Who Barack Obama is was clear before elected President
The Case against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate
By David Freddoso
Reviewed by Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. This ran in the September 2008 edition of National Right to Life News, just prior to Mr. Obama winning his first term as President. The book foreshadowed exactly what we see today: a pro-abortion presidency adrift and in disarray, “led” (so to speak) by a man whose first and last interest politically is and always has been himself.
If there is an overriding lesson to David Freddoso’s meticulous, measured, and hugely important examination of the rise of a very unlikely presidential nominee it might be “don’t embellish!” There is plenty, more than enough, in the record of pro-abortion Sen. Barack Obama that Americans will find unappealing.
But getting the truth out about the one-term senator is much easier said than done. “Our press normally fixes a critical eye on ambitious politicians who promise us the world,” Freddoso writes in the introduction. “That eye just seems to well up with tears whenever it falls upon the junior senator from Illinois.”
All of us have many first-hand brushes with that reality. For example, how many times have we heard that Senator John McCain’s choice for vice president—pro-life Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin—is “short on experience”? Ask exactly what it is in Obama’s time in the Illinois state Senate or the United States Senate that qualifies him to hold the most powerful office in the world, and you get variations of what I have often heard from starry-eyed friends: just look, it’s all there. Where? On Obama’s web page.
Truth be told, as Freddoso does so well in his book, Obama has a paper-thin bordering on non-existent list of accomplishments. If you listen attentively, most of the time the core of the case Obama makes for himself just glides over this inconvenient truth. Instead it’s about being a “reformer” who is able to “reach across the aisle” to Republicans because he “transcends” humdrum partisan politics.
However, according to Freddoso, “the idea of Barack Obama as a reformer is a great lie.” Obama “has silently and at times vocally cooperated with Chicago’s Democrat Machine to preserve one of the most overtly corrupt political systems in the nation.”
Too late for the book but in time to be mentioned in an interview with me (and to be included in a column written for nationalreview.com), Freddoso pointed to the Saddleback Forum which took place a couple of weeks ago. Rick Warren asked Obama to name one time when he had acted against his own or his party’s interests for the good of the nation.
“He responded by citing his work with John McCain on ethics reform—work that in fact never occurred,” Freddoso patiently explains. “The two men never did work together on ethics reform—in fact they clashed in a nasty exchange of letters over the issue after meeting once to discuss it. Obama’s fictional answer to this question was revealing, given that the entire premise of his campaign is his alleged commitment to bipartisan reform.” As Freddoso put it in an answer to a question I asked him recently, “He continues to validate the thesis of my book.”
As I read “The Case against Barack Obama, it became clear that abortion is the prism through which we can understand a man whose outsized talents are matched by an overweening ambition.
Freddoso writes, “Hillary Clinton was not radical enough on abortion.” To be fair Sen. Clinton has plenty of company: nobody is more radical on abortion than Barack Obama. Freddoso quotes columnist Terence Jeffrey, who correctly observed, “Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate ever.”
Freddoso uses Obama’s behind the scenes work to scuttle Illinois’s “Born-Alive Infant Protection Act” as a particularly telling illustration of “a shrewd, calculating politician” who “reflexively goes to ideological views that are very far to the Left from most Americans.”
His portrait is good but incomplete. Freddoso did not have the benefit of NRLC’s White Paper, which documents how Obama led the fight to kill a bill to provide care and legal protection for babies who are born alive during abortions, based on a vision of “abortion rights” more sweeping than that defended by any member of Congress—and then actively misrepresented the substance of the legislation when he sought higher office.
And, of course, Obama signs the Abortion Establishment’s Pledge of Allegiance to be behind every piece of legislation it proposes, including the measure Obama vowed to sign as his first act as president: the Freedom of Choice Act. FOCA makes Roe v. Wade seem moderate by comparison. Co-sponsored by Obama, it is a piece of legislation so extreme it would wipe out virtually every limitation on abortion, would make partial-birth abortion legal again, and require taxpayer funding of abortion on demand.
“Politicians promises are often empty,” Freddoso writes, “But this one deserves to be taken seriously.” Sen. Obama is “less respectful of human life than even the most pro-abortion members of the United States Senate.”
Let me end with where “The Case against Barack Obama” begins: the hearing room of the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners, January 2, 1996. It is a deeply revealing story about Obama’s first run for public office.
According to Freddoso, in his political autobiography, The Audacity of Hope,“Obama attributes his 1996 election [as a state senator] to the message he brought to the neighborhoods of Chicago’s South Side—telling people to drop their cynicism about politics, because yes, they can make a difference through voting, activism, and advocacy.” Obama himself wrote, “It was a pretty convincing speech, I thought.”
That’s the myth. The reality is that his speechifying had nothing to do with the election. Obama’s campaign volunteers and staffers were at the hearing “to challenge the nearly 1,600 signatures that state senator Alice Palmer’s campaign had collected in order to place her on the ballot for re-election.”
Obama’s people were there, Freddoso writes, to “disqualify as many signatures as possible.” They succeeded. Indeed, by the time they got through, the other three candidates were disqualified as well.
“Technically, everything legal and on the up and up,” Freddoso told me, “but throwing an incumbent state senator off the ballot doesn’t quite fit with the image he’s trying to sell now—as an agent of positive change and reform and somebody who is not cynical about politics.”
Freddoso quotes from one admirer who dubbed Obama “a kind of human Rorschach test.” Freddoso quotes Obama biographer David Mendell, who wrote that Obama “is an exceptionally gifted politician whom throughout his life, has been able to make people of widely divergent vantage points see in him exactly what they want to see.” People see in him what they want to see. I asked Freddoso what he thought of that assessment.
“When reporters start to pull at some of these threads, I really do think a very different image of this man is going to emerge—a shrewd, calculating politician aligned with the Chicago machine who reflexively goes to ideological views that are very far to the Left from most Americans.”
Indeed Freddoso believes “the halo is already starting to come off his head, particularly with the news about the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.”
As for his book, which appeared at number 5 on the August 24 New York Times Bestseller List for hardcover nonfiction, Freddoso has high hopes. “I hope it can start a serious national conversation about his record that sets aside the lies but also takes a real look at his record, which is not a flattering one.”