Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 3, 2008
POLITICS: A Confident Prediction About Barack Obama

I will make now a prediction about one thing we will see in the event of an Obama Presidency, and stick by it: Obama will never be free of his past.

During the 8 years of the Bush presidency, we have heard relatively little new information about his pre-presidential career, with the exception of the 2004 effort to dig further into his Texas Air National Guard service to contrast him with John Kerry. There's a reason for this: when Bush ran for President in 2000, the media crawled all over whatever they could find, most famously culminating in the story of his 1976 DUI arrest that broke the week of the election.

Much the same was true of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. The press dealt mostly with their tenure in office, having already fully vetted them prior to their elections. We have seen in recent months the same process for Sarah Palin, with every aspect of her life being turned over by investigative reporters. And of course, John McCain as well.

Contrast the Clinton Administration - during the Clinton years, we had a steady stream of stories, often starting either with legal processes or with reportage by conservative media outlets, bringing us new information about the Clintons' past, ranging from Hillary's 1978 commodities investment (which was fully concealed during the 1992 campaign by concealment of the Clintons' tax returns) to the ins and outs of the Whitewater investigation to Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick to things like the Mena airport saga that came out gradually.

Not all of the stories about the Clintons' past were blockbusters (the Mena story never amounted to anything that really connected all that directly to the Clintons), and obviously the credibility of the he-said-she-said stories of women like Jones and Broaddrick remains in the eye of the beholder (as for Whitewater, the New York Times did a single story on it during the primaries in March 1992 and then promptly dropped the issue). But voters should have had the opportunity to evaluate them before giving Bill Clinton the job, and certainly would have, if he'd been a Republican; and if the media had done its homework, these would all have been old news by 1993. The most egregious case was the commodities deal, which came out in 1994 (see here and here), and which probably would have been the one scandal too many to sink Clinton if it had been properly ventilated at the time. Obviously some of this was due to concealment by the Clintons rather than just media lassitude, but politicians don't get a pass for concealing things if the media wants them dragged out.

Anyway, that said, I will predict with great confidence that if Obama is elected, we will not by a long shot have heard the last of new information about his past in Chicago politics. So much of Obama's early years remains a cipher, due to the destruction of his State Senate papers, his refusal to release scores of other types of documents (as Jim Geraghty relates here, here, and here), to say nothing of the many "missing witnesses" (noted here) who can't be located or won't speak to the media. All those dams can't hold forever. While Republicans and conservatives will, if Obama wins, have plenty to do exposing his activities in the White House, at the end of the day, Obama's past remains a fertile field with many areas of investigation that have yet to be exhausted. We will not have heard the last of it. He will carry his past in the White House like Jacob Marley's chains, precisely because the media has not made him face it all on the trail.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:54 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (37) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Remember what his illegal alien aunt said the other day: "I can't talk right now. 5 November I can talk." Whole lot of other folks waiting until after the election to talk. Tony Rezko isn't talking, he's waiting until he sees if a potential pardoner gets elected. And on and on.

Posted by: largebill at November 3, 2008 9:46 AM

Crank,

Your contention that only Democrats have potential skeletons in their closets is laughable.

Have you considered that the media, which is very Republican-dominated, works harder to "uncover" past "dirt" on Dems while leaving Republicans alone?

Besides, I'm more interested in the detroyed documents from Bush's Presidency, not alleged documents from a candidate's past.

You, and McCain, don't have a bipartisan bone in your bodies. You're going to be a bitter man with ulcers if you spend the next 4 years trying to destroy Obama. How is that constructive? Pretend Obama is Bush, and that way you won't have to think or analyze anything. You can just ignore things. Trust me, this will be better for all of us...

Posted by: Dorce at November 3, 2008 11:01 AM

Your contention that only Democrats have potential skeletons in their closets is laughable.

Uh, what? My point is not that Republicans lack scandals but that they get vetted by the time they reach this stage.

the media, which is very Republican-dominated

Really, what color is the sky in your world? How many reporters for major media organizations do you think actually ever vote for Republicans? How many editors? And the dynamic is the same as you go up the corporate ladder of these organizations. (Bear in mind that the national headquarters of basically every national media organization besides CNN is in liberal Democratic cities in deep-blue states, and CNN's parent company is based in Manhattan). Next you will tell me that Hollywood and university faculties are hotbeds of the Right.

Posted by: Crank at November 3, 2008 11:07 AM

Crank,

You're kidding, right? You think that the corporate ladders of all media outlets are filled with Liberals? Give me a break!

We have handful of corporations that run virtually all TV, radio, and newsprint in this country. The economic, and social, agenda of these parent companies is purely Conservative. And this does impact the types of stories they run and the content of these stories.

You know better than this...

PS- If you think Sarah Palin was fully vetted by the Repubs you need to adjust your meds again, Crank.

Posted by: Dorce at November 3, 2008 11:24 AM

If you seriously believe that "corporation" = "Conservative" you are not dealing in the real world, period.

Posted by: Crank at November 3, 2008 11:28 AM

Crank,

I think Dorce fits under your category of "willful ignorance". I actually contemplated removing the 'willful' part, but I can't believe someone is actually that devoid of the facts on accident.

Posted by: Agent W at November 3, 2008 11:42 AM

No one at the major networks nor newspapers nor magazines will report it. "If a tree falls..."

Posted by: mark at November 3, 2008 12:46 PM

The MSM had no problem with covering for Obama for the last two years. If he gets in, they will also have no problem with suppressing any story that does not reflect favorably upon him.

If a Washington Times or other paper says anything that the One does not approve of, they will be stripped of their press credentials without the rest of the MSM uttering a word in disapproval.

Posted by: hermie at November 3, 2008 12:48 PM

Dorce YOU ARE AN IDIOT
"Have you considered that the media, which is very Republican-dominated, works harder to "uncover" past "dirt" on Dems while leaving Republicans alone? "
Stop watching oberman and get a real news source like fox

Posted by: woody at November 3, 2008 12:56 PM

The rich like socialism because it keeps them rich. The poor like socialism because it destroys those above them (the middle class, the object of their envy).

Posted by: Chaz at November 3, 2008 1:07 PM

Dorce,

I think you will be surprised to find out that the vast majority of media reporters and editors are liberal. This has been chronicled well by the American Society of Newspaper Editors in their studies:

http://www.asne.org/kiosk/reports/97reports/journalists90s/journalists.html

This study is just one of many that show that liberals outnumber conservatives on media staffs by more than 2:1 and in many cases as much as 5:1 ratios.

I think you would be well advised to take just a little time to research your bias before spewing it out. You are just absolutely and flatly wrong about your conjecture.

Posted by: Thunderstorm Patriot at November 3, 2008 1:10 PM

If he is elected, Obama's past will only matter if there is something egregiously unethical involved. After all, once Obama starts doing things in office, the focus will be on those. Any news, for example, about "radical friends" won't mean much if what he is doing in office is not radical. And if what he is doing is radical, then his policies will speak for themselves.

Posted by: MVH at November 3, 2008 1:18 PM

The fact that much of Obama's financial support comes from the wealthy, the fact that many extraordinarily wealthy people are left wing politically (George Soros, Peter Lewis, Steven Bing), the fact that people who work at and control most Wall Street companies give money overwhelmingly to Democrats, none of this has any purchase on the minds of those who love to play class warfare for the sake of Democratic political power. It's better politics to talk about fat cats and greed, but ignore the fact that some of the fattest cats support the Democrats.

Lenin recognized how business is ideologically neutral - a capitalist will sell you the rope you use to hang him. Businesses, particularly large businesses, have no problem with big government and big regulations. Big government means big contracts supplying that big government, and big regulations keep barriers high to possible new competitors.

Conservatives and libertarians believe in policies that grow wealth generally. Business people believe in making money for themselves. While the former can foster the latter, nobody should think that they are identical. Businesses are not politically conservative, but rather they are politically correct. Their agenda is not freedom and liberty but rather profitability for their own particular enterprise.

Look at environmental regulations. If you're operating a company that benefits from regulations, let's say a water testing firm, or a company selling pollution remediation services, or emissions technologies, well then you'd love those regulations. If you're operating a company that has to spend money complying with regulations, you probably would oppose them. Even then, a large company would find a regulatory scheme more affordable than a smaller competitor, so it might decide that the regulatory scheme gives them a strategic edge.

So the idea that conservatives and capitalists are the same thing is just plain silly.

Posted by: Bozoer Rebbe at November 3, 2008 1:26 PM

Baseball fans will understand you Crank. I mean real fans - the pre-1994 strike type of fans - the pre-steroid era fans-we get it. We love baseball we love this country, we get it.

We expect the home plate ump (or the media) to judge the plate the same for both sides. We expect the third base & first base umps (or the media) to make good, honest and unbiased calls - "did he go?" or in the case of the media - "did he lie?" "is he telling us everything?" Afterall the umps/media have a better view than the fans, they are inside the game.

Maybe we tolerated Clinton because he was something of a Graig Nettles or a Joe Niekro, rule violators but not viewed as "the one" who would, to paraphrase Obama - fundamentally change the game (he said country).

This election is like the umps allowing Team Obama to bring on an entire team of ringers, unscrupulous cheaters, who are set on remaking this game we love in His own image...and the umps look the other way.

Speaking of the umps - just wait until Team O picks a Supreme Cout Justice. Remember the Justices are supposed to be the ultimate umpire - the case is to be judged by the rules of our constitution. Team O wants a Judge to rule based on empathy. Just imaging what would happen to baseball if we had teams of umps like that.

If it's not good for baseball how can it be good for America?

Posted by: Texas at November 3, 2008 1:34 PM

How did one of the more thoughtful blogs end up with one of the most pathetic trolls? Past karmic incident, Crank?

Posted by: rhodeymark at November 3, 2008 1:40 PM

"Have you considered that the media, which is very Republican-dominated, works harder to "uncover" past "dirt" on Dems while leaving Republicans alone?"


Bwahahahaha

Gotta love the "reality based community".

Posted by: Mike Jackson at November 3, 2008 1:47 PM

I'm not sure how much that would matter, anyway. The things he says openly are far worse than anything likely to come out later.

Posted by: Jeff Perren at November 3, 2008 2:14 PM

Dorce is one of the people the folks at Hillbuzz warned about - sent out to blog comment sections to demoralize Republicans.

Even if Obama does everything perfectly right from Jan 20, his presidency is likely to be a disaster, just because of the state of the world. His trying to bring about ChangenHope will make it much, much worse.

But in 2010, after we're in a deep depression, we've nationalized major industries and have rolling blackouts with skyrocketing electricity prices, we'll have a GOP House. In 2012 the GOP takes the WH again, and there won't be a liberal President for a generation.

Posted by: Richard R at November 3, 2008 2:16 PM

The following link seems to confirm the Conservative slant of the media:

http://mediamatters.org/reports/oped/report

So, Fox News is Liberal? I did not know that...

And the majority of talk radio is Liberal, that's news to me, too...

Thanks for clearing that up, guys! And here I was planning on voting for Obama tomorrow -- good thing I checked here first!

Dorce

Posted by: Dorce at November 3, 2008 2:52 PM

Nice prediction Crank. Care to pull anything else out of your ass today?

You and others of your political persuasion have been focused on demonizing Obama as an extremist. It's been your strategy since at least the start of the general election.

But then people around the country got to meet him and hear him talk about his plans for the country and their impression of him just doesn't match up with your rhetoric. And he just keeps getting more popular.

You guys have picked your meme and you're not going to change it when he's President. And the country will watch Obama govern from the middle-left, while reaching across party lines often (as he's already done with thoughtful Republican Senators like Lugar and Hatch).

And in 2012, when the Republicans nominate some incompetent like Sarah Palin or a caricature like your boy Giuliani, Obama will cruise to reelection.

So allow me to thank you for all you've done over the past few months, and let me thank you in advance for your contributions over the next four years.

Posted by: Mike at November 3, 2008 2:53 PM

the country will watch Obama govern from the middle-left, while reaching across party lines often

It's the people who actually believe that who will be the fun ones to watch the next four years.

Posted by: Crank at November 3, 2008 2:58 PM

Dorce... troll.

Posted by: bob at November 3, 2008 3:01 PM

Dorce,

You have this naive notion that "corporate America" is genetically pre-disposed towards conservatism and Republicanism. Not so, by a long shot.

For one thing, a majority of Wall Street types are Democrats and Liberal Republicans (can you say "Michael Bloomberg?"). Also, a preponderance of the super-rich are flaming liberals nowadays.

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at November 3, 2008 3:26 PM

Crank, thank you for your Obama prediction, which is highly insightful, and obvious once one thinks of it -- only, no one else I have read has thought to mention it.

Goodness, you DO attract some mean-spirited readers, do you not? Liberal once meant something other than Mean Spirited, as I have to remind myself these days.

Don't let them affect you, please. Many of us appreciate and count on reading your views.

Posted by: dd at November 3, 2008 4:28 PM

If all of Obama's past unsavory associations have failed to make much of dent in the public's perception of him, I don't see how it will do much to alter the same when/if he is President.

It will be spun as "divisiveness" and as "distractions" to his legislative agenda of raising taxes and destroying the coal industry among others.

Posted by: Dean at November 3, 2008 4:35 PM

The 'bama hounds are everywhere it seems. this empty suit has a 90% chance to be President after tomorrow by my estimate. Aided and abetted by a liberal media, whose only attempt at vetting him was when Hilary was running. Since then, it has been clam up, shut up, and paint McCain a Bush.

Obama is inextricably tied to an entire legion of corrupt and evil people, from the well known like Rezko,m Wright and Ayers, to the lesser known like Khalidi and the Giannoulias crime family and "protector" of the Illinois State Treasury.

This guy is truly going to try to "change" America. Into a state that only Marx and Lenin could appreciate. Or worse.

Posted by: trantor at November 3, 2008 4:42 PM

Dean, Obama's past associations will hurt him in office only if they resonate with his actions. If, as with Bill Clinton, people are pretty happy with how he is governing, they will mostly be a petty, nagging distraction that doesn't really cost him (Clinton's issues gained more traction because they were about sex - nobody cared about Arkansas land deals).

Posted by: Jerry at November 3, 2008 4:44 PM

I love the insinuation that an Obama Presidency will somehow spell doom and gloom for everyone.

What exactly did Bush/Cheney achieve that will make them such a tough act to follow? With the amount the current administration has done wrong, wouldn't it make sense that Obama has nowhere to go but up from here?

I'm also loving the whole Wall Street Liberal motif. You guys are rich! Too bad you missed the Stand Up Comedy craze of the late Eighties...

I also like how myself and another poster were the only two two present any data in the whole Liberal/Conservative media debate. Granted, our data was contradictory. The rest of you slobbering pundits just have been howling and accusing me of being a troll on nothing but your own "gut" feelings.

Well, it's time to open up my local "Liberal" rag, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and hope for the best tomorrow...

Take care,

Dorce

Posted by: Dorce at November 3, 2008 5:38 PM

1. MediaMatters is not "data," talk radio is not the news media, and frankly nobody's going to cover the whole history of media liberalism in a single comment thread. Get over yourself.

2. "wouldn't it make sense that Obama has nowhere to go but up from here" - See, this is a particularly pernicious idea spread by the Obama camp: that it can't get worse. Are you seriously not old enough to remember the Carter years?

Posted by: Crank at November 3, 2008 5:47 PM

Yeah, Carter inherited such a booming economy from Nixon/Ford. The US was at a veritable peak, and Carter blew it.

Get over YOURSELF!

Posted by: ... at November 3, 2008 6:11 PM

I have no doubt that members of the media in general are more liberal than conservative in terms of their personal political convictions. But I believe what they print, say and publish has more to do with money than it does with politics. In other words, they are aimed at attracting readers to increase circulation and advertising revenues rather than promoting a political agenda.

A good example of this is how the news media covers foreign wars. They know that it's hard to get your average reader to be interested in foreign policy and geopolitics, so they take the human interest angle. They'll show the innocent victims, tortures, etc.

Direct political coverage is obviously a different story, but the news media still won't print stories that won't sell newspapers or otherwise attract readers. Take Bill Ayers, for example. Republicans want the media to do story after story about Obama's connections to a former terrorist 30 years ago who is now a university professor (for better or worse). Whether you think that's a legitimate issue or not, ask yourself a different question: is that likely to attract readers?!?

The media knows full well when to dump on a candidate. The sexual dalliances of Gary Hart and Bill Clinton come to mind. Who didn't read about that?

Posted by: MVH at November 3, 2008 7:45 PM

Oh, I would agree that any discussion of media bias and media malfeasance has to extend well beyond straight-out liberal bias. You only have to follow the sports pages to understand the extent to which the media has systemic faults and biases that go well beyond political agendas. But I don't view that as an either/or phenomenon.

Posted by: Crank at November 3, 2008 7:53 PM

Whatever anyone thinks about the extent of media bias, it's crazy to argue that there is a conservative bias in the MSM. Apart from Fox News and WABC, it's a total non-starter.

Posted by: MVH at November 3, 2008 8:12 PM

"And the country will watch Obama govern from the middle-left, while reaching across party lines often"

"It's the people who actually believe that who will be the fun ones to watch the next four years."

I don't know how anyone could predict with any confidence how Obama will govern. I've resigned myself to vote for Obama tomorrow, but I take no particular pleasure in it. If he wins, we'll have to see if a democratically controlled white house and congress can exercise some fiscal discipline. I was reasonably happy (on that score, at least) with Clinton's efforts and very unhappy with Bush, so we'll see what happens.

If McCain wins, I'm not terribly upset seeing that I really wasn't far from pulling the lever for him, but I have a feeling we'll have a lot of gridlock with him in the white house and the dems controlling congress.

In some respects, I'd welcome the gridlock because I really don't think we can afford the health care reform, whatever its merits, and McCain would veto that in a heartbeat. But I see both parties fighting over what programs get cut, social vs. military, with nothing eventually getting done.

We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Posted by: MVH at November 3, 2008 8:42 PM

Crank,
Is it your contention that corporations have a liberal bias? Is that because liberals want to provide as many giveaways to corporations as they can, while conservatives want to destroy corporate America?
I'd LOVE for you to expound on that one.

Posted by: Berto at November 4, 2008 2:17 PM

It is my contention that corporations' behavior reflects a combination of organizational self-interest and the individuals who make up the organization. There is nothing inherently right-wing about corporations (they will accomodate themselves to whomever is in power). Media companies are generally made up of human beings, most of whom tend to be liberal, and they tend to have corporate cultures that stress the liberal-leaning self-image of the media.

It is, I will grant you, more a center-left than a far-left tilt. But I reject the notion that corporate equals conservative.

Posted by: The Crank at November 4, 2008 3:11 PM

I agree with you tremendously. We have not heard anything that we will hear about the saint that is leading the left-wing illuminati. Just wait and see.

Posted by: Ms. Know at November 13, 2008 10:22 AM
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