Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Am I My Half-Brother’s Keeper?

Is this the Willie Horton issue of 2008? This little subtext, and how it will be used and interpreted across the partisan spectrum, is disturbing on several levels for both sides. It could blow up in everyone’s face.

UPDATE/ELABORATION: I knew some commentors would want elaboration, but the spectrum of comments I think makes my point, as I fully expected. First, the Willie Horton ad in 1988 was wholly legitimate, but liberals still cry foul/racism. If this present item about Obama’s half-brother gets traction, the same thing will be said forever, though it raises some legitimate issues (as one comment noted, liberals always want to give away someone else’s money, and seldom their own). But the ad also raises in a delicate way Obama’s "exotic" (as it is called) background. While his intellectual and political background is certainly fair game, his family background, though unusual, is a different matter. We’ve always tended to keep family members off limits to some extent. Democrats never really went after Donald Nixon as they might have, or Ronald Reagan’s troubled kids. As usual, it may be the Clinton experience (Roger Clinton, Hugh Rodham, etc) that broke down some of this prior restraint. It may well be an effective tactic to try to arouse our "comfort factor" with this unusual man, but it would be another step removed from campaigning on large issues. At least Willie Horton was connected to a real issue and a question of executive judgment. This case is more ambiguous.

Discussions - 23 Comments

Come on Steve, how can the fact that Obama apparently doesn't give a damn that his brother is dwelling in a hut, without running water, subsisting on a buck a month, ------------- how can that blow up in the face of ---------------- REPUBLICANS?

And there was NOTHING wrong with that Willie Horton ad. Dukakis WAS letting violent felons out early, without much concern for ordinary Americans who were apt to be preyed on because of Dukakis' adherence to Liberal pathologies. Lee Atwater called him on it, and the American people rejected Dukakis for that, and for other reasons.

This little subtext, and how it will be used and interpreted across the partisan spectrum, is disturbing on several levels for both sides. It could blow up in everyone’s face.

Elaboration, please! What is disturbing for the Republicans in this, and how could it blow up in their faces?

Lots of people have relatives in strange or even terrible situations. How those people got to be in, or why they stay in those situations tends to be very complicated. I believe (but can't prove)that on an instinctual level most people understand this. Most people don't know how Obama's brother got into this situation or what Obama did or didn't do to help his brother. But I suspect alot of people will think its creepy to try to use his brother's situation as an avenue to attack Obama.

Creepy, to say the least, Pete. Perhaps Steven Hayward will elaborate, not just disseminate this nasty Texas ad.

Memo from Rove to NLT: Now is the time, my pretties. Draw upon all of our sources. Use every blog, every site, find every innuendo. If Obama checked out a book, if he glanced the wrong way at a girl, every image, every comment. Every old paper he graded. Now, my minions, find and exploit every reference. Young people read this blog. Do not worry about your academic credibility or humanity. Just destroy. Obama is responsible for everything Rev. Wright ever screamed, Jesse Jackson ever cried, and Rezko ever mentioned. He is responsible for everyone they have ever read or associated with or been photographed with. Come, my dark forces. Now, now is the time.

To the contrary. HE'S THE MESSIAH, hence he's unlike other men. His own wife constantly says as much. Nancy Pelosi just dropped the other day that the false messiah was heaven-sent. That being the case, it's PERFECTLY appropriate for all of us to take a good, hard look at his WHOLE family.

To be sure it's true that many an American has relatives that aren't doing so well. BUT how many has relatives living without electricty, without running water. How many of us could claim a brother who is urinating and dumping on whatever jungle path he happens to be strolling down. Few Americans have brothers probably overflowing with every intestinal parasite under the Sun. And it's not unlikely that his brother also has the Herpes and the AIDS, like so many other African men.

And then again, no American has held himself out before the public as one UNIQUELY concerned for the downtrodden of the Earth. Well his own brother is one of the downtrodden, ----------------- and B.O. and his wife couldn't cough up a few grand to boot this guy into the lower middle class in that 3d world dump.

And then we have his wife, who during all of this is taking HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS PER ANNUM from a hospital that is tossing uninsured, poor blacks out onto the street. The faster this campaign starts exposing Obama's family, friends and associations, the quicker McCain puts this guy away.

Did you guys even check out Britain's The Daily Telegraph the other day, with their little tidbit about one of Obama's many "mentors."

There's another thing! How many readers here have ever had a "mentor?" How many here have gone off on one search after another for some quasi-father figure, and THEN had the temerity to churn out some memoir titled: "Dreams of My Father?" I don't know about you guys but I never felt the slightest inclination for some "mentor," for I never had the slightest doubt about who or what I was.

And what's Biden but the latest "mentor" in Soteiro{sp?}/Obama's life.

And as for being "nasty," ------------------------- perhaps you guys might recall that we're dealing here with some devotee of SAUL ALINSKY! He's well-tutored in the arcane arts of political rabble-rousing, feeding off of frustrations, sowing bitterness, spreading Socialist propoganda! That's who we're dealing with here. This clown promises people things he hasn't any intention of delivering. He takes one position when voting, disavowing it later when it becomes politically expedient. And you want to cut this clown some slack................

Not a prayer!

Stertinius - Fortunately for the Republican party, Rove is a lot smarter and a lot less cynical than you are.

Obama makes millions of dollars per year. His brother lives in complete and utter poverty. Obama could double his brother's standard of living by sending him $10, yet he does not do so, but he wants to take your earnings and spend it on big-government programs. I don't think it gets more hypocritical than that.

Obama is a hypocrite, but that ad talking about Obama's brother is distasteful. It will turn off many moderates and independents that McCain needs. Continuing this line of attack is unwise and unnecessary.

Heh. Yeah - I bet McCain's just hopping up and down, waiting to talk about how much family means to him . . . *cough* cheated on his first wife with his richer, less-bed-ridden second one (and his kids were so pissed they didn't even attend his second wedding) *cough*.

And what if Obama's brother likes living where he's at? Why do people pull this objective B/S about "under-developed" countries being so much "worse" than our own? I suppose Republicans would be the first to assume that someone would not be happy if he hasn't been eaten alive by the one-dimensional assimilation system know as their Providential "development". What arrogance . . .

See here.

I'm sure he "likes" living off $1/month. And it's really arrogant of me to "assume" he would like to be in something other than abject poverty.

Negative ads may initially "turn off" those that view it. But that's but the early and momentary impression. As the voter ponders what he's been apprised of, he'll turn away from the target of the negative ad.

Americans may confess they desire a "clean" exchange of views. But that's not really the case. Americans prefer their politics to be something of a blood sport. They want to be entertained, and negative ads, done right, are entertaining.

DGPAL said this "line of attack" is "unwise and unnecessary," ----------------------- but has he fully grasped what particular "line of attack" has been opened against the false messiah. I don't think he does.

Superficially, the attack is one of hyprocrisy. But that's only the superficial take. THE REAL attack is on his HONESTY, his CREDIBILITY. Which draws into question his ENTIRE campaign theme, which is one of "change you can BELIEVE in." Notice the word BELIEVE, by drawning into question his honesty, you're drawing EVERYTHING in the Obama campaign into question.

The attack isn't on a "line," rather the attack is ALL ACROSS THE LINE! And that's why the Obama campaign has responded in a panic. They know full well that McCain is unloading ordnance on target, and for effect.

And MATT, marriages don't often survive the kind of treatment that McCain sustained in the Hanoi Hilton. When he emerged from that prison, he was no longer the man she married.

Solzhenitsyn, ---------- his first marriage too collapsed. Of the stories that I've read of people confined in such situations, I know of only one where the marriage survived, and that is of Erich Hartmann, premiere fighter ace. If you read the story of Panzer Commander, his marriage too collapses.

It wasn't McCain that destroyed his marriage. It was his Viet torturers, who in their torment of him, obliterated his prospects for returning to that marriage.

And MATT, are you really saying that those who live in huts, with lice all over them, without running water, sweltering in the Summer, -------------- are you really saying that they WANT and PREFER it that way............???????????????????

I know your desperate here to defend what can't be defended, Obama's cold-blooded unconcern for his brother, {he used them to extol his exoticness and push himself to the forefront politically, but his African connections served their purpose, and so it's time for them to get under that bus, and quick about it!}, but actually saying those poor wretches live in sh%t holes and WANT it that way is a wee bit of a stretch, -------- don't ya think?

I think this ad is distasteful, irrelevant, and has no place in politics. Leave the families out of it. McCain should condemn this ad. It goes over the line. There are much better/smarter ways to attack Obama.

What do you mean "leave" the families "out of it?" Obama used his family as PART of his campaign. He inserted them into this race. Not us.

This guy has NO track record.

No legislative accomplishments.

No history of advancing "change" anywhere in his ever so brief political career. Not in Chicago. Not in Illinois. Not in Washington.

As for his "positions," mostly they're not "positions" per se, rather locales that he momentarily occupies for expedience and political advantage.

So what's left for the citizenry of this republic to judge him on. His words? Empty and vacuous.

What's left?

His family and his associations, that's about it. And his early associations flow from his family associations. Who was his best friend at Harvard? A son of one of the leaders of the Black Panthers. Now just think about that. OF ALL THE STUDENTS AT HARVARD TO CLOSELY BEFRIEND, he chose the son of one of the founders of the Black Panthers.

And as for "over the line," ----------------------------------------------- this guy is, as I mentioned before, {and as he, himself, has admitted} a follower of Saul Alinsky. That's the "community activism" that he was engaged in. You tell me what's "over the line" when engaging those determined to marginalize and polarize.

You want to be a loser, go out there and emulate GW, letting yourself get plastered, ------------ that's up to you.

But there are others out there who aren't about to yield, not to those devoted to the words of some Saul Alinsky type.

Take care of business and win the election, and the fastest way to put Obama away is to expose him, expose his Leftism, his inexperience, his family, his associations. ENTIRELY expose him. And 6 months after victory, few people will give two damns how you managed to win the thing.

We've had 8 long years of Republicans refusing to engage, and just letting themselves get walked on. And all the while, Republicans have been deluding themselves that they've been the more "classy" of the parties. As if self-flattery excuses serial political failure.

We have no margin for error, so this isn't the time for self-indulgence; this isn't the time to continue mimicking a Blue Blood ethos that has been out of fashion for 50 plus years.

You said the ad was "distasteful, irrelevant and has no place in politics."

There's only one question to ask about that political ad, or any other political ad that may be run against the false messiah, and that is: "Was it effective?"

This campaign is going to get ugly. And it's going to be distasteful. Nobody enjoys pointing out the bizarre associations of Obama, his mom, his dad, his wife. But nobody can KNOW Obama, without understanding his upbringing, and that upbringing is beyond bizarre, beyond strange, and is something the American people won't take a chance on.

People don't decide on issues, they decide on their feel for the candidates. It's a far more accurate way of making a decision. And it's helped Republicans, for there's only been two Democrats who reached The White House since '68.

We WANT a comparison between John McCain's all-American upbringing and that of his opponent. We WANT them to compare McCain's mom to Obama's mom. We WANT them to compare McCain's dad, a war hero and an Admiral to Obama's. Just as we want McCain's wife to be compared to Obama's

And we want that because in those comparisons we learn a GREAT deal about those two men.

Is that cold-blooded? You're damn right it is. But perhaps you should be a bit more mindful of what the stakes are, what's involved here, how the fates of hundreds of millions of people will play out because of the outcome of this one political contest.

It is absolutely imperative that the man who sat listening to Jeremiah Wright for 20 long years be rejected by the American people. It isn't going to be pretty, and there was no other way of exposing Obama, for the media is in the tank, won't run any genuine stories about his inexperience, and won't let much stand in the way of the "historic moment." Once Obama defeated Hillary, -------------- it was ALWAYS going to get ugly.

I don't knock Obama for his inexperience, but I do knock him for what he has stood for and accepted in his life up to this point!

Does Obama have to be his brother's keeper?

No, but it shows a lot about Obama's character and morality when he has the chance to lift a member of his blood-line out of proverty, but doesn't.

Or is it the cliche, liberals like to give away other people's money, but won't give a dime of their own?

Rove memo #2 to NLT: Good, goooood my pets. More. I want to see one hundred such posts. Arise, my legions. Cast aspersions. Denigrate. Leave no stone unturned. Let every of Obama’s past friends and conversations now haunt him. Let his every association now plague him. Six degrees of separation connect him to Che Guevera, Charles Manson, even Willy Horton. Insinuate, lie, anything, for our cause is just. Post images of contempt. Run a story on his birth certificate. Run a story on his Marxist past, his Hawaiian vacation, his impoverished brother. Cast him as effeminate. Link to a site implying he is a homosexual. Describe the democrats as being in ‘panic’. Arise, use every treachery. Let this false messiah trigger our own messianic hatreds. Target his wife and his children of Belial. Now, now is the time.

And MATT, are you really saying that those who live in huts, with lice all over them, without running water, sweltering in the Summer, -------------- are you really saying that they WANT and PREFER it that way............???????????????????

Hey, Dan -

I'm saying you don't know. Just like you don't know why McCain's marriage really collapsed (I bet not every POW's marriage disintegrated after they were rescued), or if his affair is really excusable. Maybe Obama's brother would prefer living there (see the link I posted earlier). I don't know, and I'm not going to assume that I do (unlike your beloved ad). I'm sure some people want to keep living like that and some people don't. You've never read any critics of modern "development"? I mean, you could even turn to the Amish for people who somewhat reject "development". And how dare they? Who would want that? Only the crazies, I suppose. You don't think there any other kinds of people like that - perhaps even more happy in their even worse conditions - . . . anywhere else . . .? Who could fathom that? Clearly not those who think that they know what's best for everyone else (aka = neocons).

Silly me: I missed Stertinius' wonderful parody. It was the voice of the Wicked Witch that confused me.

Oh brother (or, in this case, half-brother). Yes, trying to make this the "Willie Horton issue" (I wonder why that connection was made?) of the election certainly "would be another step removed from campaigning on large issues" but then I've seen very little interest in the "large issues" from the McCain campaign or his surrogates. It's been much like the "analysis" of Hillary, in that it was a lot of dissections of what's REALLY going on inside his mind, and what his real motivations are. He's a Muslim, a Manchurian candidate, he's either an outright hater of America or just not patriotic enough, he's completely inexperienced (haha), he was never a POW, he's an elitist, etc.

Of course, if Obama had sent money to this half-brother or completely supported him from afar, we'd now be hearing how Obama had been doing this (for however many years) as a cynical preparation for his current campaign - not because he cared! And if he had helped him to immigrate, then we'd be hearing about Obama's personal mission to populate "our" country with The Mozlems. (As we know, it matters not what his actual religion is)

The article that Matt links to certainly seems to go far in debunking the narrative of Obama as the greedy, uncaring pig, abandoning his family:

"He said that he was furious at subsequent reports that he had been abandoned by the Obama family and that he was filled with shame about living in a slum. 'It seems there are people who want to destroy me and my family,' he said. 'They say I live on a dollar a month, but this is all lies by people who don’t want my brother to win.' He said that he was supported by his mother, Jael, who now lives in the US, and by a cousin in Huruma. The Obama family in Kenya watched with dismay as the campaign in the US turned increasingly negative."

Yes, that might be great. McCain, Rove, & Co. should run a whole slew of ads like this. Then, the ads could be shown to the Kenyan Obamas, and their videotaped reactions to them could be the next record-setting clips on YouTube.

After watching that grotesque ad and reading the post here, I couldn't help but to be reminded of this NLT post. Using Obama's half-brother on the other side of the world for political gain is apparently worth considering but if he had (anonymously) lost what little he had in a cyclone, earthquake, or some other disaster, well, then we'd be cautioned not to give into "guilt-inducing pleas for help." Yes, the Right really cares about this guy, I'm sure, and are in a fine position to question Barack's level of concern.

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