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Steven Zak- Contributor

Steven Zak is an attorney and writer. [go to Zak index]

San Francisco
Obama the Obfuscater
by Steven Zak 4/2/08

He believes... whatever you believe.

If one were to sum up the campaign strategy of Barack Obama in a word, it would be "obfuscation." Obama's well-known empty platitudes, of course, serve to hide the man behind them by revealing no detail. His underlying "black rage" -- expressed more openly by his less politically-cunning wife -- is hidden beneath well-crafted loftiness.

Now that he has been exposed as a fellow traveler of the America-loathing anti-Semite Jeremiah Wright, Obama's attempt at damage control relies once again on obfuscation. First, through an attempt to minimize the scope of Wright's hateful rants through such carefully chosen words as "occasionally" (as in "an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy"; and "occasionally" black anger "finds voice in the church on Sunday morning") and "snippets" (as in "snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television"). In truth, as America saw for itself, Wright's church was a cesspool of bile.

Obama also obscures his true sympathies by condemning unnamed "statements" of Wright while embracing the man as "part of me"; just as, when pressed, he "denounced" unspecified "comments" of Louis Farrakhan while referring to the man reverentially as "Minister Farrakhan."

The pretense is at nuance; the strategy is obfuscation. If you're offended by Wright's or Farrakhan's rhetoric, then Obama is with you. If you admire such men, then he's with you too. He believes... whatever you believe.

But behind the obfuscation lies a real person with real views. It defies credibility that the man who spent two decades listening to the bile-filled rants of Jeremiah Wright was drawn to him despite the filth that poured from his mouth rather than because of it; or that he took Wright as his friend and spiritual advisor notwithstanding the radical positions Wright quite clearly embraced.

Imagine a white candidate who had spent the last twenty years worth of Sundays soaking in the rants of a David Duke, but who now - just now, during a presidential campaign - wants you to believe that, while he disagrees with some of Duke's "occasional" and "controversial" thoughts, he still seeks Duke's spiritual counsel because Duke represents "the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up [a segment of the white] experience in America." You'd think the man an obfuscater of astonishing proportions.

But obfuscation is what you fall back on when your views are so radical that you can't present them openly to the nation. Consider an earlier radical Democratic contender for the nation's highest office who tried, and failed, to hide his true self and intentions. That man was John Kerry, both for and against the war, the candidate who posed as the combat-hardened prospective commander-in-chief who was in reality intensely hostile to the military. This wasn't nuance; it was obfuscation.

Obama, whose views are informed by perceived "disparities that exist in the African-American community" and "the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow," poses as the man beyond race. He is the divider posing as the uniter. The Palestinian sympathizer posing as a friend of the Jews. The slippery Chicago politician posing as the man above politics. Yet another candidate who doesn't want you to know who he is until it's too late.

Some of his admirers are the first to admit the deception. "If avoiding me would help him to become president, I'd be glad to stay in the background," Louis Farrakhan told Nightline, in a candid admission that Obama's best hope is obfuscation.

Likewise, black Chicago columnist and Obama supporter Mary Mitchell, angered by her candidate's offense of "denigrating Farrakhan's legacy" at a February debate, forgave him his "denunciation" because it was strategic, not sincere. "Fortunately for Obama," she wrote, "most black people understand the game."

Thanks to Jeremiah Wright, so do we all -- proving that, in America, even an anti-Semitic hate-monger may accomplish something worthwhile. CRO

This piece first appeared at IsraelNationalNews.com

copyright 2008 Steven Zak




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