The day after New Year's 1996, operatives for Barack Obama filed into a barren hearing room of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
There they began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city's South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama's four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot.
Fresh from his work as a civil rights lawyer and head of a voter registration project that expanded access to the ballot box, Obama launched his first campaign for the Illinois Senate saying he wanted to empower disenfranchised citizens.
But in that initial bid for political office, Obama quickly mastered the bare-knuckle arts of Chicago electoral politics. His overwhelming legal onslaught signaled his impatience to gain office, even if that meant elbowing aside an elder stateswoman like Palmer.
A close examination of Obama's first campaign puts a hard edge on the image he has honed throughout his political career: The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.
Gov. Matt Blunt today issued the following statement on news reports that have exposed plans by U.S. Senator Barack Obama to use Missouri law enforcement to threaten and intimidate his critics.Cnsidering what Obama is up to, Gov. Blount may be guilty of an understatement. From The National Review:
“St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.
“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.
A St. Louis television station reports — their words — "The Barack Obama campaign is asking Missouri law enforcement to target anyone who lies or runs a misleading TV ad during the presidential campaign."AllahPundit at Hot Air notes the other times that Obama and his campaign have threatened people who have criticized him:
Prosecutors and sheriffs from across Missouri are joining "The Barack Obama Truth Squad."
They mention Jennifer Joyce, St. Louis Circuit Attorney and Bob McCullough, prosecutor for St. Louis County in Missouri.
The reporter says, "They will be reminding voters that Barack Obama is a Christian who wants to cut taxes for anyone making less than $250,000 a year."
Add this to the threatening letters his lawyers sent to station managers over the NRA ads, the flash-mob smearing of David Freddoso, and the appeal to the Justice Department to prosecute the American Issues Project for its perfectly factual yet devastating Ayers ad. Oh, the fun we’ll have with a deep blue Congress and an Obama-run DOJ and FCC.
Here's the Ayers ad. Obama is free to dispute it in public. Why doesn't he?
With all due respect to Obama, he does not have a monopoly on squelching free speech--or is the Democratic Senate leadership taking pointers from the Islamists when it threatens to take away ABC's broadcasting license:
[T]he manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC… Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation…So when the sponsors of the anti-Ahmadinejad rally at the UN were threatened with having their tax exempt status removed unless Palin was disinvited, it was just business as usual.
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events…
These concerns are made all the more pressing by the political leaning of and the public statements made by the writer/producer of this miniseries, Mr. Cyrus Nowrasteh, in promoting this miniseries across conservative blogs and talk shows…
Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.
With Obama, some things actually do not change.
UPDATE: Jennifer Joyce, St. Louis Circuit Attorney has come out with a statement about the Obama truth squads in Missouri:
Also see Volokh Conspiracy here and here--especially the second one which points out that McCain Truth Squads also include law enforcement officials.
As a citizen, I believe that elections should be about issues. I also have enormous respect for our First Amendment and freedom of speech. My sole purpose in participating in this initiative is about getting truthful information to the voters. This has never been or never will be about prosecuting people.
Clearly there are those who are attempting to twist the purpose of this initiative for their own benefit. This attack is a great example of how the truth is distorted in campaigns and what we’re trying to stand up against.
Also see Obama’s Scorched Earth Policy by Bernard Chapin on Pajama's Media
Crossposted on Soccer Dad
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