Thomas Lifson explains how Obama’s press honeymoon came to an end. The Left is still screaming about how unfair it was for George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson to ask all those questions about Obama’s character and associations, instead of getting out of the way and allowing him to make broad, vague, and general policy promises.
Barack Obama’s campaign has been all about image. The well-dressed, impeccably groomed, and elegantly articulate speaker was able to speak of hope, change, and unity, and for awhile the public bought it. Capitalizing on the huge store of guilt, compassion, and hope for better racial relations among the vast majority of Americans of all races, Obama posed as the man who might heal the wounds of the past.
The bonhomie lasted for months, as the press corps, no strangers to their own guilt and hope and leftist inclinations, averted its eyes from those elements of his politics and life story that were discordant with a unifier’s mission, and portayed him as almost supernaturally virtuous. Obama long ago learned how to disarm strangers who might find him an unusual or perhaps threatening figure, and as long as the scrutiny didn’t get too detailed, the game worked splendidly.
But that was before Hillary Clinton’s campaign took him seriously. Before the Clinton war room wizards, past masters of planting stories and themes in friendly media hands, got to work on him. American Thinker and other conservative websites long have been pointing to his Alinskyite past, noting his Senate voting record and his propensity to associate with left wing extremists like Bill Ayers. But until very recently, the major media were content to allow his chosen narrative of centrism and unity to prevail. No messy qualms about actual policies disturbed the aesthetic of hope and optimism and unity.
The press collaboration with Obama’s PR became so sickening obvious that Saturday Night Live was able to mock it savagely, and receive kudos for puncturing the bubble. With the impetus of scornful laughter haunting them, mainstream journalists began to pay more attention to Obama’s dubious associations. Video of Pastor Wright hit ABC, and from there the rest of the mainstream media began to pay attention to discordant notes in his rhetoric of reassurance to middle Amercia.
The ABC News-sponsored debate Wednesday night featured unprecedentedly tough questioning (at least for a liberal) by George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson. Obama stumbled in his responses, comparing admitted terror bomber Bill Ayers to United States Senator Tom Coburn, a physician who has delivered thousands of babies. Even more astonishingly, when reminded that capital gains tax increases actually decrease tax revenue while cap gains tax cuts increase them, he actually retreated to the realm of class warfare, insisting that regardless of the consequences, he wants to punish the owners of capital in the name of “fairness.”
Welcome the new aesthetic of Barack Obama, the left wing ideologue. The signs have long been there, for those with the eyes to see them.
It is no accident that Obama has become the candidate of the Democrats’ left wing fringe, typified by the Daily Kos crowd, despite his continuing efforts to sound a centrist note. The kind of people who are comfortable working with a poster of Che Guevara looking over their shoulders have been attracted to Obama because they read the little signals belying his centrist pose. …
Barack Obama has been able to preach racial harmony while attending and donating to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church for two decades. He has been able to masquerade as a centrist while hobnobbing with the radical chic activists and unrepentant terrorists of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He has been able to pose as a centrist while believing in the necessity of punsihing owners of capital. But with Hillary Clinton and her minions aggressively pursuing him, and an awakened press chagrinned at giving him a pass for so long, those days may be numbered.