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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Andy Martin on the Democrats' "debate" in Philadelphia

Andy Martin on the Democrats "Day of Rage" in Philadelphia. Chicago's number one news analyst, Andy Martin says the Democrats "debate" showcased the weaknesses of both candidates.

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“Factually Correct, Not
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(NEW YORK)(April 17, 2008)(Exclusive) Well, I watched the Democrats' debate in Philadelphia. Whew. The Weathermen's "Days of Rage" are back in the news. Only it was Clinton and Obama raging at each other this time. Who won? Neither. The "debate" showcased the weaknesses each candidate brings to the presidential campaign.

As for myself, suddenly I felt as though it was 1969 all over again. The "Days of Rage" were back.

First, a thumbnail history lesson. In 1969 Chicago became Ground Zero in opposition to the Viet-Nam War. Federal prosecutors led by potty-mouthed Thomas Foran tried to prosecute anti-war demonstrators from the 1968 Democratic National Convention (also held in Chicago). The criminal charges were a farce. The result was courthouse chaos. I was there. The Chicago Seven (originally Eight) trial became a circus.

In the midst of the judicial carnival the "Weathermen" launched their "Days of Rage," on the way to bombings and other terrorist acts. Among the radicals was Barack Obama supporter William Ayers.

During the "Rage" melee, Richard Elrod, an obscure City attorney was paralyzed in a fracas with Weatherman Brian Flanagan. Elrod went on to become Cook County (Chicago) Sheriff. You see, Chicago isn’t such a dull place, is it?

Wednesday night Obama tried to obscure his relationship to Weatherman William Ayers. Obama took a campaign contribution from Ayers on April 2, 2001 and, after 9/11 never returned the money. Barry O has been to the Ayers' home. Ayers and his wife, the former Bernadine Dohrn, are part of the left-wing royalty in Hyde Park, a liberal enclave in Chicago. Ayers and Dohrn have never apologized for what they did as antiwar radicals. In Hyde Park, taking a campaign contribution from Ayers was an honor, not an embarrassment.

Wednesday's debate segued seamlessly from Ayers to Reverend Jeremiah Wright. What's to add there except that Wright is also unrepentant for his "Black Rage" and his attacks on the United States, which are more recent than Ayers' bombings. Wright has now identified a new Archenemies of the People: Fox News, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. At Gene Pincham's funeral last Saturday. Pincham would have loved it. "Rage" at a funeral!

No one around Obama seems to want to repent, and they are all still angry, forty years later. And they all seem to hang around Barry Obama to varying degrees. As Chicago's late star columnist Mike Royko used to say, "If you lie down with dogs,…"

Obama would be an exceptionally poor witness in a trial. Obama admitted Wednesday night he asked Wright not to officiate at Obama's announcement for the presidency, because of "newspaper articles" he had seen about Wright's sermons. But, apparently, unlike the rest of the American people, Obama was not in Church in 2001 after 9/11 and never heard Wright blame the United States for Al Qaeda's attacks. If Obama was not in Church on September 16th, where the hell was he?

Strangely, for someone who called himself a "person of faith" during the debate, Obama was never in church when Wright was preaching his heresies. Bottom line: Obama's credibility on escaping the continuing invective of Reverend Wright is absolutely zero. Obama read the "newspaper articles" about Wright but no one thought to check the sermons being sold in the church's gift shop? Puhleeeeze.

In no particular order, the debate also questioned Obama's loyalty to the American Flag. I have not yet seen a transcript of the debate but I believe Obama made a serious misstatement here. Watch for the coming corrections. When he stopped wearing a flag, Barack made a very supercilious claim that the pin reflected false patriotism or words to that effect. I am searching for the links to his 2007 comments.

Finally, Bittergate. Obama tried to recharacterize his secret remarks in San Francisco. He now tries to claim that he was only suggesting that people who face adversity turn to traditional comfort zones such as religion, guns, bigotry and xenophobia. That’s not what he said in SF. His remarks in SF were very clear that religion, guns, bigotry and xenophobia were opiates of the masses.

The Pennsylvania primary is very interesting for a reason that few have noted: it is a closed primary, that is, only Democrats, and not Republicans and independents, can vote. This limitation cuts both ways. Obama has done poorly in closed primaries. He depends on independents to sustain his momentum against Clinton. On the other hand, Obama's Four Horsemen of the Electoral Apocalypse (Bittergate, Ayers, Wright and the Flag) may not play as emotionally to Democrats as they will during the fall campaign against the Republicans.

What was amusing throughout the debate was the sheer paranoia that Democrats have about the Republicans' future campaign tactics. After the debate, on MSNBC's Keith Olbermann show Countdown there was agreement that the entire debate had been animated by fear of eventual Republican counterattacks. The "D's" (as some Republicans call them) live in terror of those forthcoming attacks. It is almost like a slasher movie. We lack only the 3-D eyeglasses of the 1950's horror flicks to complete the picture of panic. Screech. The R's are watching. And they’re coming for you! I have never seen one political party so paranoid and apoplectic about its opposing party.

Now Clinton.

Clinton did a workmanlike job Wednesday night. She handled herself reasonably well.

But Clinton has one fatal flaw. She can't land a knockout punch. If ever there was a debate when she could and should have dispatched Obama, Wednesday was the night. She hit hard, but she could not land the knockout punch. When called on to comment on Bittergate, her lawyerlike response diffused and confused the issue rather than clarifying what had happened and why Obama was guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors against the People of Pennsylvania.

Clinton was never an effective courtroom lawyer. You can see why now. She knows the facts, cold. She's bright. But she has no feel for the jury. She, like Obama, is a classic "second chair" in the courtroom. Competent. But lacking the killer instinct. (Obama brags of being a courtroom litigator, but he has never litigated any significant trial matter.)

Wednesday's Washington Post had a column from President Clinton's former pollster Douglas Schoen saying Hillary had to go negative or die. She's not dead, but she didn't make Obama die either. To paraphrase the movie Patton, "You have to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." Clinton seems incapable of sticking the fork in Obama. She lacks the killer instinct.

Bottom line: the Democrats are locked in endless battle because neither Clinton nor Obama can defeat the other. And, probably neither should defeat the other. Because, honestly, neither appears capable of defeating the Republicans. Fasten your seat belts. For a party that thought winning the White House in 2008 would be a "piece of cake," they are sure terrified of the yeast the other party brings to the bakeoff. Come to think of it, any D who thinks winning will be a piece of cake should ask President Bush about the last time he was told he had a piece of cake on his hands. It was 2003. He still has the cake on his hands. Or on his face.
------------------------------------------ Chicago's Number One Internet columnist, broadcaster and media critic, Andy Martin, is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin covers regional, national and world events with more than forty years of experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Columns also posted at;


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