The Obama campaign has tonight again demonstrated that it will try to silence voices with which it does not agree. This should chill all Americans, for it offers a preview of the tactics to which a President Obama might harness the power of the federal government. The means chosen include harassment of television stations running the 527 group Ayers ad, a demand for a Justice Department investigation, and just last night, disruption of a radio talk show in Chicago that dared have Dr. Stanley Kurtz of National Review, who has been examining the archives of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, in which Bill Ayers and Barack Obama worked as colleagues.
Update: Regarding the Obama campaign’s demands for a DoJ investigation of the 527 group ads criticizing his long association with Ayers, John Hinderaker at Powerline asks:
Obama’s suggestion that it is illegal for a 501(c)(4) entity to fund issue ads that are negative toward him appears ludicrous. Here’s the real question, though: if Obama is elected President, will he appoint an Attorney General who will carry out politically-motivated prosecutions like the one he is now demanding? I suppose we can’t know for sure, but why wouldn’t he? If he demands criminal prosecution of free speech that opposes his political interests when he’s a candidate, why wouldn’t he order it as President?
…tonight, the campaign launched a more specific campaign: an effort to disrupt the appearance by a writer for National Review, Stanley Kurtz, on a Chicago radio program. Kurtz has been writing about Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, and has suggested that papers housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago would reveal new details of that relationship.The campaign e-mailed Chicago supporters who had signed up for the Obama Action Wire with detailed instructions including the station’s telephone number and the show’s extension, as well as a research file on Kurtz, which seems to prove that he’s a conservative, which isn’t in dispute. The file cites a couple of his more controversial pieces, notably his much-maligned claim that same-sex unions have undermined marriage in Scandinavia.“Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse,” says the email, which picks up a form of pressure on the press pioneered by conservative talk radio hosts and activists in the 1990s, and since adopted by Media Matters and other liberal groups.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves. At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz’s lies,” it continues.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Obama Action Wire <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Aug 27, 2008
Subject: Chicago: CALL TONIGHT to fight the latest smear
In the next few hours, we have a crucial opportunity to fight one of
the most cynical and offensive smears ever launched against Barack.
Tonight, WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a
forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears. He’s
currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00
p.m. pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and
University of Illinois professor William Ayers.
Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing
baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of
Call into the “Extension 720” show with Milt Rosenberg at (312) 591-7200
(Show airs from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. tonight)
Then report back on your call at http://my.barackobama.com/WGNstandards
Kurtz has been using his absurd TV appearances in an awkward and
dishonest attempt to play the terrorism card. His current ploy is to
embellish the relationship between Barack and Ayers.
Just last night on Fox News, Kurtz drastically exaggerated Barack’s
connection with Ayers by claiming Ayers had recruited Barack to the
board of the Annenberg Challenge. That is completely false and has
been disproved in numerous press accounts.
It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character
assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our
public airwaves. At the very least, they should offer sane, honest
rebuttal to every one of Kurtz’s lies.
Kurtz is scheduled to appear from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in the Chicago market.
Calling will only take a minute, and it will make a huge difference if
we nip this smear in the bud. Confront Kurtz tonight before this goes
Please forward this email to everyone you know who can make a call tonight.
Keep fighting the good fight,
Obama Action Wire
Obama wants to bring big change to America if he’s elected.
Sounds great. How about forcing your kids to perform 50 hours of community service?
The most worrisome of Barack Obama’s proposals is his goal of bringing most charities under the federal umbrella in part by inducing all middle and high school children to do 50 hours of community service every year.By requiring almost all public middle schoolers, starting at the age of 10 or 11, to join his new cadres of community service workers and become part of his “civilian national security force,” Barack Obama shows himself to be out of touch with American traditions of individual volunteerism.There is nothing wrong with a family allowing a child to volunteer at a young age: in the summer when I was 11, I spent several nights a week working for free at a concession stand in a little league baseball park. My parents were comfortable with this community service because at all times I was under the supervision of my mother’s best friend. Parents then and parents today would like to choose whether their 11-year old child takes on even a part time job, and they would like to choose the job and judge for themselves whether the working conditions are suitable.With his myriad proposals for new “Corps” and his proposal for universal service for all school children, Obama is trying to bring the charitable activities of 50 to 100 million people — about half of them children — under state control. That our government is even capable of running a service program on a scale never before attempted is a matter of faith, not evidence.
Gee. I wonder why we haven’t heard this proposal before. Sounds like Obama has been listening to radical education professors.
Do you think he knows any? *
* In addition to being an unrepentant terrorist, William Ayers is one of the country’s most prominent professors of education.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky
George Will has a warning for Obama before he “feeds rhetorical fishes and loaves to the multitudes in the football stadium tonight.” Be specific:
If Socrates had engaged in an interminable presidential campaign in a media-drenched age, perhaps he, too, would have come to seem banal. But the fact that Obama lost nine of the final 14 primaries might have something to do with the fact that when he descends from the ether to practicalities, he reprises liberalism’s most shopworn nostrums.Russia, a Third World nation with First World missiles, is rampant; Iran is developing a missile inventory capable of delivering nuclear weapons the development of which will not be halted by Obama’s promised “aggressive personal diplomacy.” Yet Obama has vowed to “cut investments in unproven missile defense systems.” Steamboats, railroads, airplanes and vaccines were “unproven” until farsighted people made investments. Furthermore, as Reuel Marc Gerecht of the American Enterprise Institute notes, Democrats will eventually embrace missile defense in Europe because they “will have nowhere else to go short of pre-emptive strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.”Obama, who might be the last person to learn that schools’ cognitive outputs are not simply functions of financial inputs, promises more money for teachers, who, as usual, are about 10 percent of the Democrats’ convention delegates and alternates. He waxes indignant about approximately 150,000 jobs sent overseas each year — less than 1 percent of the number of jobs normally lost and gained in the creative destruction of America’s dynamic economy. U.S. exports are fending off a recession while he complains about free trade. He deplores NAFTA, although since it was implemented in 1994, the U.S., Mexican and Canadian economies have grown 50 percent, 46 percent and 54 percent, respectively.Recycling George McGovern‘s 1972 “Demogrant” notion, Obama promises a $1,000 check for every family, financed by a “windfall profits” tax on oil companies. Obama is unintimidated by the rule against legislating about subjects one cannot define.
Indeed, just recently, several Democrats were imploring Obama to get specific about what kind of “hope and change” he’s talking about. These Democrats just don’t get it. Obama thrives on obfuscation and nebulousness. If he gets specific, someone – or a lot of someones – might not like his ideas. His job is to remain sufficiently obscure until he is elected. And then, like any good disciple of radical Saul Alinsky, he will emerge and show his true colors as a far left liberal who wishes to implement an agenda he never talked about during the campaign.
At the very least, says Will, Obama should get specific about Russia:
When he speaks tonight in a venue consecrated to the faux combat of football, the NATO alliance, which was 12 years old when he was born, may be collapsing because of its unwillingness to help enough in Afghanistan and its inability to respond seriously to Russia’s combat in Georgia. It is unfair to neither NATO nor Obama to note that the alliance is practicing what he preaches: It is preaching to Vladimir Putin, who is unimpressed. NATO, said Lord Ismay, speaking of Europe in 1949, was created to “keep the Americans in, the Germans down and the Russians out.” That Germany’s appeasement reflex is part of NATO’s weakness is perhaps progress, of sorts.Journalism often must be preoccupied with matters barely remembered a week later. But decades hence, historians will write about today’s response to Russia by the West, perhaps in obituaries for the idea of “the West.” If Obama does not speak to this crisis tonight, that will speak volumes.
It is a shame Obama has so much invested in not saying anything. If he didn’t, he could start a real debate about the nature of American power in the world and the best way to use it.
Instead, we are likely to get more of the same; vapid, innocuous truisms and platitudes that serve to give his supporters shiny baubles to look at and admire but leave the rest of us empty and wondering if he will ever get specific about anything.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky