First part of a two-part series.
We're less than a month from the election, and we still haven't unmasked the real Sen. Barack Obama, the radical, extremist, leftist with dangerous associations and dangerous plans and platforms. With the help of the dishonest, fraudulent, and biased mainstream media, Sen. Obama not only hasn't answered critically important questions, but also hasn't even been asked these questions. And apparently some voters are ready to vote for a candidate whose only accomplishments are pretty speeches.
We need leadership at these most dangerous and uncertain of times, and as Carly Fiorina, former chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard and now a top McCain adviser, put it so well: "Leadership is about service and sacrifice, not charm and style." Sen. John McCain is the very symbol of leadership; Sen. Obama is the symbol of lack of leadership.
With one last presidential debate left, I thought I'd prepare a series of questions that Sen. McCain ought to ask during the debate, and that the media should be asking and reporting on every day until the election. I know Sen. Obama has a history of stonewalling, of not answering questions, and of side stepping the ones he doesn't want to answer. I've personally put questions to the Obama campaign. They acknowledge receipt of the questions and then ignore them. I've also heard the multiple excuses Sen. Obama uses for not responding to criticism: That's the old politics; we're not interested in finger pointing; we have to stick to the real issues; etc.
Here are just a few of the many unanswered questions that Barack "Cat in the Bag Candidate" Obama should be asked and should answer. I've put them in the form of questions from Sen. McCain to Sen. Obama. Some, of course, would have to be shortened as they contain more background material that would be suitable for a question in a presidential debate:
1.Why do you have a long list of questionable associates that are racists, bigots, anti-Americans and even terrorists? You know who I am talking about: Reverend Jeremiah "God Damn" America" Wright, William "Bomber of Pentagon" Ayers; Bernadine "The Terrorists" Dohrn; Fr. Michael "Racist" Pfleger, Tony "Convicted Felon and Slumlord" Resko, Professor Rashid "Known Terrorist Sympathizer and Spokesman for Terrorist Organization" Khalidi, and the list goes on.
2. Are you aware that you could not get the security clearance required for a federal employee because of your associations?
3. You also try to say this is guilt by association. No, isn't this guilt by alliances. You not only associate with these dangerous types but your record shows you've worked with them for many years and even helped promote their ideas and programs.
4. Why do you lie about these associations when finally confronted with them? For example, of the terrorist Mr. Ayers you said he's just a guy who lives in the neighborhood. The truth is that you have had a long and close association with him. You launched your political career in his house. You wrote a blurb for one of his books. You served on boards with him. You were on speakers' panel with him. You headed a board of an organization that doled out $100 million of dollars working with Mr. Ayers, money that went to radicalize school children. Does that sound like just a guy who lives in the neighborhood? Your latest doubletalk on Mr. Ayers was that you thought he was "rehabilitated." That's baloney because as late as 9/11 he told the New York Times he should have done more bombings. Then there's terrorist Mr. Khalidi, who you describe as just another guy in the neighborhood. When you, Mr. Obama, were on the board of the Woods Fund (2002), you participated in awarding $70,000 grant to the American Action Network, A Chicago-based group founded by Mr. Khalidi and his wife. Mr. Khalidi held a fund-raiser for your political run. Was that a payoff for the grant? You knew or should have known what Mr. Khalidi stood for and that he had close ties to the PLO, when the U.S. State Department classified it as a terrorist group. And when Mr. Khalidi left Chicago for New York, you delivered one of the testimonials for this terrorist.
5. Why do you use the same incredible line every time one of your questionable associations is exposed? You've said, that's not the Rev. Wright I knew? That's not the Rezko I knew. Why do you have so much trouble figuring out these shady characters even after close associations that run for decades?
6. What does you inability to level with the American people on these associations say about your honesty and trustworthiness...and your values and character?
7. What do these associations with radicals, bigots, terrorists and all the rest say about your judgment?
8.Can you name another presidential candidate in our history who had so many close associations with terrorists, racists, bigots, and anti-Americans? Birds of a feather flock together. What does that line up say about you, Sen. Obama?
9. Why is it that you have received endorsements from Hamas, the terrorist organization; Fidel Castro, the former dictator of Cuba; Louis Farrakhan, the notorious anti-American anti-Semite who just called you the "Messiah"; and the Black Panther Party? Sen. Obama can't control his endorsements, but he can control which ones he announces on his Web site. The Black Panther endorsement was posted on his Web site. Doesn't that suggest Mr. Obama is proud of the endorsement by the Black Panthers, a group that is openly anti-White, anti-Jewish and anti-American. Only when criticism came in was the endorsement from the site taken down. Why can't you do what's write, before your wrongdoing is exposed and before it becomes politically expedient to act?
10. In one of your books, you admitted you sought out Marxist professors at universities. You were attracted to Rev. Wright and his Trinity Church, a bastion of Marxist black liberation theology. You have had a long association with William Ayres who rails and rants against capitalism and America. When running for the Illinois Senate, you sought out and obtained the support of the Marxist "New Party" in Chicago in 1995. You had a communist mentor when growing up. You advocate redistribution of income. You believe in big government as do all the tax and spend liberals that you swim with. Does that explain why there is a heavy touch of socialism in your worldview and in your programs?
11. How come you've been so closely associated with ACORN over so many years in so many ways? Even the distinguished Democratic pollster, Pat Cadell, said ACORN is in the business of voter fraud. They are now being investigated for voter fraud in at least twelve states. Why did your campaign pay ACORN over $800,000? And why did you fail to accurately report those payments, listing them for advance work and as going to an ACORN front organization named Citizen Services Inc. (See Investor's Business Daily (Oct. 8, 2008). Your other ACORN connections include representing them as a lawyer, training ACORN volunteers, and working with them on voter registration drives. Why, even to this day, have you never criticized ACORN?
12. In addition to voter fraud, your friends at ACORN have been heavily involved in pressuring and shaking down banks to make the bad loans that are at the heart of the present financial crisis. Don't you have some responsibility for ACORN's pressuring and shaking down banks into bad loans by virtue of your work as a community organizer training ACORN volunteers to pressure and shakedown banks? Perhaps you should respond to the conclusion of Mona Charen, the nationally syndicated columnist who wrote on October 6, 2008 in the Washington Times the following: "ACORN attracted Barack Obama in his youthful community-organizing days. Madeline Talbot hired him to train her staff - the very people who would descend on Chicago's banks as CRA [Community Reinvestment Act] shakedown artists. The Democratic nominee later funneled money to the group through the Woods Fund, on whose board he sat and through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, ditto. Mr. Obama was not just sympathetic - he was an ACORN fellow traveler."
13. You claimed to be working with the Democrats on the recent rescue package. At least you said you'd be on the phone when and if they needed you. Why did you let the Democratic majority put into one of the versions of the rescue plan, a slush fund that could be used by ACORN? Why are you so closely associated with this group that it is well known for its work involving voting fraud? And what does that say about your Democratic Party and its attempt to create a slush fund for this well-known perpetrator of voter fraud?
14. How come your $800,000 payment to ACORN did not show up on your federal election contribution reporting forms? You campaign says it was a "clerical error." This is about as believable as your claim these terrorists were only neighbors or that you weren't aware what Rev. Wright said, after 20 years at his church.
15. What about Rev. Wright? How could you sit in the pews at Rev. Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright's church for 20 years and not know that he was a racist, a bigot, and an anti-American? What does that say about your judgment? And what does your denial you knew about his anti-American sentiments say about your honesty (or your ability to perceive what is going on around you)?
16. Why did you work with, get appropriations for, and enter into a land deal with corrupt felon and slumlord Tony Rezko, now awaiting sentencing? You two bought adjoining plots of land, and you subsequently purchased part of the land from him. Was that a payoff for all the money you helped him get from the Illinois legislature? What are Americans to make of your financial adviser who is a convicted felon, your spiritual adviser who is an anti-American racist and bigot, and your educational associate who wants to radicalize students, not teach them math and science or make sure they achieve the usual educational goals?
17. Why did you say American troops in Afghanistan are just "air raiding villages and killing civilians?" Do you want to apologize now for that comment? Is that the way you support the troops? Is that why you refused to wear an American flag on your lapel? Do you support some of the other slanderous comments made by your fellow Democrats about American servicemen? For example, Rep. John Murtha said American soldiers were killing civilians in cold blood and never apologized when these soldiers were acquitted. Then there is Sen. John Kerry who said American troops were terrorizing women and children in the dark of night, or Sen. Dick Durbin who compared our troops to Nazis.
18. You'll recall that moveon.org ran the infamous advertisement that said "General Petraeus or General Betray Us." Why did you refuse to vote for the Senate resolution (the Cornyn resolution) condemning that advertisement? Why did you hide in the cloakroom when that vote was being taken?
19. Why did you say Iran, Cuba and Venezuela are just tiny countries and are not a real threat to us? Aren't you aware that Iran is now sending in weapons and people to kill our troops in Iraq? Aren't you aware they are now developing nuclear weapons and would not hesitate to give terrorists a dirty bomb that might wipe out an American city? Aren't you aware that Iran is the leading supporter of international terrorism? Do you, as critics often say, still have a pre-9/11 mentality?
20. Will you at last admit the surge in Iraq was a success? You opposed the surge and said it would increase ethnic violence and fail. And even after virtually everyone admits the surge has been a success, you still refuse to finally admit you were dead wrong and the surge has succeeded. A characteristic of presidential leadership is the ability to admit a mistake. Would you now at long last admit you were wrong on the surge and it is succeeding?
In tomorrow's column, I'll have more questions that Sen. McCain should ask Sen. Obama, and that the mainstream media, too, at long last should start asking.
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at email@example.com.