However, after doing a little bit of research1, I'm not so confident about that anymore. There are a number of things that I find disconcerting about Obama's background. There are also gaps in the record, or blank areas (and I also find that disconcerting).
The bottom line is that many of Obama's past supporters were radical socialists and/or anti-American activists and seemed to think that Obama was one of them. While there is no proof (as far as I can tell) that Obama was (or is) in fact a radical socialist and/or anti-American activist, there is also no proof that he was not, and I think that's a problem.
Usually, I would give the benefit of the doubt to a candidate. After all, it's quite difficult to get anywhere in politics without being exposed to some unsavory characters. Corruption and greed run rampant in all political systems. Corruption and greed I can handle. Hypocrisy? No big deal, especially when it's clearly just to win an election.
Radical ideologies and anti-Americanism? Those worry me. In the wrong hands, those characteristics have the potential to inflict a tremendous amount of damage. The president of the United States certainly qualifies as having the wrong hands to be trusted with such characteristics.
There are three associations in particular that I find disconcerting. None of the three is enough in itself, in my opinion, to reject Obama. But taken together, I'm worried.
First is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The following is an excerpt from ABC News in March, 2008 regarding Wright and Obama:
Obama belonged to Wright's church for many years and was impressed enough with Wright that he used material from Wright's sermons as the title for one of his books. In addition, Obama doesn't think that the church was "particularly controversial."
Sen. Barack Obama's pastor says blacks should not sing "God Bless America" but "God damn America."
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for the last 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's south side, has a long history of what even Obama's campaign aides concede is "inflammatory rhetoric," including the assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own "terrorism."
In a campaign appearance earlier this month, Sen. Obama said, "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial." [...]
Rev. Wright married Obama and his wife Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope."
Many of the articles written about Wright seem to dismiss him as a bit of a kook. In other words, they admit he has said some "controversial" things, but that's only because he's a little bit nutty.
But that explanation, I believe, is clearly wrong. Wright's church preaches Black Liberation Theology which is completely compatible with what Wright has preached according to numerous criticisms:
Theologians such as theology scholar Dr. Robert A. Morley take a dim view of black theology. Morley's paper "The Goals Of Black Liberal Theology" is one widely quoted paper citing specific criticisms of black theology. He states that black theology turns religion into sociology, and Jesus into a black Marxist rebel. [...]In other words, Obama belonged to a church for many years that was essentially Marxist and which Obama did not find controversial.
Anthony Bradley of the Christian Post interprets that the language of "economic parity" and references to "mal-distribution" as nothing more than channeling the views of Karl Marx.
He believes James Cone and Cornel West have worked to incorporate Marxist thought into the black church, forming an ethical framework predicated on a system of oppressor class versus a victim much like Marxism.
Stanley Kurtz of the National Review criticizes black liberation theology, saying, "A scarcely concealed, Marxist-inspired indictment of American capitalism pervades contemporary 'black-liberation theology'...The black intellectual's goal, says Cone, is to "aid in the destruction of America as he knows it." Such destruction requires both black anger and white guilt. The black-power theologian's goal is to tell the story of American oppression so powerfully and precisely that white men will "tremble, curse, and go mad, because they will be drenched with the filth of their evil."
The New Party, an offshoot of the Democratic Socialists of America, claimed Obama as one of their candidates in 1996, only 12 years ago, and worked actively to help him get elected. The following is an excerpt from a 1996 New Party Internet Newsletter2:
Illinois: Three NP-members won Democratic primaries last Spring and face off against Republican opponents on election day: Danny Davis (U.S. House), Barack Obama (State Senate) and Patricia Martin (Cook County Judiciary).Here is an excerpt from a Democratic Socialists of America newsletter from the same year:
Barack Obama, victor in the 13th State Senate District, encouraged NPers to join in his task forces on Voter Education and Voter Registration.Obama may not have considered himself a member of either the Democratic Socialists of America or of its offshoot, the New Party, but they sure considered that he was one of them and were quite happy that he won the election. In other words, they thought he was a socialist, and Obama has not repudiated those alliances. Once again, in and of itself, it's no big deal. As part of pattern, I think it should be taken more seriously.
Then there Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, leaders of the violent, far left, anti-American group, The Weather Underground. This group is so well known, and so visciously evil, that I find it well beyond the pale for anyone to have even a casual relationship with leaders of such a group. If political expediency absolutely requires it, then you need to thoroughly condemn the actions and beliefs of such people whenever the subject comes up. Obama has not done that.
Just a few statements and actions by these people that I think are the most appalling:
"Dig it! First they killed those pigs and then they put a fork in their bellies. Wild!" Bernardine Dohrn regarding the Charles Manson led Tate-LaBianca murders in 1969.
"Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents — that's where it's really at." Bill Ayers describing the Weather Underground's philosophy in 1969.
"Guilty as hell, free as a bird—America is a great country." Bill Ayers after government misconduct caused the case against him to be dismissed in 1980.The last statement is indicative of how little responsibility he felt for his actions and his complete lack of contrition and regret. He and his group waged war against the United States and are proud of it. Obama's response to all this? None, other than Ayers was just a guy in the neighborhood.
The extent of Obama's relationship with Ayers and Dohrn is unclear, but at a minimum (according to the NY Times):
Their paths have crossed sporadically since then, at a coffee Mr. Ayers hosted for Mr. Obama’s first run for office, on the schools project and a charitable board, and in casual encounters as Hyde Park neighbors.While the crossing of their paths may have been sporadic, I believe their paths crossed numerous times. According to Victor David Hanson:
He [Obama] did not just know a Wright or Rezko, but knew them quite well for quite a long time. And in the case of Ayers, Obama has sorely misled: he apparently still emailed and communicated with him after 9/11, when Ayers, on his Fugitive Justice book tour, grandly announced that he regretted only that he had not bombed enough. At that point any further communication was indefensible, since the New York Times had widely circulated Ayers’ views. Yet Obama was emailing him at least until 2005!
The problem with these associations is not necessarily the associations themselves. It's a combination of the pattern and pervasiveness of the associations coupled with the fact that Obama has not made it clear that he doesn't agree with those associates. Any repudiation of his associates' viewpoints has come late and under severe pressure for him to do so and has been quite mild.
While I have not taken strong sides in past elections, I believe that Obama is by far the most radical left-wing socialist candidate for President (from a serious political party) that this country has ever seen and with the support of one of the more left-wing Congresses that we've had in quite some time, could actually spell disaster for this country.
I sure hope I'm wrong. Looks like we'll find out.
1 Unlike the MSM, I haven't done a great deal of fact checking so any of the claims in the post could be completely wrong - do your own damn fact checking!
2 The page isn't still available on the New Party website but has been archived by archive.org.