Barack Shows His Hand

Jeff Koopersmith goes south on Obama, finds his speech stirring but the backing arguments wanting.

March 19, 2008 – Lugano ( – I hate to write this, but Barack Obama's treatment of Reverend Jeremiah Wright is not only wrong, but a tip off, at least to me, that Barack Obama and his entire campaign might well be labeled a fraud by his opponents.

I had believed he might just be the man America is looking for. The next thing I know, he is dismissing the pastor that married him, baptized his children, and led his congregation for as long as Mr. Obama has been a member of Trinity Church.

One of my best friends, Elliott Curson – the master of political media who created Reagan's 1980 television spots and saved his failing presidential campaign – has been  supportive of Mr. Obama and I, as anyone who reads my columns knows, have been sitting on the fence. Mr. Curson said something to me this morning that got me thinking.

Before Mr. Obama's speech, Curson said that he felt Senator Obama's dealing with Antoin "Tony" Rezko and Rev. Wright might be his demise because these matters fly in the face of Obama’s core argument as to why he should be President: he has good judgment. 

The technique Obama is using ignores his affiliation and dealings with an accused multiple felon, fibbing about the amount of money this man Rezko contributed to him, and turning against not only on his own close friend at Trinity in Chicago, but an old and very respected pastor who Mr. Obama should know full well comes from a different and perhaps far more difficult era, and who has not forgotten the truth about what Vernon Jordan calls "America's dirty little secret: racism."  That just gives me the creeps.

Here is what Senator Obama said about Rev. Wright prior to his speech yesterday:

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.

"How conveeenient," the Church Lady of Saturday Night Live fame would have said about that.

Yet yesterday, Senator Obama stated he was aware of Rev. Wright’s positions and statements.

All of which I believe, for the record, are true from a Black American or thoughtful perspective.

As for Mr. Rezko, Mr. Obama's explanations about his own financial gains made under what I might term a "remarkable" property deal, are flimsy and unappetizing.  To boot, the Senator returned $84,000 in contributions from Rezko, and now – by magic “uncovers” that Rezko actually gave him more than a quarter million.  Hillary Clinton, when asked if she ever took a picture with Tony Rezko replied that she may have, but that she had not been his close friend for seventeen years.  Something to think about.

Here we have Barack Obama; brilliant, a hard worker, a family man, a Christian, and someone who brings hope for change on one hand, but turns his back on his pastor and denies his friends from political convenience.

His speech on the 18th of March was a work of art; perhaps too much so. While I was moved by many parts of it, I was flabbergasted at others.

Mostly, like my colleagues in the mainstream, I was confused.

Jeff Koopersmith is a political consultant, opinion research authority, policy analyst, and self-described "renegade lobbyist." He lives in Philadelphia, Washington and Geneva.

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