messages in the patterns of his tie.

    Michelle Obama was derided by conservatives for saying that she is, for the first time, proud of her country. Given what black people have historically suffered in this country, I don’t have a problem with their reservations on that score. But reading some of the hysterical comments here, I can say I’m ashamed of America in general.

    Oh, and spreading the wealth around – that’s a Christian idea, it’s in our Catechism and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, explicitly. See my last post on the tax article.

  • Fran

    Well-said, Joe. The Ayers thing is much ado about nothing. If you want to criticize Obama for other things, fine. But the Ayers charge is a horse that won’t run.

  • Adriana

    So Obama is an ambitious politician.

    Do you know any unambitious politicans who run for President?

    As for the Ayers thing, do you know what “beating a dead horse” means?

    Why not ask why so many prominent Republicans gave money to the group Ayers was part of? Why didn’t they vet the staff better? Why are they so careless with their money?

  • Anne

    If you lie down with pigs, you get up smelling like garbage. Obama chose his friends and associates and used them in his rise to power. Now, when it’s expedient, he distances himself from them. Is this the kind of leader we want?

  • Stephanie

    [smiley=shock] So, it’s ok to vote for someone who has THE most AWFUL judgement and character??? Somone who is so blind that the only types of people he “uses” to further his political career are THOSE people?…SERIOUSLY!?…You’re kidding, right? Is that REALLY the kind of man we want to be the leader of our country? UUGH!

  • Andrew

    It was nice to read a “realistic” diagnosis of Obama’s associations, a similar analysis which could be made about any successful politician’s relationships. To me, it’s a stunning refutation of the belief that he would in any way be naive in foreign relations.

    Speaking of realism, I applaud Obama’s position that we should work together on the things we can agree on, such as reducing the number of abortions. We can shout ourselves hoarse about principles that our opponents will never accept – and thus remain ineffective; but far more useful, far more Christian, for us to swallow our pride and make real progress.

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