Sam Smith – I’m feeling better about Barack Obama these days. He still misleads mispromises, misstates and mistakes more than is healthy for anyone, particularly a president, but he has one big thing going for him: he’s not Hillary Clinton
True, he’s boring, he lectures audiences like they were his freshman class, his lack of political courage prevents him from even supporting things he says he believes in, and his policies wallow in tedious process that only a Harvard law grad or MBA could enjoy.
Further, as he heads for the door, he becomes increasingly irrelevant. As Gertrude Stein said of California, there’s no there there, but he does give us some breathing room for the next two years. And he’s not Hillary Clinton, his probable successor as polls now suggest.
Barack Obama is the fictional, fluid figure he created to gain the place in life he sought. As he admitted in The Audacity of Hope, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”
When he was running against Hillary Clinton in 2008, I put it this way:
Perusing still more puerile pandering in the cause of pacific politics by Barack Oblather, a vision suddenly appeared. While, according to Google, a few others have already experienced this transformational experience, it is still rare enough to deserve mention.
The apparition was, without doubt, Chauncy Gardiner aka Chance the gardener, the last manifestation of magnificent nothingness to appear on the American political scene – albeit the fiction of Chance was safely contained in the movie “Being There” while Obama is running for election to a real White House.
Like Obama, no one knew where Chance had come from. Even the CIA and FBI were unable to discover any information, with each concluding he is a clever cover-up by one of their own agents.
The novel was written over thirty years ago by Jerzy Kosinski. The Obama candidacy may elevate Kosinksi to one of the most perceptive political authors of modern times. After all, what is more Obamesque than the sort of phrase that got Chance started? – “In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.”….
Obama is engaged in a sophisticated con with a long history in this country. We normally associated it with evangelicals – the Elmer Gantrys and the Jerry Falwells – but the scam can be used by liberals as well. Born-again liberals can turn their backs on reality as well as any conservative, finding solace in the comforting chicken soup of faith and hope. The problem, of course, is that reality just keeps truckin’ along and Americans need far more than clichés to get them through the next few years.
While Obama is clearly being intellectually dishonest, this is, to be sure, a lesser sin than the congenital variety practiced by his leading opponent. The little available evidence suggests that Obama would more likely be a disappointment than a disgrace. Still in the end it’s a sad choice between the venal and the vacuum.
Now our vacuous alternative is running out the clock. For Obama, deception was just a bad habit he used to get ahead. Unlike the pathological behavior of Hillary Clinton, Obama was more like a street con, a guy just trying to figure out whom to fool to get through the day. Obama works the system, Clinton manipulates it like a mob boss. Obama wanted to achieve power; Clinton treats it as her exclusive personal possession.
The evidence is there, it’s just that the media and, consequently, the public doesn’t look at it. A few reminders about Hillary Clinton
– She is the first First Lady to come under criminal investigation
– She is the first First Lady to almost be indicted, according to one of the special prosecutors.
– She has had nine fundraisers or major backers convicted of, or pleading no contest to, crimes, including Jeffrey Thompson, Paul Adler, Norman Hsu, Jorge Cabrera, Abdul Jinnal, Alcee Hastings, Johnny Chung, Marc Rich, and Sant Chatwal
– Providing testimony to Congress, she said that she didn’t remember, didn’t know, or something similar 250 times
– Three close business partners of Hillary Clinton ended up in prison. The Clintons’ two partners in Whitewater were convicted of 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy. Hillary Clinton’s partner and mentor at the Rose law firm, Webster Hubbell, pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and tax evasion charges, including defrauding former clients and former partners out of more than $480,000. Hillary Clinton was mentioned 35 times in the indictment.
– In the 1980s Hillary Clinton made a $44,000 profit on a $2,000 investment in a cellular phone franchise deal that took advantage of the FCC’s preference for locals, minorities and women. The franchise was almost immediately flipped to the cellular giant, McCaw.
– Hillary Clinton and her husband set up a resort land scam known as Whitewater in which the unwitting bought third rate property 50 miles from the nearest grocery store and, thanks to the sleazy financing, about half the purchasers, many of them seniors, lost their property.
– In 1993 Hillary Clinton and David Watkins moved to oust the White House travel office in favor of World Wide Travel, which was Bill Clinton’s source of $1 million in fly-now-pay-later campaign trips that essentially financed the last stages of the campaign without the bother of reporting a de facto contribution. In the White House, the Clintons fired seven long-term travel employees for alleged mismanagement and kickbacks. The director, Billy Dale, was charged with embezzlement, but was acquitted in less than two hours by the jury.
– HRC’s 1994 health care plan, according to one account, included fines of up to $5,000 for refusing to join the government-mandated health plan, $5,000 for failing to pay premiums on time, 15 years to doctors who received “anything of value” in exchange for helping patients short-circuit the bureaucracy, $10,000 a day for faulty physician paperwork, $50,000 for unauthorized patient treatment, and $100,000 a day for drug companies that messed up federal filings.
– Two months after commencing the Whitewater scheme, Hillary Clinton invested $1,000 in cattle futures. Within a few days she had a $5,000 profit. Before bailing out she earned nearly $100,000 on her investment. Many years later, several economists calculated that the chances of earning such returns legally were one in 250 million.
– In 1996 Hillary Clinton’s Rose law firm billing records, sought for two years by congressional investigators and the special prosecutor, were found in the back room of the personal residence at the White House. Clinton said she had no idea how they got there.
– Drug dealer Jorge Cabrera gave enough to the Democrats to have his picture taken with both Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. . . Cabrera was arrested in January 1996 inside a cigar warehouse in Dade County, where more than 500 pounds of cocaine had been hidden. He and several accomplices were charged with having smuggled 3,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States through the Keys
– In 2000, Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign returned $22,000 in soft money to a businesswoman linked to a Democratic campaign contribution from a drug smuggler in Havana.
– In August 2000, Hillary Clinton held a huge Hollywood fundraiser for her Senate campaign. It was very successful. The only problem was that, by a long shot, she didn’t report all the money contributed: $800K by the US government’s ultimate count in a settlement and $2 million according to the key contributor and convicted con Peter Paul. This is, in election law, the moral equivalent of not reporting a similar amount on your income tax. Hillary Clinton’s defense is that she didn’t know about it
– Hillary Clinton’s participation in a Whitewater related land deal became suspicious enough to trigger an investigation by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
– in 2007, a Pakistani immigrant who hosted fundraisers for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton became a target of FBI allegations that he funneled illegal contributions to Clinton’s political action committee and to Sen. Barbara Boxer’s 2004 re-election campaign. Authorities say Northridge, Calif., businessman Abdul Rehman Jinnah, 56, fled the country shortly after being indicted on charges of engineering more than $50,000 in illegal donations to the Democratic committees.
– Laura Myers wrote in the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Hillary Rodham Clinton likes to travel in style. She insists on staying in the “presidential suite” of luxury hotels that she chooses anywhere in the world… She usually requires those who pay her six-figure fees for speeches to also provide a private jet for transportation — only a $39 million, 16-passenger Gulfstream G450 or larger will do.”
To be sure, and thankfully, Hillary Clinton is not Romney, Bush or Huckabee. As we face another contest between members of our political mafioso, it is important to remember that we are choosing not a savior but a battlefield and, at the moment, Clinton is the best probable problem we have a choice of living with.
But, whatever happens, it’s likely to be an exceptionally bumpy road.
So enjoy Barack Obama while you can.