The Politics of Making “Associations” stick (Update)

As should be obvious by now, just claiming that a politician was “associated” with someone isn’t resonating with undecided voters.

As Jennifer Rubin points out at Commentary, it has to be taken one step further and tied to actions and activities surrounding that association.

So the way to tie Ayers to Obama isn’t necessarily to make a big point about his past and move on, it is to make that point and then tie the association to this guy with something that an undecided voter can’t ignore.

David Freddoso does that:

As chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an educational reform project that Ayers founded, Obama presided over a waste of $160 million in donors’ money. The project, under his leadership, failed to improve student achievement in the 210 Chicago schools where it operated, according to the Annenberg Challenge’s final report. And to this day, that project is Obama’s only significant executive experience.

Obama’s legislative leadership was similar, a case study in wasting other people’s money. In Springfield, Obama wrote letters from his public position to get Rezko $14 million for his slum-development enterprise. Obama co-sponsored several pieces of housing legislation favorable to Rezko and other slum-developers, giving them hundreds of millions in subsidies and other tax and regulatory advantages. They in turn funneled money to Obama’s campaigns and then let their buildings deteriorate, even turning off the heat on their tenants during the winter. By his own account, Obama never bothered to follow up on how the money was spent, but the record shows that he worked in every legislative session to provide more for his developer friends.

So there are two concrete examples of his associations with, to be kind, “marginal characters” and the results of those associations.

And if you’d like a third, Freddoso has another:

The client, Robert Blackwell, had just paid Obama $112,000 in his capacity as a private attorney for one of his corporations. State Senator Obama and [aide Dan] Shomon then helped Blackwell obtain $320,000 in state tourism grants to hold ping-pong tournaments.

Ping-pong tournaments? Don’t you think potential voters would be interested in the fact that Obama, the consummate Chicago pol, used his office to spend tax dollars on ping-pong tournaments and subsidizing slumlords? Yet he’s claiming to have the plan on taxation and spending not to mention being an advocate for the poor and middle class.

Actions v. words.

And Ayers? Working with Ayers, he wasted millions of dollars of donated money on a radical agenda and ideas which had absolutely no impact whatsoever on the improvement of Chicago schools. None. Yet he’s claiming he has the answers to our education problems.

Action v. words.

Obama’s glib exterior and an effective campaign crew have managed, to this point, to divert attention away from all of this.

But if you tie all the “associations” together in a meaningful way (and you can tie Reverend Wright up in all of this because Trinity also benefited financially through Barack Obama) you defeat their spin and create a narrative that points to a very different Barack Obama than the one that has been manufactured. This guy is just like every other Chicago politician to come down the pike, except he’s even further to the left than most.

Character? He obviously bought into the Ayers revolutionary doctrine about schools if you take the time to read about some of the “projects” the millions of dollars were wasted on. And the rest, Rezko and Blackwell for instance, were the usual political tit for tat. There’s also the nice little grant Michelle Obama’s promotion at work seems to have earned her employer.

Then there’s ACORN. Are we beginning to see a pattern here?

This “new politics” guy is so mired in corruption and old machine style politics it is incredible and yet no one is doing the job of tying it all together and presenting it as a package.

Rubin, I think, hits on the “why” when speaking of McCain:

One suspects he never had his heart in the effort that was needed: a systematic and sustained effort to reveal Obama as a Leftist and a craven product of machine politics.

It is all there – all that needs to be done is have it presented in a coherent, well-documented package to create the doubts necessary to change the present flow of the election – that is if McCain has the onions to do so.

UPDATE: Speaking of an Ayers and Wright connection, Stanley Kurtz lays it all out there for everyone who is interested in seeing the dots connected. He concludes:

However he may seek to deny it, all evidence points to the fact that, from his position as board chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Barack Obama knowingly and persistently funded an educational project that shared the extremist and anti-American philosophy of Jeremiah Wright. The Wright affair was no fluke. It’s time for McCain to say so.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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