Just a Guy From the 'Hood

Robert Novak discusses Obama’s strategy of disarming those who bring up his association with black bigots and terrorists:

…Obama denounced [last Tuesday] what he called the Republican campaign plan: “Yes, we know what’s coming. … We’ve already seen it, the same names and labels they always pin on everyone who doesn’t agree with all their ideas.”

Thus, Obama seems to be ruling out not only discussion of his 20-year association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright but also any identification of the Democratic presidential candidate as “liberal” or as an advocate of higher taxes, higher domestic spending, abortion rights and gun control. These issues appear to be included in what Obama at Raleigh called “attempts to play on our fears and exploit our differences.”

The test of Obama’s strategy may be his friendship with and support from William Ayers, an unrepentant member of the Weatherman terrorist underground of the 1960s. Instead of totally disavowing Ayers as he belatedly did his former pastor Wright, Obama potentially deepened his problem by referring to Ayers as just a college professor — “a guy who lives in my neighborhood.” He then compared their relationship with his friendship with conservative Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, as he had compared Wright’s racism with his white grandmother’s.

Democrats abhor bringing up what Obama calls Ayers’ “detestable acts 40 years ago,” but it will be brought into the public arena even if it is not McCain’s style of politics. A photo of Ayers stomping on the American flag in 2001 has been all over the Internet this week. That was the year Obama accepted a $200 political contribution from Ayers and the year in which the former Weatherman said: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”

And Victor Davis Hanson on the “worst recession since the Great Depression”:

Last week, I asked a fierce Bush critic what he thought were the current unemployment rate, the mortgage default rate, the latest economic growth figures, interest rates and the status of the stock market.

He blurted out the common campaign pessimism: “Recession! Worst since the Depression!”

Then he scoffed when I suggested that the answer was really a 5 percent joblessness rate in April that was lower than the March figure; 95 to 96 percent of mortgages not entering foreclosure in this year’s first quarter; .6 percent growth during the quarter (weak, but not recession level); historically low interest rates; and sky-high stock market prices.

There are serious problems — high fuel costs, rising food prices, staggering foreign debt, unfunded entitlements and annual deficits. Yet a president or vice president running for office (and covered incessantly by the media) would at least make the argument that there is a lot of good news, and that the bad that offsets it could be shared by a lot of culpable parties, from the Congress to the way we, the public, have been doing business for the last 20 years.

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