Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 23, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

OBAMA AND REZKO....My morning LA Times features a big front-page story about Barack Obama's relationship with shady Chicago developer Antoin "Tony" Rezko that starts out by telling us that Rezko's upcoming trial "has the potential to undermine Obama's image as a candidate whose ethical standards are distinctly higher than those of his main opponent," and furthermore that Rezko has "played a deeper role in Obama's political and financial biography than the candidate has acknowledged."

Is that true? Maybe, but the LAT piece sure doesn't deliver the goods. Basically, it tells us that Rezko has donated money to Obama over the years and that Rezko's wife bought a parcel of land next door to Obama's house three years ago. Both of these things have been extensively reported before, and although the land deal has a slight whiff to it (Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times a year ago, "I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it"), it's a political misdemeanor at most and the LAT article uncovers nothing new about it.

So, there's nothing much here. On the other hand, it's useful to read the story to get an idea of the kind of thing that Republicans will throw at Obama if he wins the nomination. It's nowhere near as bad as what they'll throw at Hillary, but they'll certainly do everything they can to make it look as slimy as possible — and next month's trial will probably give them some juicy ammo. It's best to be prepared.

Kevin Drum 11:46 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (84)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

He certainly did not acknowledge even that much in the debate the other night. People learning about this for the first time were definitely mislead by his debate answer, which would not be so bad if it weren't coming from the candidate claiming to be more honest than anyone else on the stage.

Posted by: Dawn on January 23, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Rezko has a "z" and a "k"--in the space of only 5 letters--making it exceedingly memorable. Obama's screwed.

Posted by: mikes on January 23, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

The media frustrates me when the reporting seems to equate all bad decisions, or worse make little bad decisions seem worse than big bad decisions.

Let's assume Obama took some land at below market price and did Rezko some favor to facilitate his business that was doing something illegal. This is kinda what politics is at some level, people trying to game the system.

Where is the LAT front page article examining the Iraq invasion and occupation and cynical war profiteering?

"Steal a little and they throw you in jail/Steal a lot and the make you king"

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 23, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Two words: Cattle futures -- Obama should have said "I certainly do not need lessons in ethiical behavior from you, Hillary!"

Posted by: Blue Moon on January 23, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Did you read how ABC News made up an alleged "angry confrontation" between Barack obama and a New York Times Reporter, forgetting that the moment was taped. Greg Sargent at TPM has the story. http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/horsesmouth/2008/01/abc_news_badly.php

Apparently, Obama is not only running against Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, he is running against the mainstream media.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 23, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

It really is best not to spread slimes by discussing them.

Better to frame this as "look how low the LA Times has sunk."

Why can't Democrats learn this lesson? Don't defend--attack back.

Posted by: wonkie on January 23, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Rezko has "played a deeper role in Obama's political and financial biography than the candidate has acknowledged."

What a weak attack from Hillary Kevin. The fact is that Obama barely knew Rezco. As Obama himself pointed out in the debates: "Heres what happened: I was an associate at a law firm that represented a church group that had partnered with this individual to do a project and I did about five hours worth of work on this joint project. Thats what shes referring to." Nothing more. Just five hours with a client for his law firm.
The Hillary camp is just using this to divert attention from her fundraiser Norman Hsu who is being prosecuted for embezzlement.

Posted by: Al on January 23, 2008 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter. Big media companies like ABC and the LA Times simply create their own reality. We have to live in it. What we really need to be doing is fact checking the reporters. A lot of them seem to have abandoned objective reality.

Posted by: corpus jurris on January 23, 2008 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

You know, if I were Hillary Clinton, I might steer clear of pointing out the indictments against the supporters of other politicians. After all, she is the former law partner of admitted and convicted thief Webb Hubbell, and you'd have to guess that she was instrumental in getting him installed into the top ranks of the Justice Department when Bill Clinton was president. She was also likely instrumental in Bill's appointment of Hubbell to the Arkansas Supreme Court in the 1980s.

And before anyone says that Webb Hubbell's conviction was the result of Kenneth Starr's excesses, Hubbell's wrongdoing came to light before Starr took over for Robert Fiske, and Hubbell admitted to defrauding his clients and his law partners by billing for services never actually performed and pocketing legal fees that should have gone to his firm. Hubbell was later wrongfully harassed by Starr, but that was on different matters than his initial conviction.

In more recent times, Hillary has supporters in this campaign who are recently indicted, like Dickie Scruggs, who apparently attempted to bribe a judge:

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2007/11/29/host-indicted-clinton-fund-raiser-canceled/

And who could forget Norman Hsu?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Hsu

I don't think the "you have dirty friends" argument is one that ultimately benefits Clinton, not when her dirty friends are more numerous and much dirtier.

Posted by: Gary on January 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

It is about time the media stopped being so light on Obama. They are FAR more agressive to Hilary and need to as strong against all of them - Obama included. He is a light weight as keeps avoiding any answers to his past votes, past relationships, issues or anything of substance.

Posted by: abc55 on January 23, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

The Republlican Dirty Trickters are hard at work - trying to find something/anything to smear Obama with. The "secret Muslim" schtick doesn't seem to be catching on very well, except with the knuckle-draggers on FreeRepublic who wear dirty NASCAR t-shirts.

So, I understand that they are getting ready to trot out the new, improved double smear campaign of "he used cocaine" and "he has had gay sex partners". Drudge told me so.

Look, the modern Republican Party cannot win a national election fair and square. They haven't since Eisenhower. So, they rely on smears, innuendoes, lies, misrepresentation and election fraud. They smeared the Clintons for 12 years with every type of fairy tale imaginable. They will do it to Obama too. Get used to it!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 23, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Forget about it, Kevin. It's Chicago!" (impossible to be a politician in that town and not drag some dirt onto the carpet)

Posted by: Shine on January 23, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Let me write Obama's next speech for him:

"And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If were honest with ourselves, well acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to Kings vision of a beloved community. I, personally, have had some dealings with some pretty shady characters. I might traded favors. But, that's what politics is all about. Name me one politician who hasn't traded favors! Yes, some of the people I was involved with are under FBI scrutiny. But, the same is true of many other politicians! Have you ever been to Chicago? It's always been dirty, if you know what I mean. Corruption there is a part of political life, and I admit that I got caught up in that. But, what was I supposed to do? Some even call me something approaching a collaborator, yet I was just going with the flow and doing what others were doing. It's the Chicago Way! Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation... ...And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America. And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down. That is our hope but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together."

Posted by: The annoying LonewackoDotCom on January 23, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Dawn, Sen. Clinton's remark was about his work representing a slumlord, he answered that direct point. You think anyone in a similar situation would go into more detail?

Posted by: RollaMO on January 23, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

To me the most egregious part of this whole commentary is that Rezko and Obama bought lots next to each other from the same owner at the same time.

Obama bought his for $300,000 less than market price while Rezko bought it at market price. Why would a wheeler and dealer like Rezko have had to pay market price for his property and Obama got such a discount?

"Much of the criticism has centered on two real estate deals involving Obama's South Side mansion. In the first, Obama paid $300,000 less than the asking price for a doctor's home, while Rezko's wife paid the doctor full price for the vacant lot next door. Then -- a few months before Rezko was indicted -- Obama bought part of that lot from Rezko's wife."
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/353829,CST-NWS-rez23.article

Posted by: micknh on January 23, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know how anybody rises in national politics without rubbing shoulders with "dirty friends."

A famous president I know a lot about, Harry Truman, who nobody ever accused of getting rich in politics, was sponsored by "Boss" Tom Pendergast, a truly corrupt political operative of the first order.

Those people are attracted to folks on the rise. Hillary has known her share of scumbags, as has every politician I have ever encountered.

Before a story is worth while there has to be a connection of corruption to the politician. If we simply disqualify politicians by mere association with scumbags, I doubt there is a person in the highest reaches of any political system qualified to run.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 23, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like the Obama supporters on this thread haven't quite got the 'loyal democrat' schtick down yet. The correct response to Republican talking points like this is: 'these accusations against Obama are as empty as the umpteen billion Republican accusations abouts the Clintons'. Because remember kids, whomever is nominated will get this stuff thrown at them, and buying into Republican talking points that Hillary is a dirty politician doesn't actually help the home team.

Posted by: DougMN on January 23, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Compared to the mountain of sleaze that can be accurately leveled against the Clintons, this is truly baby stuff. Obama has acknowledged this was a mistake. Unless someone can find something much more serious (I'm sure Donald Five-O is digging furiously ;-)), what exactly is the issue again?

Posted by: Manfred on January 23, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Taylor Marsh has an exhaustive post on this, where she has tried to connect a lot of dots. I haven't read it carefully yet, but she seems to think there's a certain "pay to play" element in the background. You can read and digest it for yourself, it's probably better reporting than you'll see in the MSM.

The larger point is that there will be stories like this, and there may be surprises in Obama's background. He has been propelled forward without a real vetting process. If there's nothing here, it'll work itself out -- if there is something here it needs to be gone over.

Better this material gets reviewed and answered (or not) before the convention -- you'd hate for this to be part of the general election campaign.

Posted by: zmulls on January 23, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

So, there's nothing much here.

Nothing much here, indeed, but it doesn't prevent the Times -- or you -- from devoting space to what amounts to $85,000 in returned contributions. If you're really concerned about what Republicans are going to do to the Democratic candidate in the run-up to the general election, you might do more than make a passing reference to what we have to look forward to if Clinton is the nominee. The contributions returned by Obama pale in comparison to the $1 million that the Clinton campaign had to return, and it brings us right back to where we were in the '90s, when her husband had to fend off allegations about all kinds of dubious fundraising. And speaking of her husband... do you really think the right wing noise machine isn't licking their chops at the very prospect of having these two to kick around again?

Look, Kevin, if you want to pick at the bones of this Rezko story, that's fine, but if you're doing that at the expense of a more thorough consideration of what we'll be likely to see happening during another Clinton administration, then you're not being completely honest.

Posted by: junebug on January 23, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Can you tell me the name of W's sugar daddy without looking it up? How many times were W's bid free contract awards to his sugar daddy mentioned on the evening news? Did you know that the day after the Justice Department officially closed W's insider trading case that a memo turned up that showed that W had been warned off on the sale because of insider trading issues? No. Of course you don't. But if Obama gets the nomination, you can bet your life that we can recite in our sleep the fact that someone shady bought land next door to Obama.

Caesar's wife must be above reproach while Caesar gets to rape and pillage.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 23, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

How convenient all of Obama's records dealing with lobbyists/associates/friends have disappeared. Not such a good record on tranparency issue.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 23, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hello everybody! Just here for a drive-by.

First, I'd like to point out to everyone that the Chicago Trib has a much better look at this non-issue.

Second, I'd like to explain to micknh the difference between "asking price" and "market value", but I haven't the time.

Third, Corpus, you're just now figuring out that the MSM has it in for Obama?

Fourth, as Nyberg says, this is small pickens, in any event, and everyone else who suggested that Obama compare this slime with GOP slime against HRC are right on track.

Fifth, I'm sure that this has been discussed in previous threads to death, but at what point did HRC hire Rove? It's bad enough that she and her surrogates are blowing the racist dog whistle, but now she is actually out and out lying about Obama in debates? In any case, she is unknowingly helping Obama, because it is best that all this Rovian crap come out during the primaries, and that Obama show that he can handle such nonsense as prep for the general. It's too bad that the Clintons are destroying their image in the process.

Posted by: Disputo on January 23, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Although the land deal has a slight whiff to it (Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times a year ago, "I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it"), it's a political misdemeanor at most and the LAT article uncovers nothing new about it.

There was nothing to Whitewater, either -- the Clintons actually lost money on it -- but it still got dragged through the mud for nine years.

Sometimes when there's smoke, it's just smoke.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 23, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, I so much wanted Obama to retort to HRC with eyes rolling, "Yeah, I'm Rezko's lawyer just like you shot Vince Foster."

Posted by: Disputo on January 23, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK
I don't think the "you have dirty friends" argument is one that ultimately benefits Clinton....Gary at 12:10 PM
Norman Hsu did not help the Clinton's personally, and the evidence was that Hubble cheated the law firm without their knowledge.

...In January 1993, Hubbell's former partners at the Rose Law Firm discovered what appeared to be irregularities in Hubbell's bills to clients. The Independent Counsel later found that Hubbell had billed clients for services he never performed, and that he failed to report that income on his tax returns. Shortly after Independent Counsel Robert Fiske opened a criminal probe into the matter, Hubbell resigned as associate attorney general on March 14, 1994.[1]...

The problem for Obama is his close entanglement with Rezko, the mutual favors and his early history.

...For years after Rezko befriended Obama in the early 1990s, he helped bankroll the politician's campaigns. Then, after Obama's election to the U.S. Senate, Rezko engaged him in private financial deals to improve their adjoining South Side properties. Those arrangements became a source of lingering controversy after the Tribune first reported them in November 2006....

Compared to the mountain of sleaze that can be accurately leveled against the Clintons, this is truly baby stuff.... Manfred at 12:31 PM

Of course, and the so-called sleazy leveled against Clinton has been discredited, but all you Obamabots were claiming a new kind of pol, a bipartisan pol with glimmering rhetoric whose heart is young and pure. Instead you have been sprinkling diamond dust on dung, and beneath all the glitter is just another Chicago pol. This is devastating to Obama. He needs to have answers for his past and good ones.
the MSM has it in for Obama?........ at what point did HRC hire Rove?... Disputo at 12:55 PM

Sorry, but if you think the MSM have it in for Obama, you haven't been paying attention. Obama has heretofore been ignored by a media anxious to destroy the Clinton campaign. Also, this stuff has been out there, not in such detail, but out there and to think that Obama would be immune from his record is naivety in the extreme. If it didn't come out now, it would come out from the Republican slime machine as a steady drumbeat. By the convention, Obama would be a lost cause. He has to get all the crap in the open and explained now. If he can't he will be just another Democratic loser.

Posted by: Mike on January 23, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

This is what the repubs ARE doing to try to keep him from becoming the nominee. They don't what to go up against him in the general, they still believe they have a better chance against Hillary.

Posted by: ahoyhoy on January 23, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Why do so many liberals think Obama will be immune from being slimed worse than Hillary ("nowhere near as bad as what they'll throw at hillary")? He's really not a god, ya know. he can't part the seas and magically, through the sheer awesomeness of his awesomeness, get the world to transform overnight into some utopia just because he is awesome.

Whitewater was much ado about nothing, but we got years of investigations. There's more to the Rezko story than your letting on, but that's irrelevant. This now opens Obama up to much of the same sort of prodding that we had in the 90s. Everyone can continue to make political sacrifices (praising Reagan, manufacturing SS fears, giving up on universal health care) to their god, Obama, but its stupid to think that we won't have a return to the 90s style GOP politics if Obama is the nominee. Hillary's been there done that and no one wants to go through that again. Obama's controversies--real or imagined--will be new and more easily tolerated.

Posted by: johnS on January 23, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Of course, and the so-called sleazy leveled against Clinton has been discredited, but all you Obamabots were claiming a new kind of pol, a bipartisan pol with glimmering rhetoric whose heart is young and pure. Instead you have been sprinkling diamond dust on dung, and beneath all the glitter is just another Chicago pol."

Bingo. And once he's just another Chicago pol, then you're comparing two pols and their productivity, where Hillary wins huge.

Posted by: Cal on January 23, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Mick's right: Isn't this one of the red flags raised against the Dukester in Kevin's own SoCal -- buying below-market housing? Isn't below-market housing repairs a big red flag against Ted Stevens right now?

And, if Taylor Marsh is right about "pay to play" that's serious. Zmulls, got a link?

Posted by: SocratidGadfly on January 23, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

So who needs Republicans -- the Democrats can do their own swiftboating (or "vetting") all on their own. And iff Obama has Rezko, Hillary has Refco.

When,in 1978, Hillary turned $1,000 into $100,000 in futures trading, she got a lot of help from her friends:

A close examination of her individual trades underscores Blair's pivotal role. It also shows that Robert L. "Red" Bone, who ran the Springdale, Ark., office of Ray E. Friedman and Co. (Refco), allowed Clinton to initiate and maintain many trading positions – besides the first – when she did not have enough money in her account to cover them.

Why would Bone do so? Bone could not be reached for comment, but Blair said he thought he knew why. "I was a very good customer," he said, noting he paid Bone $800,000 in commissions over the years...

Blair, who at the time was outside counsel to Tyson Foods Inc., Arkansas' largest employer, says he was advising Clinton out of friendship, not to seek political gain for his state-regulated client. At the time of many of the trades, Bill Clinton was governor.

Hillary Clinton has said she made all the trading decisions herself and has tried to play down Blair's role. But she acknowledged in April, three weeks after her trades were first disclosed, that Blair actually placed most of the trades.

...the exchange charged Bone and Refco with violations of its record keeping and margin requirement rules. Bone was suspended for three years; Refco paid a $250,000 fine, then the largest in the exchange's history.

...Melamed said it was "impossible" to determine the exact cause for the discrepancies between the Merc computer record of Clinton's trades and the trading records she received from Refco, which the White House released earlier.


Posted by: JS on January 23, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I have a question for all of you Obama supporters who hate Clinton so much. If she wins the nomination will you vote for St. John McCain? And for all you Clintonistas so quick to trash Obama will you lead the charge against him if he wins the nomination.

Frankly, the reason people trash their opponents is fear. It is ok for Clinton to be afraid of Obama, he does represent the future, or for Obama to be afraid of Clinton, she does represent the aspirations of a lot of women 45 and older, but for when all of us good Democrats start echoing the politics of personal destruction fearfully visited by our champion on his or her opponent, we are in a world of hurt. Perspective folks, perspective. There isn't a Republican out there worthy of being elected President.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 23, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Please someone show me the favors that Obama did for Rezko. List them out right here. If these favors run counter to Obama's claims about who he is and where he wants to take this country and his general narrative, I am sure willing to change my mind about him.

It is quite conceivable that this guy Rezko simply liked Obama, helped his campaigns, hoping for a return on investment that never occurred.

In any case I do agree it is a very good idea to thrash this out right now.

I guess we don't have to go through this with the Clintons since they are so accustomed to a state of sleaze that they know how to swim in it.

Posted by: Manfred on January 23, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yawn.

Name me a politician that hasn't rolled in the hay with someone dirty and it will be a first.

Shorter LA Times: Obama knows guy under indictment. Might have been friends!

Sounds like something you hear on Inside Edition.

Posted by: Nobcentral on January 23, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

So, there's nothing much here.

Nothing much here, indeed, but it doesn't prevent the Times -- or you -- from devoting space to what amounts to $85,000 in returned contributions. If you're really concerned about what Republicans are going to do to the Democratic candidate in the run-up to the general election, you might do more than make a passing reference to what we have to look forward to if Clinton is the nominee. The contributions returned by Obama pale in comparison to the $1 million that the Clinton campaign had to return, and it brings us right back to where we were in the '90s, when her husband had to fend off allegations about all kinds of dubious fundraising. And speaking of her husband... do you really think the right wing noise machine isn't licking their chops at the very prospect of having these two to kick around again?

Look, Kevin, if you want to pick at the bones of this Rezko story, that's fine, but if you're doing that at the expense of a more thorough consideration of what we'll be likely to see happening during another Clinton administration, then you're not being completely honest.

Posted by: junebug on January 23, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

My apologies to everyone for the double post. I have no idea how that happened.

Posted by: junebug on January 23, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Most of us here follow politics enough to know what the Rezko thing is all about, and that Obama did nothing wrong. But if you did not know anything about it at all, you would think his description of the relationship was all there was to it. That is going to be clearly shown to be false as the weeks go by and Rezko's trial is in the news.

Posted by: Dawn on January 23, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

First, I'd like to point out to everyone that the Chicago Trib has a much better look at this non-issue.

The Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times are both owned by Tribune Co. The Times seems to be an abridged version of the Tribune's.

But the politician in Pat Fitzgerald's ultimate sites in this case is not Barack Obama; it is Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Posted by: DJ on January 23, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Name me a politician that hasn't rolled in the hay with someone dirty and it will be a first.

I agree. Problem is that Obama is claiming to be that politican.

Posted by: Dawn on January 23, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Dawn, Exactly when did he make that claim?

Posted by: corpus juris on January 23, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

There is a diary at MyDD that goes into the Rezko stuff exhaustively, based on and linked to reporting by the Chicago Sun-Times.

It looked pretty dirty to me, lots of big favors to Rezko's real estate dealings.

Posted by: Horselover Fat on January 23, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

All right, sorry. He does not specifically make that claim in those exact words.

Posted by: Dawn on January 23, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Dawn, do tell us. When did Obama say this?

Posted by: Manfred on January 23, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone citing Taylor Marsh has to be aware that she is on a vendetta against him. It's been non-stop for months now. She went to censoring her site after Obama backers started calling her on it. Even her extensive post today says, in essence, "yes he did nothing wrong, but I still hate him."

Posted by: RollaMO on January 23, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yo Kevin, I have a post awaiting your "approval"...

Posted by: Boorring on January 23, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans don't need to look for anything in Obama's past. They'll just make stuff up. If it's a big enough lie, people will think it's real, because they won't believe anyone could possibly be unethical enough to tell such a big lie. That's what swift boating is.

Posted by: DanM on January 23, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Also note that the LA Times is be relatively pro-Hillary. Not necessarily anti-Obama, but they know who their base subscribers, and their base is Westside Hillary supporter, more or less.

Posted by: Shine on January 23, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Better article from the Chicago Tribune today:

http://tinyurl.com/yo2hqd

Posted by: markg8 on January 23, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Has anybody noticed, Al is in love! With Barack Obama of all people.

Posted by: fafner1 on January 23, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK
"This is devastating to Obama. He needs to have answers for his past and good ones." Mike

To say this is devastating is over-stating it, I think. But I agree that the issue of Rezko is particularly important, because Barack Obama derives a large part of his appeal due to his self-proclaimed subscription to new politics. He holds himself to a different standard, politically, and while that is a reason for his popularity, the taint of that appeal is a vulnerability. That is what Bill and Hillary (and Donald) are hoping for, someone to engage with in the "fun part".

Kevin is right: it is important to be prepared, and to lay out the facts of the matter now, rather than later, because the innuendo by Hillary's supporters that this story contains more than meets the eye is also because of a desire by Obama's opponents for there to be more than meets the eye. I'm particularly amused that Hillary Clinton supporters are concerned about the past of another candidate. Be careful what you wish for, I say. My overall conclusion is that I support further investigation, but there may ultimately be nothing there. Also, considering his opponent is Hillary Clinton, he should feel a little comfortable. It's like George W. Bush calling someone else unintelligible.

Factcheck.org article regarding the Rezko affair
Obama was associated with a law firm that represented the community groups working with Rezko on several deals. There's no evidence that Obama spent much time on them, and he never represented Rezko directly. So it was wrong for Clinton to say he was "representing ... Rezko." That's untrue.

Obama has known Rezko, however, since he left Harvard Law School, and Rezko has been a major contributor and campaign fundraiser for him since Obama's first campaign for the Illinois state Senate. Earlier, we looked into questions about a land deal in which the two wound up with adjacent parcels. No wrongdoing was found in connection with that transaction, though Obama has said it was "boneheaded" for him to be involved in it when he knew Rezko was under investigation. Rezko has since been indicted on fraud and other charges. Obama, who returned some contributions from Rezko and his associates long ago, returned another $41,000 over the weekend in an effort to distance himself from the businessman.

Let's go a little further, regarding this relationship...

A political patron from whom he bought a strip of land is under federal indictment, but there's no evidence Obama did anything improper.

Obama has a relationship with Rezko that dates back many years, but there’s no indication Obama did anything improper. Shortly after finishing law school, Obama, who had turned down a job offer from the developer, went to work at a law firm where he represented some community groups that partnered with Rezko to apply for housing rehabilitation loans. As a state legislator, he wrote letters to city and state officials in support of Rezko’s efforts to build apartments for the elderly with government money; the senator asserts that this was a project the community wanted. Obama got together with Rezko a couple of times a year, he has said.

And further, here is the L.A. Times article that "Donald from Hawaii" mentioned. In the end, I support an exhaustive inquiry by Patrick Fitzgerald, even though there is a potential political headache that Hillary would surely use against him. It's the "fun part", remember?

Posted by: Boorring on January 23, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Rezko was indicted on October 11, 2006, a month before the election. Just because do-no-wrong Patrick Fitzgerald (of Scooter Libby fame) did the indicting, doesn't mean that this isn't one of those Republican dirty tricks that other US Attorneys were doing. Rezko was a huge Democratic fundraiser in Illinois. His indictment sent a message to other big donors in Illinois to beware.

You cannot trust any one associated with thisadministration, not even some politically motivated hack like Peter Fitzgerald, who wants to run for either governor or senate.

Posted by: Mortimer Madler on January 23, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

SocratidGadfly,

I agree with you completely. If this had been discovered about a Republican candidate, we would have been all over this like stink on (expletive deleted)

I am far from a Clinton or Obama supporter but if I am going to be forced to support one of them (as it seems less likely John will be able to win) I want to believe they will keep their pledge about lobbyists. I know that Hillary is beyond hope on that point but I want to believe that Obama is being truthful about being beyond reproach. Especially since he refuses to say he won't hire lobbyists when he is elected.

Posted by: micknh on January 23, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, it's Chicago--whaddya expect? I'm sure that the condo I just bought somehow connects to a slumlord somewhere or a kickback scheme done by one of the people that I ended up talking to during the purchase process.

Move along, nothin' to see here.

Posted by: grumpy realist on January 23, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Rule of law has flown by the roadside, whether it's support for illegal infiltration by the liberals because their highest value is political correctness, or devaluation of the Bill of Rights and freedom by the Bush administration because they value security and fascism.

Posted by: Luther on January 23, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK
To say this is devastating is over-stating it,...Boorring on at 3:26 PM
One can hope, but their connection is a little closer, at least as is currently known.

...Those and other records disclosed five instances in which Obama did legal work for ventures that included Rezmar Corp. The case of City of Chicago vs. Central Woodlawn Limited Partnership is one example.
In 1992, that community group partnered with Rezmar Corp. to rehab the former slum apartment building at 6107-6115 S. Ellis Ave. As work was ongoing, city officials sued the developers, alleging 16 serious code violations at the property, including a dangerously dilapidated porch.
Obama and a co-counsel filed appearances in February 1994, but the court records show they appeared on behalf of Central Woodlawn, Rezko's non-profit partner, not Rezko or his company.
A separate attorney, Wayne Muldrow, represented Rezmar in the case. Muldrow, who had no connection to Obama's firm, could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.
In September 1994, Central Woodlawn was ordered to arrange for an inspection. Two months later a city inspection found "full compliance" with the building code and the case was dismissed.
A letter of support
As a state senator in 1998, Obama wrote two letters to city and state officials to support a Rezko/Davis senior housing project in his district that received more than $14 million in taxpayer money and netted $885,000 in fees for the two developers....

There is Obama's current statement that nobody had any inkling of Rezko's trouble
"This morning was no different: When asked about his relationship with Mr. Rezko, Sen. Obama misrepresented basic facts and contended that "nobody had an inkling" of Mr. Rezko's legal problems during the course of their relationship – including during their controversial land deal."

... Illinois Campaign for Political Reform: Sen. Obama continued relationship with Rezko after 'it became clear' Rezko 'had such serious clouds overhead.' "Nevertheless, the former state legislator and first-term U.S. senator seemingly missed plentiful warning signs that Rezko was headed for trouble with the law. 'The senator exhibited some bad judgment in continuing the relationship once it became clear that Tony Rezko had such serious clouds overhead,' says Cindi Canary, director of the nonpartisan Illinois Campaign for Political Reform." [AP, 1/22/08]...

I called this devastating because as you also said, his line is that he is a new kind of politician.

Posted by: Mike on January 23, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

There is a diary at MyDD that goes into the Rezko stuff exhaustively, based on and linked to reporting by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Er, I wouldn't rely on the Sun-Times too much for reporting. They're the Chicago equivalent of the NY Post -- much heat, very few facts. They've been a Murdoch tabloid for years.

Yes, I'm still bitter that they put a family portrait of my uncle and his family as their front page when they were killed in a car accident. Not a picture on the front page -- the whole front page. They're a tabloid through and through.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 23, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

And as a bonus, the Sun Times has Novak!

Posted by: RollaMO on January 23, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, Kevin. Thanks for finally posting my comment...but why did you cut it in half?

I like Scotian's metaphor of wanting to harden the candidate like a well-forged sword. High enthusiasm should be tempered with a realization that this will be needed to confront the inevitable Republican attacks that will ensue in the coming fall, as Barack Obama would be all the more better for it. However, as Donald from Hawaii should consider, it works both ways. Being a politician requires careful association, but sometimes that is not always possible, and you can trip. That is why I am very amused that supporters of Hillary Clinton bring this up, because for one degree of association between Antoin Rezko and Barack Obama, there are many other degrees of associaton between the Clintons and:

Norman Hsu: "Supporter of Democrats Is Sentenced in California" (drip)
Charlie Trie: "The Exploits of Charlie Trie" (drip)
Johnny Chung: Liu's Deals With Chung: An Intercontinental Puzzle (drip)
Pauline Kanchanalak: "THAI BUSINESSWOMEN AGREE TO PLEAD GUILTY TO CAMPAIGN FINANCING CHARGES" (drip)

In fact, here is a link to the whole list.

I expect the cries of "this has been discredited" to ring out, as if that would stop her opponents in November from charging them again (remember, now that Bill is in this, he is a part of it). But what is the strategy of "they attacked her before, people will gloss over that again"? As well, the Clinton supporters pleading is not going to stop their very candidate from continuing her accusations against Obama. Now: are you sure you want to go through with this?

Speaking of the Clinton camp, they have a lot of work cut out for them, to be sure. You can bet the McCain campaign will bring this issue out front and center when they debate, and the image of the experienced and weathered McCain, supporter of McCain-Feingold, against the weathered and inexperienced Hillary Clinton, with all of her requisite baggage, will be too much to bear. Do people really think that one possible association between Barack Obama is as fatal as the Clinton's many other "issues"? Seriously? Be careful what you wish for.

Christopher Hitchens: The Case Against Hillary Clinton

Because of comments by other posters mentioned, as well as with mutual respect to their critical reasoning regarding this process, I still say that Hillary Clinton will not win in November. Again, I await Barack Obama's next move, but wading through the evidence presented, this isn't the deathknell for the man.

For your further consideration, here is a profile of Barack Obama's campaign finance, as well as Hillary Clinton's.

Posted by: Boorring on January 23, 2008 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Is there any interpretation of the land deal that makes sense other than that, in effect, Obama took a $150,000 bribe from Rezko on purchasing the property?

Posted by: Steve Sailer on January 23, 2008 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

One way of looking at this is to see what happened to the Rezko property. The remaining 5/6 was sold to another Rezko associate for a small loss (on that 5/6 ths) a month after the scandal broke. If you count the Obama transaction they still made a small profit. If you count transaction fees, the building of Obama's fence, mowing, etc. it's still a loss. Since the recent sale was to an associate it raises the question of whether things are on the up and up. It's apparently on the market again so we'll see. How much of a premium do you get for houses next to Obama's?

Posted by: B on January 23, 2008 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Should be: "The remaining 5/6 was sold to another Rezko associate for a small gain (50k)"

Posted by: B on January 23, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

So Obama is enabled to buy a house for $1.625 M that had been on the market for $2.6 M, thanks to the machinations of an under-investigation political fixer, and this is a "political misdemeanor?"

Posted by: Trickster on January 23, 2008 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

So Obama is enabled to buy a house for $1.625 M that had been on the market for $2.6 M, thanks to the machinations of an under-investigation political fixer, and this is a "political misdemeanor?"

You're off by about $700,000 there, Sparky.

Rita Rezko's purchase, at the $625,000 asking price, came just as the Obamas successfully bid in a slow market to buy the house for $300,000 below the asking price, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 23, 2008 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Booring: "To say this is devastating is over-stating it, I think. But I agree that the issue of Rezko is particularly important, because Barack Obama derives a large part of his appeal due to his self-proclaimed subscription to new politics. He holds himself to a different standard, politically, and while that is a reason for his popularity, the taint of that appeal is a vulnerability."

I agree. I've never said that Barack Obama did anything illegal, and have further contended in previous threads that it was Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and not Obama, who appeared to be U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's "big fish".

But Obama has been inexplicably reluctant to discuss his relationship with Rezko, only addressing the issue piecemeal and after-the-fact following Rezko's indictment by a federal grand jury. Had he just laid it all out there publicly in late 2006, at the time of Rezko's indictment, this would be a non-issue, and further he would probably have been lauded for his forthrightness.

Instead, Sen. Obama -- for whatever his reasons -- deliberately chose to be disingenuous, with his repeated attempts to either minimize or obfuscate his relationship with Rezko, rather than admit that Rezko had in fact been both a political mentor and patron for nearly 17 years.

As it stands, Obama created his own problem here, having been so concerned with maintaining his squeaky-clean image that he refused to trust voters to render the proper and fair judgment about his relationship with Rezko once they knew the entire story.

I mean, we're talking about Chicago politics here, the dubious reputation of which long precedes Obama's arrival on the South Side scene. So what?

After all, Harry Truman had the notorious Kansas City pol Jim Pendergast as his political mentor, and very few people held that against our 33rd presdent when Pendergast was indicted and subsequently convicted for public corruption. Rather, many people admired the fact that Truman refused to apologize for that relationship and stuck by his friend.

Contrast that with Sen. Obama's recalcitrance and disingenuousness, which means that Democrats can look forward to such things like the following coming out in pieces, right through Tony Rezko's upcoming trial:

Chicago Sun-Times (January 20, 2008)
Obama surfaces in Rekzo's federal corruption case
"Obama is not named in the Dec. 21 court document. But a source familiar with the case confirmed that Obama is the unnamed 'political candidate' referred to in a section of the document that accuses Rezko of orchestrating a scheme in which a firm hired to handle state teacher pension investments first had to pay $250,000 in 'sham' finder’s fees. From that money, $10,000 was donated to Obama’s successful run for the Senate in the name of a Rezko business associate, according to the court filing and the source. Rezko, who was part of Obama’s senatorial finance committee, also is accused of directing “at least one other individual” to donate money to Obama and then reimbursing that individual — in possible violation of federal election law."

Drip ... drip ... drip ...

I will make no apologies for having repeatedly brought up this story for the past several weeks now, certainly well in advance of today's media feeding frenzy.

It's for the best that such stuff gets aired out now, well in advance of the general election, than in August, if or when Sen. Obama is either the party's nominee or its vice presidential candidate.

As Kevin said, "It's best to be prepared."

Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 23, 2008 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Donald, I know you're just trying to muddy the waters here so that Hillary looks less corrupt, but I did some in-depth research (a 5-second Google search) and found this article from November 2006 where Obama answers, in detail, a 22-question interrogatory propounded by the Sun-Times about Rezko. Yes, it's a tabloid, but the questions were asked and answered.

Go and read that and then tell me Obama was being recalcitrant.

In any case, I still haven't seen that quote where Obama said he's going change politics by never meeting people with shady connections. He wants to change politics by NOT FUCKING LYING. How hard is that to understand????

Posted by: Tractarian on January 23, 2008 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

You're right: it's nothing.

At most it is reminiscent of Truman and the Pendergast machine, namely an honest man with some associates who were not honest.

You are also right about being prepared.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on January 23, 2008 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

It seems a touch odd that no one has mentioned that Kevin's link is broken, but whatever. It's here, if anyone's interested, which clearly no one is.

On the bright side, it really is a nothing story, so there's no good reason for anyone to be interested, other than it being the ostensible topic of debte.

Posted by: Gary Farber on January 23, 2008 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Tractarian, that entire questionnaire dealt exclusively with the Obama-Rezko real estate deal. That's but a sideshow, and that's not his problem here.

Did you even bother to read the article I just posted upthread? You know, the one where the Obama '04 campaign was named in a federal court document as one of the beneficiaries to Rezko's shakedown of a state contractor?

Obama needs to diffuse this issue quickly by publicly discussing his relationship with Tony Rezko in its entirety, and not have it come out in bits and pieces as further disclosures about Rezko's activities become public. If he doesn't get out in front of this issue, and just lay it all out on the table, he runs the risk of the Rezko trial undermining his "Mr. Clean" image and ill-defining him right before the Feb. 5 primaries.

Now, "How hard is that to understand????"

There are truly none so blind as those like you, who simply refuse to see what's right before your eyes. So, if you're going to play the game, you better get a fuckin' clue.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 24, 2008 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

"Obama needs to diffuse this issue quickly by publicly discussing his relationship with Tony Rezko in its entirety, and not have it come out in bits and pieces as further disclosures about Rezko's activities become public. If he doesn't get out in front of this issue, and just lay it all out on the table, he runs the risk of the Rezko trial undermining his "Mr. Clean" image and ill-defining him right before the Feb. 5 primaries.

Now, "How hard is that to understand????" Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 24, 2008 at 12:42 AM

I have to say I agree with this completely. Obama cannot afford to have this sort of thing hang over his head without his having conclusively locked it into a nice safe frame/box, both for the upcoming primaries and more importantly for the general to block the GOP being able to get traction from it. Regardless of whether Obama supporters here like DfH because of his clearly Clinton partisanship this *IS* a very important point he raises that clearly transcends his partisan interests to Clinton to the level of making sure a Dem wins in the Fall. The fact that he thinks Clinton is the better choice does not mean he is wrong about this specific analysis (just the part I quoted, this comment is specifically focused on the quoted section of the one comment and nothing beyond that in his writings) on this issue from everything I have seen. It does have the appearance of not looking entirely on the up and up even if the facts are in the end that it was, which is why this is so dangerous to a candidate that has placed his ethical/moral credibility on a very high threshold to meet as Obama has. That he is not coming out to meet it head on and neutralize it definitively right from the outset does leave one wondering whether there is an ugly reason he cannot as opposed to his not doing so for other reasons, again the problem with Obama is his preference for ambiguity so as to appeal to the largest audience he can.

While that approach has its advantages, especially with an electorate that is clearly as fed up and cranky as this one (with good cause of course) it carries vulnerabilities which can be exploited, and if successfully exploited can do massive damage to such a candidate. THAT is why what DfH is saying is in my view exactly correct and why the way Obama has handled this so far appears to be a mistake that will come back to haunt him in DfH's perspective and mine. Remember, if a truly heroic volunteer war hero as Kerry was (and whatever you want to say about his life after he left the service his time in uniform and especially in combat theatre was exceptionally courageous and honourable, anyone unable to acknowledge that in my view is someone I cannot respect as being able to deal with reality/truth when it discomforts one as the records on this until Kerry ran for Pres make it crystal clear his record was honourable and his medals fairly earned the hard way) can have that redefined and used to cripple his Presidency so can such happen to Obama, especially if the taint of corruption can be successfully attached even if there is no wrongdoing in fact, in much the same way the Clintons were tagged that way in the 90s. While they have their flaws for politicians at that level in your system they have appeared to me to be far less corrupt than many from both parties in your past (Carter of course being a major exception too but he was not the fighter in the political arena that Clinton was) and yet they are perceived by so many as being of the worst of the worst, to the point I have been seeing the descriptors "Rovian" and now an Obama supporter (former Dem SC chairman as I understand it) apparently comparing Bill Clinton to Lee Atwater. I remember Atwater and his campaigns, I find that way over the line from rhetoric to hyperbole myself, and I find the inability of many Obama supporters to handle this level of hardball politics from their own side (which is far less nasty overall than the GOP, period) and the willingness to go to such comparisons no more moral, ethical, and non-traditional American politics than anything the Clintonites have done.

As I said before, for a politician claiming to do things differently I find the actual mechanics of his campaign and the way his infrastructure functions very much in the vein of traditional politics American style. The image of the outsider with the message of hope and renewal is not a new one in American politics, arguably it is almost an archetype, and that is what Obama is trying to tap into more than anything else, and so far he has done overall a reasonable job of it. However, to maintain it over the next eight months especially if he is the acknowledged nominee by the end of March say with things like the Rezko questions and the sloppy way he has handled that issue to date by trying to minimize and/or duck questions on it can be made into the appearance of a guilty man hiding something far too easily. So he has to deal with it as DfH says for even if it doesn’t cost him the Dem nomination it could cost him the general even with the prevailing strong winds for the Dems going into this election whoever the candidate is.

Posted by: Scotian on January 24, 2008 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Tractarian: He wants to change politics by NOT FUCKING LYING.

Oh, really? And you believe that? Bwahahahaha!

All the fricking hand-wringing on this thread is incredible. Oh, Hillary will get hit worse... oh, Obama will be new fodder. Waaah!

Wake the fuck up. The Noise Machine will come hard and heavy at whomever gets the nomination. They will make shit up as needed. Wise up and get prepared to defend the Democratic nominee.

And while you're at it, electing a super majority of real Democrats to the Senate and the House would be the wisest thing of all.

If you act like a pissy pants whining and moaning because your favorite didn't get the nomination and aren't willing to fight for Hillary or Barack (or longshot, John) ...in that case, thanks for fucking the rest of us over. ESADMF.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 24, 2008 at 3:08 AM | PERMALINK

Please apply the what-would-Kevin-say-if-a-Republican-did-it test to this posting.

Then laugh briefly, go off and do something useful with your time.

Posted by: am on January 24, 2008 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

"...can have that redefined and used to cripple his Presidency so can such happen to Obama," Scotian on January 24, 2008 at 1:27 AM This is from the second paragraph I wrote and should have read: '...can have that redefined and used to cripple his run for President so can such happen to Obama,". I missed that in my proofing and just noticed it again when I was rereading it again before I called it a night. Also it was a former SC Dem party chair named Dick Harpootlian supporting Obama that made the comparison to Atwater with Clinton. Sorry for any confusion although I expect the context and recollection of 2004 should have made this obvious regarding the Kerry point, but why leave myself open for a cheap attack by a member of the Trolletariat by not correcting it as soon as I noticed? After all, we are all human and will occasionally miss something like this even when we regularly preview our comments before publishing them as I do, the key is being willing to go back and acknowledge it when you see that you made such mistakes. I try to weed them out first but...*rueful chuckle*

Posted by: Scotian on January 24, 2008 at 4:04 AM | PERMALINK

Time for a reality check.

Some Obama supporters are accepting his debate position that infers he hardly knew Rezko.

Sorry folks, that was a big, fat lie.

The truth is documented in three responsible newspapers, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

The truth is that Obama and Rezko were friends since 1990. They often went out to dinner together with their wives.

Since 1995 Rezko and his associates, and their families have contributed about $200,000 to Obama's campaigns. That figure doesn't include the money Rezko raised for Obama over the years at fund raisers that he ran.

Also, in the federal indictment against Rezko, Obama is the "unnamed political candidate." The trial begins next week, which will probably stir up a lot of memories that Obama would rather forget.

No one is accusing Obama of any crime, but his halo is certainly tarnished.

How stupid of Obama to try to intimate that he barely knew Rezko when it's widely known that they were more than acquaintances, they were friends and political allies for 17 years.

Another item from his past concerns a primary campaign he waged against an enormously respected State Senator named Alice Palmer. She had been his mentor and he rewarded her by a ruthless campaign to drive her off the ballot.

It's interesting, and has been reported in national publications, that when Obama got to the Senate he approached Hillary Clinton and asked her to mentor him in the ways of the Senate - how to avoid mistakes, how to go for good committee assignments, etc. She graciously agreed to help him and told her staff to reach out to his staff and give them whatever assistance they needed.

Everyone knew that Hillary Clinton was going to run in 2008. When Obama decided to run (prematurely) in 2008, he didn't even give her a heads-up about his intention.

So much for Mr. Clean.

By the way, Alice Palmer never spoke to him again.

Posted by: myskylark on January 24, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK
Hey, Tractarian, that entire questionnaire dealt exclusively with the Obama-Rezko real estate deal. That's but a sideshow, and that's not his problem here. ...Did you even bother to read the article I just posted upthread?

Aloha, Donald. As a matter of fact, I did read the article you posted, and here's the beef:

Obama is not named in the Dec. 21 court document. But a source familiar with the case confirmed that Obama is the unnamed “political candidate” referred to in a section of the document that accuses Rezko of orchestrating a scheme in which a firm hired to handle state teacher pension investments first had to pay $250,000 in “sham” finder’s fees. From that money, $10,000 was donated to Obama’s successful run for the Senate in the name of a Rezko business associate, according to the court filing and the source.

Assuming Obama is the "unnamed political candidate", all that he's being "accused" of is accepting contributions from one of Rezko's firm's ill-gotten gains. Which we all know he eventually returned.

There's just no there there.

But good job at muddying the waters.

There are truly none so blind as those like you, who simply refuse to see what's right before your eyes. So, if you're going to play the game, you better get a fuckin' clue.

Ooooh, someone's a little testy. Could it be because someone saw through your little jackalope game? Do I even need to mention the words "cattle futures" to make you realize how ridiculous you sound?

Posted by: Tractarian on January 24, 2008 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK
No one is accusing Obama of any crime, but his halo is certainly tarnished.

Correction: no one is accusing him of any wrongdoing. So if his "halo" is tarnished, it's because of suckers like you believing Bill and Hillary's lies.

Posted by: Tractarian on January 24, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is that Obama has taken a holier than thou attitude and the Rezko affairs and how Obama downplayed his tie to Rezko clearly show that Obama is no better than other candidates. It's fair game for his Democratic rivals to point this out because the Republicans will make it a huge issue if Obama becomes the nominee (I can just hear them say "the shady deal between Hussein obama and Rezko." That'll hurt really bad). It's all about levels of expectation, and Obama has elevated himself so high that he is now failing to live up to the expectation of a clean polician. He is just another politician, though better at showmanship and feigned authenticity.

Posted by: Jimbo on January 25, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

This crap won't stick to Obama. At the end of the day, even if guilty, average Americans won't see this as a crime. On the moral scale of things, getting someone to buy you a house below market value ranks way below cheating on your wife, or killing thousands of people under false pretenses. In fact, the way the real estate market is now, most will secretly applaud him for it.

Posted by: agnostic on January 27, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Obama's halo isn't so easily tarnished, as his candidacy is less about him as a man and more about what he represents. Unless they find pictures of him having gay sex, these kind of sleazy attacks will backfire on the Clinton's. Their attacks already have to some degree, as people can see that they are acting out of fear.

Posted by: Merovingian on January 27, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Obama has been in bed with rezko for seventeen years!

Here's the story; Obama's downfall coming

http://media.www.thehilltoponline.com/media/storage/paper590/news/2008/02/05/Editorials/Obama.And.His.Slumlord-3188606.shtml

Posted by: pago on February 8, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Obama certainly isn't Mr. Clean. There was an article written about a bill that he introduced in the US Senate that initially had tough reporting requirements for reporting nuclear contaminants that seep into the land. The requirements were watered down - largley due to his political contributions from EXELON execs. This was written as early as 2006 by Harper's magazine and was also picked up recently by the New York times. To make matters worse, he cited this bill on the campaign trail as an example of his will to stand up to powerful interests - and he said the bill had passed - which it has not.

The issue isn't the number and magnatude of his sins versus Hillary. Of course he has less or we know about fewer, he has not been in the public eye as long. He also has less eperience/ exposure for the job he seeks. Both have written books about themselves, but only she has had books written about her. The difference in public disclosure is so imbalanced that he should never be considered her equal.

Both my husband and my neighbor cite Obama's editorship of the Harvard Law Review and the fact that he taught law as qualifications for the presidency. That wouldn't qualify him for a justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. People must think the presidency is an easy job.

Anyway, I can't wait until his "oops" votes are discussed by the republicans. The stories about them are not particulary flattering either.

Posted by: MRM on February 13, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

EXCUSE ME:

Obama got his money from Rezko who got his 3.5 million from Auchi:

Where's the media?

-Nadhmi Auchi is an Iraqi-born billionaire who was charged along with Saddam Hussein for conspiring to assassinate Prime minister (president) Abdul Karim Qasim and stood trial in 1959. (Auchi gave fellow Baath Party members machine guns from his home for Saddam Hussein.)

-Auchi protected secret money for Saddam Hussein AND Muammar al-Gadaffi.

(Remember, Obama's Trinity church Pastor Wright went with Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan in 1993 to visit Libyan socialist leader Gadaffi.)

-Auchi also financially backed Saddam Hussein's plan for a pipeline from Iraq to Saudi Arabia.

-Rezko was also a business partner with Nation of Islam Founder's son: Jabir Herbert Muhammad.

Why isn't the media talking about all of Barack Obama's scary friends who have ties to the worst people in history?

*Don't forget William (Bill) Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn of the Weather Underground.

*Obama's cousin Raila Odinga who just became co-President of Kenya this week (after 1,000 people were killed) whom Obama is said to be close to...who signed a secret pact with Muslim jihadists who were to ethnically cleanse people?


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/nov/16/iraq.politicalcolumnists

Posted by: Katherine on March 7, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

EXCUSE ME:

Obama got his money from Rezko who got his 3.5 million from Auchi:

Where's the media?

-Nadhmi Auchi is an Iraqi-born billionaire who was charged along with Saddam Hussein for conspiring to assassinate Prime minister (president) Abdul Karim Qasim and stood trial in 1959. (Auchi gave fellow Baath Party members machine guns from his home for Saddam Hussein.)

-Auchi protected secret money for Saddam Hussein AND Muammar al-Gadaffi.

(Remember, Obama's Trinity church Pastor Wright went with Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan in 1993 to visit Libyan socialist leader Gadaffi.)

-Auchi also financially backed Saddam Hussein's plan for a pipeline from Iraq to Saudi Arabia.

-Rezko was also a business partner with Nation of Islam Founder's son: Jabir Herbert Muhammad.

Why isn't the media talking about all of Barack Obama's scary friends who have ties to the worst people in history?

*Don't forget William (Bill) Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn of the Weather Underground.

*Obama's cousin Raila Odinga who just became co-President of Kenya this week (after 1,000 people were killed) whom Obama is said to be close to...who signed a secret pact with Muslim jihadists who were to ethnically cleanse people?


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/nov/16/iraq.politicalcolumnists

Posted by: Katherine on March 7, 2008 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin.

I can't see through your Rose colored glasses to know if you're a Moonie, a Branch Davidian or a Jonestown survivor. All these things point to a lack of character. Wake up, Obama is obviously a racist. And listen to the fact that he said if he heard objectionable statements "repeated" by his racist Pastor, he would denounce them. That's only of they were repeated. In other words, he can say them once and he will agree.

Posted by: Bob on March 17, 2008 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Obama sure makes a lot of mistakes. It's fortunate he has so many allies (Big Media) to protect him from his poor decisions. Obama-love

Posted by: Montus on June 5, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly