Right Wing Attacks on Obama

The Times of London discusses how the right wing plans to portray Obama “as a shady Chicago socialist.” There are two parts to this accusation, neither of which holds up.

The shady part comes from Obama’s association with Rezko. The problem with this accusation is that the shadiness is totally on Rezko’s part. I don’t doubt that Rezko wanted to receive favors from Obama in return for his contributions and land sale. The problem with turning this into a scandal is that Obama never did do anything in return for Rezko beyond helping a partner’s son get a spot as an intern. That hardly has the makings of a scandal which will affect an election. Steve Benen recently wrote:

As regular readers know, the story has been around for a while, but there doesn’t seem to be anything to it. The LA Times went digging, and ran a front-page piece on the “controversy” on Wednesday, but if there’s anything seriously damaging about Obama and Rezko, the LAT couldn’t find it.

Matthew Yglesias wrote:

The essence of the matter is that there doesn’t seem to have been any quid to go with the pro quo here. Rezko tried to curry favor with politicians in order to get stuff from them, and Obama was no exception. And, indeed, when one of Rezko’s business partners had a son who wanted an internship in Obama’s office, Rezko wrote a letter of recommendation and the kid got the job. It’s possible that had Obama remained in the Senate and had Rezko not gotten indicted, that he would have found occasion to do some more serious favors but in the real world there’s nothing there.

Jason Zengerle wrote:

For what it’s worth, I don’t think the Rezko thing is a very big deal for either candidate. So far as I can tell, Obama didn’t do any favors for him–other than giving the son of a Rezko friend an internship.

The claims that Obama is on the far left is hardly anything unexpected as Republicans do that in every election. Their goal is to compare Obama to George McGovern and hope for the same results.

One problem with this line of attack is that people are so fed up with the Republicans that they are willing to actually look at the facts before believing such claims. Obama’s economic advisers come from the University of Chicago, hardly a hot bed of socialist economic views.

Obama manages to transcend the traditional left/right spectrum by seeking progressive economic goals while considering free market economic views. This makes him appealing to both those on the left and to many moderates and independents. Daniel Koffler has discussed the influence of free market principles on Obama’s economic policies.

Talk Left, which has promoted many of the anti-Obama memes in their support of Hillary Clinton, tries to take this a step further. They note Obama’s strength in caucus states and compare this to George McGovern, suggesting that this will lead to the same electoral result. The problem with this analysis is that this is only a superficial similarity between McGovern and Obama. While McGovern won the caucuses with the support of activists from the party’s left, Obama is winning with the support of independents and even some Republicans in open states. Obama’s support among independents makes him a far stronger candidate than George McGovern was.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Gothamite says:

    Not to mention Obama’s raised more money than anyone else in the race and has outorganized everyone else–he may be a liberal, but he’s not woolyheaded.

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