Recently by Robert Wenzel: Beauty-Haters on the Attack
At Political Theatre, Lew Rockwell mentions my comment to him about Tim Geithner’s father funding President Obama’s mother. The facts are there and it should be broadly understood, but what also should be understood is that it appears Obama had his political career cleared for him right from the start.
I happened to have somewhat of a front row seat when Obama first ran for Senate in Illinois. In the Democratic primary he ran against a very wealthy stock trader, Blair Hull. Hull was unskilled as a politician, but he had big money (his own) to compete against Obama. He had the support of Chicago’s Gold Coast behind him and I attended one event where Billie Jean King endorsed him.
He was well ahead in the polls, when his sealed divorce papers were leaked to the press. During the divorce, his then-wife accused him of hitting her. Now, the one thing you could say about Hull was that he was a meek guy. You never really know what goes on behind closed doors, but my bet would have been that his ex was the one doing the smacking around, rather them him. That said, as we all know all kinds of accusations can fly in a divorce, especially when hundreds of millions of dollars were at stake.
But the press road this "beating" story, and the unskilled Hull plummeted in the polls and Obama won the Democratic primary by a huge margin.
In the general election, Obama faced the very popular Jack Ryan, a one time Goldman Sachs partner. It appeared that Obama had no chance against Ryan. But then Ryan’s divorce records and child custody files were released. In the custody files, his then-wife, the actress Jeri Ryan (who had a role as Borg member "Seven of Nine" on Star Trek: Voyager), alleged that Jack Ryan had asked her to perform sexual acts with him in public in sex clubs in New York, New Orleans, and Paris. Jeri Ryan described one as "a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling."
Days after the release, Ryan withdrew from the race. In his place, the Republican Party placed the ineffective Alan Keyes, and Obama coasted into the Senate seat, receiving 73% of the votes.
It was the largest percentage ever achieved in the state history of U.S. Senate elections. When Lew writes that Obama:
was wafted upwards by the establishment, through the most expensive schools, to a sure-win US senate race, to the presidency, the fact that he was to the Langley manor born might explain it.
He isn’t kidding. Without the extremely weak charges against Hull, that the media mysteriously harped on, Obama would have never made it out of the primaries. Then he comes up against Ryan, who to an outsider would have looked like a formidable opponent, but in retrospect was put in to be taken out Hull-style via divorce-related revelations, only to have Obama face the very weak opponent Keyes.
Wafted upwards is exactly what comes to mind.
Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.