21 Apr 2008

Preemption Underway by Obama Camp

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Michelle Malkin defined “Swiftboating” correctly

But democrats still insist on pretending that charges about John Kerry made in the course of the 2004 Presidential Campaign by Naval veterans were either inaccurate or somehow unfair, despite Kerry’s only too manifest failure to refute them.

“Swiftboating” is back in the news as a term of art today used by the Obama campaign to preemptively stigmatize as “unfair” the possibility of Republicans raising questions about Obama’s radical leftwing history and associations.

ABC News reports that one of the leaders of the Machinists’ Union is concerned:

Rick Sloan says he doesn’t want to see the Democrats get “Swift Boated” again this time. So the communications director for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has sent a couple of dozen friends β€” union leaders and Democratic activists, mainly β€” an urgent plea to pay attention to Sen. Barack Obama’s connections with the 1960s anti-war group, the Weather Underground, and other leftist thinkers.

Democrats “can’t be an ostrich on this” with their heads buried in the sand, Sloan said in an interview.

He sent a copy of the memo to ABC News by e-mail.

Titled “What Is Rove Up To?,” Sloan writes that Rove will seek to redefine Obama’s signature slogan “Change We Can Believe In” and brand it instead as “revolutionary change, change driven by an alien ideology, change no patriotic American could stomach. And he intends to do so by channeling Sen. Joseph McCarthy.”

Sloan has cause to be concerned.

Sophisticated commentators on the Right, like myself, are perfectly well aware, that just as “progressive” is a carefully chosen alternative term for “Marxist,” Barack Obama’s campaign mantra “Change” does not necessarily simply constitute a conventional campaign season bromide. “Change” is commonly used in “progressive” circles to mean “the achievement of leftist goals.”

“Change” means a lot more to members of the democrat party’s activist base than a promise to raise taxes or impose new emissions regulations. A promise of Change in the language of the Left may, indeed, imply revolutionary change.

In other words, electing someone like Barack Obama promising Change, can be interpreted as the candidate’s promise that one will not be electing another Jimmy Carter, but rather electing Hugo Chavez.

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Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff hastily responded to the left’s alarms, and are already on the job, preempting away, with a feature exculpatorily subtitled:
Seeing Ghosts: Obama’s ties to Ayers and Auchi are distant, but his foes plan to pounce.

Obama campaign is planning to expand its research and rapid-response team in order to repel attacks it anticipates over his ties to 1960s radical Bill Ayers, indicted developer Antoin Rezko and other figures from his past. David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, tells NEWSWEEK that the Illinois senator won’t let himself be “Swift Boated” like John Kerry in 2004. “He’s not going to sit there and sing ‘Kumbaya’ as the missiles are raining in,” Axelrod said. “I don’t think people should mistake civility for a willingness to deal with the challenges to come.” The move appears to be an acknowledgment that the Obama campaign may not have moved aggressively enough when questions about Ayers and Rezko first arose, and it comes amid fresh indications that conservative groups are preparing a wave of attack ads over the links.

Operatives such as David Bossie, whose Citizens United group made the Willie Horton ad that helped sink Michael Dukakis’s 1988 presidential bid, are sharpening knives as expectations mount that Obama will be their target in the fall. Bossie says he is assembling material for TV spots about Obama’s ties with Ayers, a Chicago professor and unrepentant former member of the Weather Underground, a group that bombed several government buildings to protest the Vietnam War. The Ayers issue bounced around right-wing media for months, but it received broad exposure at last week’s debate on ABC, when Obama was asked a question about their relationship. Obama, who lives near Ayers in Chicago’s Hyde Park, attended an event at Ayers’s house when Obama ran for the state Senate in 1995β€”and served on the board of a nonprofit with him for several years. “Obama is aware of the acts Ayers committed when he was 8 years old and has called them ‘detestable’,” says spokesman Ben LaBolt, adding that Obama occasionally bumps into Ayers in his neighborhood “but has not seen him for months.”

Obama, of course, didn’t just “attend an event” at Bill Ayers’ house. He launched his state senate campaign at an event held at Bill Ayers’ house. And he didn’t just serve on a non-profit board with Ayres. He served with Ayres on the board of the Woods foundation, where along with Ayres, he is known (so far) to have funneled money to radical Palestinian Rashid Khalidi‘s Arab American Action Network.

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