‘The In­con­ve­nient Obama’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

Sen. Barack Obama has a prob­lem. And it lives in a hut. His name is Ge­orge Hus­sein Onyango Obama, and he is the 26-year-old half brother of Mr. Obama, the mul­ti­mil­lion­aire au­to­bi­og­ra­pher who ne­glected to write that his pa­ter­nal sib­ling lives on less than a dol­lar a month in the outer slums of Nairobi, Kenya. They have met twice. Un­earthed by Ital­ian Van­ity Fair and vir­tu­ally ig­nored by the Amer­i­can press, the in­con­ve­nient Ge­orge Obama could emerge as a com­pelling char­ac­ter in the fresh­man se­na­tor’s care­fully edited road-tothe-White-House nar­ra­tive — es­pe­cially now that his cam­paign has un­leashed a per­sonal at­tack on Sen. John McCain’s sta­tion in life.

The Obama hit job on Mr. McCain seizes on his clum­si­ness in an­swer­ing a re­porter’s ques­tion about how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own. “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you,” Mr. McCain fum­bled. In a well-funded na­tion­ally tele­vised ad spot ti­tled “Seven,” Mr. Obama’s mes­sen­ger twice re­peats the cor­rect an­swer as the words on the screen re­in­force the meme of class war­fare. “Seven. Worth $13 mil­lion.” The Sun­day morn­ing shows on Aug. 24 par­roted Mr. Obama’s shock­ing dis­cov­ery that the McCain fam­ily is well-off. Smart­ing Oba­ma­ni­acs cam­paign­ing for their mes­siah are now scripted to ask vot­ers in bat­tle­ground states how many houses they own and par­tic­i­pate in an of­fi­cial cam­paign con­test, “Who Wants to Be a Mil­lion­aire: McCain Edi­tion.” Win­ners re­ceive hope, change and fist bumps — spoils of the “new kind of pol­i­tics.”

Some­one who made $4.2 mil­lion last year and lives in a man­sion that a mob­ster helped pay for should not be throw­ing stones. When Mr. Obama’s flesh-and-blood lives in squalor, rais­ing the stan­dard of liv­ing of his op­po­nent’s ex­tended fam- ily is prob­a­bly not a smart idea.

It’s scary to think that this could be a preview of an Obama pres­i­dency in which at­tack­ing the rich is all the rage, and the rich in the news me­dia pre­tend it’s OK. Hugo Chavez is hav­ing a hel­luva run bring­ing down his for­merly pros­per­ous na­tion of Venezuela with that for­mula.

Mr. McCain, of course, would be pub­licly evis­cer­ated if he funded an ad cam­paign called “12” — as in the amount of dol­lars a year Mr. Obama’s half-brother sub­sists on. The mes­sage also could ac­cu­rately point out that Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, have con­sis­tently fallen short of the na­tional av­er­age in char­i­ta­ble con­tri­bu­tions since they en­tered the high­est in­come bracket — de­spite their bal­ly­hooed “pro­gres­sive” re­li­gious faith that touts “eco­nomic equal­ity.”

It would also be fair game now to point out that preach­ing “so­cial jus­tice” pays bet­ter than be­ing a United States se­na­tor. The Trin­ity Bap­tist Church is build­ing a man­sion for the Rev. Jeremiah Wright that in­cludes an el­e­va­tor, a but­ler’s pantry, a bar, a rub­ber­ized ex­er­cise room — and the 10,000square-foot es­tate backs up to the Odyssey Coun­try Club. (Memo to wealthy Cau­casian Repub­li­can mem­bers of the golf club: “Fore!”)

At­tached to Mr. Wright’s church-funded prop­erty is a pe­cu­liar $10 mil­lion line of credit — pre­sum­ably, none of which will be given to Ge­orge Obama.

Mr. McCain’s ad also could high- light that Michelle Obama is on leave from her $317,000-a-year job at the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago Med­i­cal Cen­ter, which is now un­der scru­tiny — along with Obama cam­paign chief David Ax­el­rod and two other staffers — for a scheme that, ac­cord­ing to the Chicago Sun­Times, “steers pa­tients who don’t have pri­vate in­sur­ance — pri­mar­ily poor, black peo­ple — to other health care fa­cil­i­ties.”

“The med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als who have come to me are ac­cus­ing the uni­ver­sity of dump­ing pa­tients on its neigh­bor­ing in­sti­tu­tions,” Toni Preck­win­kle, al­der­man for the 4th Ward, told the pa­per.

Pa­tient-dump­ing poor blacks may be in­ter­est­ing, but not quite as news­wor­thy as John McCain mar­ry­ing a beer heiress 28 years ago.

Does any­one think if Mr. McCain had a sib­ling liv­ing in a trailer park mak­ing min­i­mum wage (892 times more than Mr. Obama’s half brother’s yearly in­come) that the main­stream me­dia and the Obama cam­paign wouldn’t no­tice?

In fact, two weeks ago Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio ran a piece ti­tled, “Cindy McCain’s Half Sis­ter ‘An­gry’ She’s Hid­den,” high­light­ing that Mr. McCain’s wife’s half sis­ter was left out of her fa­ther’s will. The piece was duly filed un­der the pub­licly funded net­work’s “con­ser­va­tive com­pas­sion deficit” me­dia tem­plate.

Yet Mr. Obama has a half brother who lives in Africa on three cents a day, and the story breaks in an Ital­ian mag­a­zine and is picked up by a Lon­don news­pa­per and a few oth­ers in Aus­tralia. Per­haps the story would be car­ried widely in Amer­ica if they could fig­ure out how to blame Pres­i­dent Bush. But as Bob Geldof pointed out, he “has done more [for Africa] than any other pres­i­dent,” and of the press harshly judged, “You guys didn’t pay at­ten­tion.”

Nor will they pay at­ten­tion that the McCains have adopted a poor Bangladeshi child and done un­told amounts of hu­man­i­tar­ian and char­ity work.

What makes this story news­wor­thy for Ital­ians, Brits and Aussies, but not Amer­i­cans, is that the U.S. free press is free to ig­nore sto­ries that could take down their pre­or­dained pres­i­dent. And af­ter the In­ter­net and talk ra­dio-driven “Swift Boat” story un­ex­pect­edly sank their last guy, the main­stream Amer­i­can press is tak­ing ex­tra pre­cau­tions this time around.

If for some in­ex­pli­ca­ble rea­son the me­dia had been forced by their on­line and talk ra­dio bet­ters to run with this ou­tra­geous and creepy story, key Obama sup­porter Oprah Win­frey could have come to the res­cue at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion. On Night 3, the bil­lion­aire tele­vi­sion host­ess could have syn­the­sized her two best show archetypes: the heart-wrench­ing fam­ily re­union and “Oprah’s Fa­vorite Things,” the give­away of ma­te­rial goods.

Imag­ine the emo­tional fire­works as 75,000 Obama sup­port­ers at In­vesco Field wit­nessed Barack Obama re­con­nect­ing with his des­ti­tute half brother as was he lav­ished with Kai Body But­ter & Buf­fer, Per­fect End­ings Cup­cakes by Wil­liams-Sonoma, Hand-Blown Crys­tal Cham­pagne Glasses by Deborah Ehrlich and a Pure Sim­plic­ity Pump­kin Pu­ri­fy­ing Mask.

Con­tro­versy averted. Be­cause Democrats care more.

An­drew Bre­it­bart is the founder of the news Web site bre­it­bart.com and is co-au­thor of “Hol­ly­wood In­ter­rupted: In­san­ity Chic in Baby­lon — the Case Against Celebrity.”

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