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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Mike Bates
Bio: Mike Bates
Date:  September 4, 2008
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Obama condemns (wink, wink) sleazy politics

For readers who might not yet have memorized last week's column, it consisted of observations from the Democratic Convention's first day. My intent was to provide something similar this week, but those darn GOPers refused to cooperate and held an abbreviated session Monday. I'm awaiting press reports that Hurricane Gustav was George Bush's fault.

For readers who might not yet have memorized last week's column, it consisted of observations from the Democratic Convention's first day. My intent was to provide something similar this week, but those darn GOPers refused to cooperate and held an abbreviated session Monday. I'm awaiting press reports that Hurricane Gustav was George Bush's fault.

Still, there was considerable political activity. Most of it centered on John McCain's choice of running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. I joined other conservatives in supporting Sarah's selection.

The delight intensified by seeing how out of favor Gov. Palin is with the mainstream media. The New York Times's Maureen Dowd criticized her because, among other transgressions, Sarah "has never even been on 'Meet the Press.'" On ABC's Good Morning America, the co-anchor posed this to a McCain staffer: "She has an, she has an infant with special needs. Will that affect her campaigning?" Newsweek's Howard Fineman opined that "Sarah Palin makes Barack Obama look like John Adams." Yes, I can certainly see how being a $10,000 a year community organizer offers so much more substantive governing experience than running a state.

Eleanor Clift revealed on the McLaughlin Group that the Palin pick was met with "literally laughter" in "very, very many newsrooms." No doubt.

Joining the mainstream media in the assaults were left wing blogs. Daily Kos circulated the theory that Mrs. Palin's baby, born last April, is in fact her grandson, the child of the Palins' teenage daughter. The speculation was ecstatically received by the tinfoil hat community. A poll was placed on Daily Kos asking, "Should we go after this story?" As of Monday evening, 63 percent of the more than 19,000 votes answered the question affirmatively.

Complicating matters was Monday's announcement that the Palins' 17-year-old unmarried daughter is pregnant. It didn't take long for liberals to use that to assail Sarah Palin.

Responding to all this was Barack Obama, seemingly taking the high road. He told reporters:

"Let me be as clear as possible: I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people's families are off limits and people's children are especially off limits.

"This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor, or her potential performance as a vice president.

"And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and, you know, teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that's off limits."

He went on to say that if he found people in his campaign going after another candidate's family, he'd fire them. Those are fine sentiments. They would be more believable, however, if Obama didn't associate with the very people spreading vicious rumors.

In August, 2007, Obama appeared at Daily Kos's convention. According to the New York Times, "Mr. Obama, who has built his candidacy upon the mantra of change, received booming applause when he was introduced to the audience of more than 1,500. When the moderator mentioned that the senator turned 46 years old on Saturday, several of those gathered in the ballroom began to serenade him with 'Happy Birthday.'" The senator has himself posted on Daily Kos. Investor's Business Daily noted last year:

"Postings on the site by anonymous 'diarists' have said that the world would be better off if White House Press Secretary Tony Snow's cancer returned. They wished the Taliban better luck next time after a plot to kill Vice President Dick Cheney during a visit fizzled. They suggest Iran has legitimate reasons to nuke Israel."

Other Kos postings have called Pope Benedict XVI "Nazi Pope." Stated that "I don't think 99 percent of our soldiers are decent, law-abiding folks of good will. On the contrary, I think most of them are a bunch of murdering, racist, bullies." And said, "Given a choice between my dog and (Senator Joseph) Lieberman, I'd gas him without thinking twice."

Some may argue that Daily Kos is a public forum and has no control over what's posted. That isn't true. Many Web sites, including Daily Kos, police what appears in their space and discard material deemed inappropriate. The problem is what Daily Kos deems appropriate.

Despite Daily Kos's extensively malicious record, Barack Obama chose to consort with such fanaticism. His words about candidates' families being off limits would ring much truer if he hadn't.

Mike Bates

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Notes:  This Mike Bates column appeared in the September 4, 2008 Reporter Newspapers.

Biography - Mike Bates

Mike Bates wrote a weekly column of opinion - or nonsense, depending on your viewpoint - for over 20 years. Additionally, his articles have appeared in the Congressional Record, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Mensa Journal. He has been a guest on Milt Rosenberg's program on WGN Radio Chicago, the Bruce Elliott show on Baltimore's WBAL, the Jim Sumpter show on the USA Radio Network and the New Media Journal's Blog Radio. As a lad, Mike distributed Goldwater campaign literature and since then has steadily moved further to the Right. He is the author of "Right Angles and Other Obstinate Truths." In 2007, he won an Illinois Press Association award for Original Column


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