Obama Strikes Back


“I wish it didn’t have to be a choice. I think a lot of people who are torn between us feel that way. But it is a contest, and the contrasts have to be drawn and the questions have to be asked because, obviously, I wouldn’t be in this race and working as hard as I am unless I thought I am uniquely qualified at this moment in our history to be the president we need starting in 2009 I think it is informed by my deep experience over the last 35 years, my firsthand knowledge of what goes on inside a White House.”

—Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Newsweek Jan. 14, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama’s done it. He’s won me over. Not that I’ll be voting for him in Oregon’s meaningless, after it’s all over with, May 20th Primary. I already reregistered Republican so I can cast a protest vote for the sole candidate calling for getting the troops out now – Rep. Ron Paul. And, of course, Obama is also still a corporate hack. He’s a Senator and his main advisor is Zbiggy, ferchrissakes! But, I am going to say that he’s by far the better person running amongst the top two Democrats; not just the usual, lesser evil.

The endless, typical Clintonian stream of smears and lies about Obama had me leaning already. The attack by billionaire surrogate Bob Johnson of BET right on the heels of the HRC campaign claiming – and the obedient press parroting – a “truce” on such crap was about all I could stand. But, Obama’s own performance at the South Carolina debate sealed the deal.

What are we? A year into the campaign? Yet every time, and we’re talking hundreds of times, HRC, spouse and surrogates have trotted out the “experience” canard, we’ve never once seen a single rebuttal from any of the captive mainstream media. “Uniquely qualified?” Hillary Clinton could claim walking on water and the press lapdogs would duly report.

But it all came crashing down as none other than Obama put some details on her “35 years of experience” — er, after Iowa, her “35 years as an agent for change” claim at the debate.

Of course, 35 years ago, Hillary Rodham was actually a student at Yale Law School. Sure, she did later serve as a minor character in the Watergate Hearings and she did serve on the board of the Legal Services Corp. And, as First Lady, she did craft that incomprehensible, failed health-care plan ­ though one would think instead of claiming the health care fiasco as some sort of experience plus, she’d trot out the same failed memory she used to deflect the investigation into her work at Rose Law. But, then again, Big Health has paid massive protection money to her in the form of campaign contributions, so maybe she did learn from the experience.

Sen. Clinton also contends;

“It is tempting any time things seem quieter for a minute on the international front to think that we don’t need a president who’s up to speed on foreign affairs and military matters. Well, that’s the kind of logic that got us George Bush in the first place. Experience in foreign affairs is critical for ending the war in Iraq, averting war in Iran, negotiating a Middle East peace and dealing with North Korea.”

Yet the record shows that she never held a security clearance, was never in on any foreign policy briefings, nor was she privy to the daily intelligence summaries provide her husband. So much for “firsthand knowledge.” Just how will her false claim of foreign policy experience play out if her opponent is Sen. John McCain who does have 25 years experience as an elected representative to her seven (or Obama’s eleven)?
Obama Steps Up

While Obama was a street-level community organizer and teaching Constitutional Law in Chicago, Clinton was a corporate lawyer for the Rose Law firm in Little Rock. For years HRC claimed that she was not doing any “trial work” for Rose Law. Yet, the oft-subpoenaed “lost” Rose Law billing records which conveniently showed up on a table in the White House Book Room in January 1994 – the most-monitored house in America ­ showed that she, indeed, had been the trial lawyer for James McDougal’s Madison Guaranty S & L, representing Madison before Gov. Bill Clinton’s Arkansas Securities Department, among other work. Sworn testimony contradicted her claim that it was another lawyer who brought Madison’s account to Rose Law when it was none other than Gov. Bill Clinton who cited personal poverty and pleaded with McDougal to “send some work our way.” HRC testified that she could not remember doing any trial work for Madison. In total, the “lost, then found” records show that Clinton billed Madison Guaranty for 89 tasks, including 33 conferences with Madison Guaranty officials, on 53 separate days.

At the debate, Obama noted another part of Clinton’s “agent for change / experience years” – her 1986 -1992 time on the board of directors of Wal-Mart, consistently held up as one of the worst anti-labor corporations in America. In fact, it was only last year, as HRC geared up for her presidential run, that the Clintons finally divested their stock in Wal-Mart.

Clinton responded by noting that she was fighting the Republicans “when you were practicing law and representing your contributor … in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago,” referring to an Obama fund-raiser who has been charged with fraud and money-laundering. Of course, Obama could (and should) have countered with the many Clinton criminal fund-raisers ­ from Norman Hsu to Abdul Rehman Jinnah, who fled to Pakistan under indictment after bundling up over six figures for the HRC campaign.

Or he could have cut to the chase and noted, as the Wall Street Journal did on Tuesday that:

“Former President Clinton stands to reap around $20 million — and will sever a politically sensitive partnership tie to Dubai — by ending his high-profile business relationship with the investment firm of billionaire friend Ron Burkle.

Mr. Clinton is negotiating to end his relationship with Mr. Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. as part of a broader effort to protect the presidential campaign of his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, from potential conflicts of interest.”

(Meaning it was OK for a US Senator to face such “potential conflicts of interest,” but not OK for a President?)
Confronting the Bully-in-chief

Obama may not have hit back (yet) on unsavory Clinton fund-raising and even more unsavory sweetheart financial arrangements for the former president, but Obama did take on the serial attack lies coming from Bill Clinton. After the HRC campaign sued to prevent workers from caucusing at convenient-to-worksite venues in Nevada and lost, Bill Clinton had the audacity to respond (even stooping to dragging Chelsea into it) with this incredible, yet classic Clinton projection :

“Today when my daughter and I were wandering through the hotel, and all these culinary workers were mobbing us telling us they didn’t care what the union told them to do, they were gonna caucus for Hillary.

There was a representative of the organization following along behind us going up to everybody who said that, saying ‘if you’re not gonna vote for our guy were gonna give you a schedule tomorrow so you can’t be there.’ So, is this the new politics? I haven’t seen anything like that in America in 35 years. So I will say it again ­ they think they’re better than you.”

The vile claim was soundly refuted by all who were there at the time. Nevada newspapers researched it and found nothing to it. Culinary Workers political director Pilar Weiss noted “The fact that they lost a lawsuit aimed at suppressing workers’ votes, and that now they’re trying to hold on to these baseless claims is ridiculous.”

The Obama camp told Bill to put-up with a formal election complaint or shut-up.

At the debate, Obama was noticeably upset with and addressed Bill Clinton’s string of attacks. Hillary snarled at him, “I’m here. He’s not.”

“Well, I can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes,” Obama responded.

Last week, Bill Clinton went on the Roland S. Martin radio show – which has a largely African-American audience ­ and claimed he had evidence of “80 personal attacks on Hillary” emanating from the Obama Campaign. He didn’t elaborate.

Obama tried, to no avail, to take the adult, high road when he said last week in Reno in response to the various race-baiting statements, “Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically been on the right side of civil rights issues. They care about the African American community.”

Now, I’m not going to reregister to vote for Obama in our meaningless Primary. And, I still plan to do an in-depth analysis of Obama’s work as a corporate go-fer. But, it’s sure heartening to see that he will take off the gloves and get down in the Clinton muck and defend his record and point out the glaring inconsistencies in Sen. Clinton’s claims and the outright lies of her spouse.

We need such spunk in the face of such bullying. After all, it was wimpishness in the face of just these kinds of lying attacks that gave Bush a victory over ABB four years ago; continuing the lamentable string of bullies in the White House.

MICHAEL DONNELLY predicts the fix is in and we’ll see a race between HRC and either king flip-flopper Mitt Headroom or “South Korea Model” McCain. The only question will be if a Mike Bloomberg/Ron Paul independent run will derail or assure Bill’s return to the White House. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com




MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com