“A candidate may well
change his…position on, say, universal health care of Bosnia. But he … cannot
change the fact – if it happens to be a fact – that he … is a pathological
idiot woman, this blind, short-sighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod, mocks basic research and the
international research community.” Is this
a description of Rosie O’Donnell explaining that metals don’t melt and 9/11 was
an inside job? A swipe at Green Party presidential aspirant Cynthia McKinney
explaining how the Jews were responsible? A shot at Gloria Steinem for defending
partial birth abortion under the delusion that a living child is actually a
disposable “fetus”? No, this is a psychotic attack on Governor Sarah Palin by
an Obama supporter. Palin’s sin? Her opposition to earmarks, in particular an
earmark for olive fruit fly research. The same earmark recently provided my good friend Christopher Hitchens to express his contempt for Palin and justify his endorsement
of her opponents.
not as vitriolic as his attacks on Mother Teresa and Princess Di, Hitchens’
assault on Palin is characteristically extreme. In a display of liberal snobbery in Slate – “Sarah
Palin’s War On Science: The GOP Ticket’s Appalling Contempt For Knowledge And
Learning” – Hitchens explains to readers the benefits of fruit fly
research (as though anyone – even a small town bumpkin like Alaska’s governor – wouldn’t
have learned about fruit flies in high school biology). Fruit fly research allows us to study the DNA of living organisms, “which makes it useful in
studying disease.” This ranks Palin as a hypocrite in Hitchens' eyes
since her “signature issue” is disability and special needs: “She might even
have had some researcher tell her that there is a Drosophila-based center for
research into autism at the University of North Carolina.” Thanks for the tip Hitch.
when Palin attacked the earmark, she wasn’t campaigning against fruit fly
research. She was campaigning against earmarks
– the $18-billion-a- year scam under which forces taxpayers to underwrite
personal favors that congressmen perform for their “constituents,” like giant
agribusiness corporations. Such earmarks are transparent bribes since they are
bound to encourage constituents who receive them to fund congressional campaigns.
The fruit fly earmark was the project of a California congressman named Mike Thompson;
the service provided was to the California agribusiness community, which was
looking for taxpayer help with a fruit fly problem that threatened their designs
to turn olive trees into a profit. The earmark was not about autistic kids. It
was about a corrupt patronage system used to benefit one congressman and the
olive oil industry.
course, Hitchens is smart enough to smell the rat in his own argument. Without
exactly explaining what the earmark was for, he writes: “The fruit fly can also
be a menace to American agriculture, so any financing of research into its
habits and mutations is money well-spent.” Christopher! This isn’t about DNA,
and not all research is fungible. This is a welfare handout to giant
corporations. Instead of going to funding sources where projects are
peer-reviewed, they can appeal to one pliable congressman, likely to appreciate
their ability to help his re-election.
an earlier Slate column (“Vote for
Obama”), Hitchens described McCain’s selection of Palin as “the most
insulting thing a politician” could do and therefore, apparently, a cause to
throw the Iraqis and his country under the bus. Of course, the author of the
religion-bashing book, God Is Not Great,
is not really enraged at Palin because of her concern about earmarks. His
contempt is for the fact that she believes in a Deity, and a moral law higher
than a California congressman. Even this contempt coming from Hitchens is
puzzling, since the chief sin Hitchens ascribes to the religious in his
polemical book is presuming to speak in the name of God. Since Palin readily
concedes her inability to read the Creator’s mind, she should get a pass.
Hitchens suggests that with Palin “the contempt for science may be something a
little more sinister… She is known to favor the teaching of creationism in
schools….” Well, not exactly. As Hitchens himself explains, she has not advocated
imposing Creationism on the schools. She merely wants to “smuggle” the doctrine
through the door in “the innocent disguise of ‘teaching the argument.’” Oh. She
wants students to be made aware of the discussion over evolution, whereas Hitchens
wants the fact that some members of the scientific community believe in
Intelligent Design to be suppressed – and
this in the name of “knowledge and learning”!
is normally able to make the sharpest distinctions, but this ability is
strikingly absent from these electoral ruminations. Perhaps his instincts have
been blunted by the new company he is keeping among the bigoted hysterics of
the political left, to whom distinctions appear as mere distractions from the
righteous Path of Truth. “The Republican Party s has placed within reach of the
Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic, and a proud boastful ignoramus,”
writes Hitchens, adding that on November 4, those who care for the Constitution
and reason will “repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.” The wickedness and
stupidity are more aptly reflected in baseless, mean-spirited remarks like
is not great either, Christopher. While you refuse to cut Governor Palin slack
in an election season, look at the gaping latitude you provide to her opponents.
Obama’s election (should it come to pass) will not put him a heartbeat away
from the presidency but anoint him commander-in-chief. This makes your burden
of responsibility that much greater, particularly since as a man of the left
you understand exactly who Obama is.
years ago, you wrote a memorable book about Bill Clinton called No One Left To Lie To. When you wrote
it, you shared many of Clinton’s political agendas but parted ways with him
over his moral corruption. Your defection turned on the issue of presidential character.
You were repelled by Clinton’s easy ways with the truth. But Obama’s lies make Clinton’s
pale by comparison.
that Obama’s closest counselor and spiritual guide over a twenty year period is
a racist kook, a Jew-hating, terrorist-loving acolyte of Farrakhan. When
confronted with this fact, Obama responded he had no idea who Jeremiah Wright really
was. What Clinton lie comes close to that in brazen coolness? Or this one: My name
is Barack Hussein Obama; I grew up the son of a Muslim father and went to a
Muslim school in an Islamic state, but I wasn’t raised as a Muslim – I’ve
always been a Christian. I do not believe being raised as a Muslim should
matter. But I believe the
his entire adult life, Obama’s closest political allies have been pro-Soviet progressives
like state senator Alice Palmer who chose Obama as the politically appropriate figure
whom she chose to inherit her state senate seat; or anti-American radicals like
Bill Ayers, who organized a terrorist army in the 1970s with the intention of
launching a race war in America, and bringing down the “empire.” Others may be
under the illusion that the Weather Underground was organized to protest the
Vietnam War. But you know better. Ayers and his comrades were still bombing
during the year of America’s bicentennial, 1976, and into the Jimmy Carter administration.
They were still in the trenches four years after our withdrawal from Vietnam,
because their agenda was a war to destroy the imperial beast, America.
was eight years old when Ayers set his bombs.” (More likely 16.) But Ayers’ reputation
was legend in the Hyde Park “liberal” community, where Obama met him and
embraced him as a political comrade and ally. It was in Ayers’ living room that
Obama launched his campaign for Alice Palmer’s left-wing seat. It was Ayers’
father who got Obama his job at the law firm of Sidley Austin, and it was Ayers
himself who hired Obama to spend
the $50 million Ayers had raised to finance an army of anti-American radicals drawn
from ACORN and other nihilistic groups to recruit Chicago school children to
their political causes.
confronted by his association with Ayers, Obama had another characteristic memory
lapse. Ayers was just a “guy in the neighborhood” whose children went to school
with his. What other crucial facts about his life and what other essential
clues to his character has Obama lied about? Or perhaps more appropriately: What
has he not lied about? Syrian
criminal Tony Reszko, who gave him his house (and received what political favors
in return)? If you ask Obama, he never read all those front page stories about Rezsko’s
of course, nobody ever bothered to ask Obama why a pro-Soviet trooper like
Alice Palmer would want to give her senate seat to him rather than some other
worthy. But we can pretty well guess Obama’s answer if they had.
you peel away the subterfuges and get down to the facts, what you are left with
is a life-long radical posing as a political liberal to win the trust of a
larger constituency. Schizophrenic disjunctions make up his political
character. He is a ruthless machine politician, who chose the Daley mafia over
inner city school kids and crushed an incipient reform movement he himself had
been part of. When the chips were down his loyalty was to the machine; but when
he runs for office it is as a political progressive. In his heart, he is an
economic radical distressed that the Constitution presents obstacles
to socialist theft; but when he runs for office he inhabits the persona of
an economic centrist. The balancing act is superb. His chief economic adviser this
presidential run is Austan Goolsbee, an economic centrist, while Paul Volcker a
much admired conservative has joined his campaign. Both men would do a
Republican administration proud. But once in power will he follow their advice?
economy is probably not where your heart is. Consider, then, the global war
against Islamic fanatics, which is far from over. These are not people who want
to “teach the argument” in public schools, like Sarah Palin. Their remedy for disagreement
is not discussion but decapitation. Where is Obama on the war between barbarism
and civilization? He was for keeping Saddam Hussein in power, when the entire
Clinton national security team was against it. He was for capitulation on the battlefield
once the war started, which would have left the Iraqis to the tender mercies of
al-Zarqawi and crew.
foreign policy, generally, his deceptions are world class. In practice he has spent
his political life in league with anti-American, “anti-war” radicals who make
no secrets among their friends as to the nature of their agendas. As a sitting U.S.
Senator, he was a white flag appeaser. But as a candidate poseur he is able to pull off the credible impression that he is a
foreign policy realist.
maybe he is. Or maybe he’s not any of these things, because all that anyone
knows for certain about Barack Obama – the only thing anyone knows for certain – is that he is not what he seems. What we
do know, because we have the performances on tape is that he is the most
seamless liar since Bill himself – smoother by far. Who is the real Barack
Obama? Who can tell? We don’t really know anything about this man’s intentions,
and what we do know about his deeds is bad.
know that he is a man without loyalty. Wright, Ayers, Grandma – throw them
under the bus (although perhaps only temporarily, while expedience requires it).
When his benefactor Alice Palmer changed her mind about passing him her senate
seat, he refused to give it back. When she and two other black candidates
attempted to challenge him in the primaries, he went to court to prevent them
from running at all. He preferred to disenfranchise their supporters than win in
an election. When TV anchors posed uncomfortable questions to him and his
running mate, he had his campaign threaten their stations with reprisals. Michael
Barone has written eloquently about the emerging “Obama
thugocracy.” What counter-evidence could you possibly produce against this
concern? You have embraced a Machiavellian liar and world class charmer,
remarkably disciplined as a political actor, breathtakingly able to put on many
faces. Should he become president, will you or anyone else be able to call him
is another thing to think about. Consider what those who have known him best
and longest think of all these bobbings, weavings, and deceptions on the issues
– issues fundamental to America’s future. Despite his tacks to the center, his
brave words about standing up to Iran and his claims to be ready to defend
Israel’s democracy, every anti-Israel, anti-American, pro-Iranian Communist in
America is supporting Barack Obama; every pro-Palestinian leftist, every former
Weatherman terrorist – many of whom are active in his campaign (some even on
his official website); every Sixties leftist and all their disciples whose hope
all their lives has been that America would lose its wars, because in their
perverse view America is the Great Satan, the imperial master of global capitalism;
every black racist follower of Louis Farrakhan, who said recently that when
Obama speaks you are “hearing the voice of the messiah”; every “anti-war”
activist who wanted us to leave Saddam in power and then lose the war in Iraq; everyone
who believes that America is the bad guy and that our enemies are justly
aggrieved; every member of ACORN, the chief product of the anti-American Sixties
left, which thinks nothing of conducting massive electoral fraud because it has
massive contempt for the American way. Every one of these radical forces without
exception and without defection is pulling for Barack Obama, along with al-Jazeera
and Vladimir Putin and the religious fanatics of Hamas and the PLO. Have you
asked yourself what it is that you think you know, that they don’t?
course all these leftists with their hostile agendas may be mistaken about
Barack Obama. His distinctive talent, after all, is to appear all things to all
men and women. In the end, Obama may be so faithless, and disloyal, and unprincipled,
as to turn his back on everything he has ever stood for and everyone who has
ever supported him for the last twenty years. He may throw them all under the
bus along with Reverend Wright, radical Ayers, and racist Grandma. But how certain
can you be of counting on that? Can you even be sure that Wright and Ayers will
not be invited back into the fold once the prize is achieved? What is it that
you know that the anti-American, anti-Israel left in this country (and abroad),
who are also supporting Obama, do not?
am stunned that you would give all these facts a pass in casting your vote for the
mysterious stranger, and use Sarah Palin’s mild, mainstream religious faith as
an excuse to condemn her and endorse him. Unlike Obama’s political commitments,
Palin’s faith has been a consistently private aspect of her life. (Is there an
act of her governorship you can point to that was dictated by the “religious
fanaticism” you ascribe to her on the basis of a single appearance she made in a church she has long since left?
There is none.) I am not so much surprised as dispirited by your thoughtless
attacks on the religious faith of this woman, who has the support of Democrats
and Republicans in her state, and who is seeking high office in a nation whose
core principle, as you know better than most, is religious tolerance.
it is precisely a misapplication of America’s tolerance that is the problem
here. Perhaps it is this misuse of a good thing that itself has given rise to
the passionate hatreds that are directed unfairly at Palin and McCain. These
hatreds are justified by their protagonists as a defense in behalf of the first
presidential candidate who is black. Perhaps in the rush to elect a black
president, there is too much
tolerance for lies, too much
willingness to give a pass to Obama on matters on which he should not get a
pass – to ignore so many obviously troubling facts.
am dispirited that you who wrote so movingly about your own post-9/11 love for
this country would attack in such an unrestrained and incoherent manner a woman
whose candor in expressing similar love has earned her the contempt of the
left. Leftists of course refuse to consider themselves nationalists, or patriotic
defenders of a tolerant country. They think of themselves as “international
citizens” whose allegiances are to international courts, and organizations, and
to a United Nations dominated by dictators and racists, by women-hating,
gay-hating, Jew-hating, Christian-hating and, yes, atheist-hating regimes. All
of this doesn’t matter to them when they are faced with truly dangerous
individuals like Sarah Palin.
again, Christopher. Vote for Obama if you want to, but don’t debase yourself by
thinking (and hating) in lockstep like the left. Since your adoption of this
country, you have written thoughtful appreciations of several of its Founders.
You know, more than most, that religious freedom – and respect – is the
foundation of all the freedoms we enjoy in this country, including the freedom
of people to hate it. One thing you can count on from John McCain and Sarah
Palin is that they will defend their country and its Constitution against
enemies global and domestic who despise it, and seek its demise. What can you
count on from Barack Obama?