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Book Review: The Case Against Barack Obama by David Freddoso

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For people who pay attention to politics, the phrase "Chicago Machine Politics" means all the worst aspects of electioneering, corruption and dirty politics. Jobs are handed out as political favors, contributions are solicited in exchange for contracts, and government workers spend their times leading up to Election Day doing political work on behalf of connected candidates. It's everything that's wrong with Washington politics, except far worse.

This is the starting point of David Freddoso's new book, The Case against Barack Obama – The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate. For instance, it is little-known that Barack Obama's first real election challenge was his primary race against… Hillary Clinton. In 1996, he ran for the State Senate but used Illinois' arcane (and unconstitutional) election laws to throw every other candidate off the ballot. He won office unopposed.

In 2004, he ran for Senate but the sexual dalliances took down his main primary opponent. The general election race, however, would be pure comedy if it wasn't so tragic for the Illinois Republican Party. A Republican version of Obama, Jack Ryan, won the primary nod, but he was not well-loved in the inner-circles of the state GOP organization. His divorce files were made public, and more sexual dalliances came out (at least those were with his wife) which sunk Ryan.

For weeks, the Illinois GOP could not find a nominee. They had to import Alan Keyes to run against Obama, whose only campaign point seemed to be "Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama." Obama won his Senate seat without any real opposition in what would have otherwise been a very bad year for the Democrats.

To political observers, it seems absurd that a product and participant of Chicago machine politics could credibly claim to be the voice of change and hope to reform Washington, D.C. Not impossible, sure, but it defies credulity. Freddoso examines the facts of Obama's career in Illinois, his relationships and his rise to power to definitively show that Obama is not the sterling, immaculate candidate he portrays, but in reality, is just another Chicago politician – albeit with a better speech writer.

Throughout his tenure in the Illinois General Assembly, Obama had given favors and steered state contracts to contributors and friends. In particular, he has a great deal of ties to real estate developers that benefited from his state legislative career and he benefited from their success. Developers having access to the corridors of power is nothing new, especially in Chicago, but for a candidate who is preaching an anti-lobbyist anti-special interest message, the evidence shows he didn't practice what he preaches.

The Obama campaign has steadfastly refused to speak the nitty-gritty of policy on the stump and has run a "cult of personality" campaign. This is why it is a timely and important work to show the man behind the façade, but to do so in a legitimate way. Many, mostly slanderous, attempts have been made to show Obama as some kind of un-American Trojan horse candidate. This has only helped to inoculate him against legitimate criticism. However, Freddoso sticks to the record with copious footnotes to back him up.

Most of Obama's more radical leftist connections are public record. The public fallout from the Rev. Wright controversies started to bring to light that strange company that Obama has kept. In particular, Freddoso touches upon Obama's relationship to Bill Ayers who was part of the terrorist group the Weathermen. Obama may try to walk and talk like a "moderate" on the stump, but he surrounds himself with the far left.

The book is a thorough treatment of Obama's career, what he has done and how he got there. The image that emerges does not mesh at all with the icon of hope. The media, for their part, simply has not dug deep into the mirage that is the Obama campaign. The book provides a sorely needed analysis for a candidate who is almost getting a free ride to the White House. It is fact-based, well-researched, and is critical reading for anyone interested in who Obama really is.

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About John Bambenek

John Bambenek is a political activist and computer security expert. He has his own company Bambenek Consulting in Champaign, IL that specializes in digital forensics and computer security investigations.
  • kenny

    yeah im a republican turned demoncrat and yeah shut da fuc* up about obama what about McCain do a book on him yeah thats why i switched hes a guy who finished 5th from last in his class didnt follow andy directions flying planes and found himself in a prison camp in Asia
    1 obama is more educated

    2 Hes not a McCain who tried swiching partys and lost when he went against Bush in the 2000 elections

    3 Obama is DRIVAN and DID not break any law so do a book on that

  • Bill

    I own this book and i cant believe how hard you ignorent people are trying to hurt this powerful man he used the law and politics to win so what if he made deals u think McCain didnt ?

  • Dr.Phil Mortin

    You two are right Obama is a smart man and used politices and every way he could hes a fighter and man of god who ever wrote this book was paid by McCain most likely

  • argus

    Bill says he owns the book, but not that he’s read it. Neither Kenny nor Dr. Morton say that they’ve read the book. Whatever one thinks of Sen. Obama, comments like the three posted so far are useless because they refute none Bambenek’s allegations.

    I’m waiting for a friend to finish reading his copy, which he’s going to lend me, and I may post my impressions AFTER having read the book.

    In the meantime I encourage everyone to look past the presidential election to the congressional elections. While Sen. Obama stands a better chance of making good on his campaign promises if the Democrats control both houses, that won’t happen unless his supporters vote Democratic in the House and Senate races.

  • Jun

    I am by no means a republican. All my life I’ve supported the democrats, even voted for Kerry (although I personally thought he was kind of a weak candidate to begin with.)

    I read a portion of this book and I have to say I’m flabbergasted. I always thought it was a little too idealistic how Obama was portrayed as a shining ray of light in the media, how he has virtually all of holywood backing him as well as the legions of teenagers, young adults, and kids who are dedicated to him without having even checked his policies. Admittedly, he’s an extremely convincing figure and whenever he smiles I get a fuzzy warm feeling in my stomach, but the fact that his newly appointed VP is none other than Joe Biden, a man who had previously attempted to become president several times and is technically higher up on the ‘food chain’ than Obama is (there are suppositions that he’s in fact pulling the strings, something that may sound a little far fetched but makes sense)makes out a not-so-hopeful candidate after all…

    All I’m saying is, no politician is entirely genuine.

  • charlie

    I knew I would come across a lie about Obama in this review right away, and here it is: “For instance, it is little-known that Barack Obama’s first real election challenge was his primary race against… Hillary Clinton. In 1996, he ran for the State Senate but used Illinois’ arcane (and unconstitutional) election laws to throw every other candidate off the ballot. He won office unopposed.”

    John, did you not read or google anything about his state senate races, especially against incumbent Alice Palmer in 1996? She along with 2 other IL state senate candidates had illegal signatures on their petitions they tried to get away with on ballots, which Obama successfully challenged. There is NOTHING unconstitutional about that. Obama is not the first to challenge illegal petitions and certainly not the last. John McCain challenged ballot petitions as well, not once but in TWO re-election Senate races (former Gov. Evan Mecham’s petitions in 1992, according to the LA Times and businessman Bert Tollefson’s ballots in 1998, according to Roll Call).

    Also, Obama’s primary battle with Hillary was hardly his first REAL election challenge. He lost to democrat Bobby Rush in a 2000 House race. That was a rare defeat for Obama – and a real election battle, probably the first of its kind. And you can google that or read Obama’s wikipedia entry to find out more info on that race.

    Did you ignore or not see the CNN special “Obama Revealed” from a couple of weeks ago? Although a bit flawed – CNN was wrong to say Obama got a special deal on his million-dollar Chicago home that is next to Tony Rezko’s wife’s property – it went deep into Obama’s rise in Chicago politics, including all his races for state senate and congressional seats. Go find a transcript at CNN.com.

    Also, explain how Jack Ryan is a “Republican version of Obama.”

    I only got through the first page of your review and found out some misstated facts I needed to point out here and correct. And there’s bound to be more corrections made by readers here (not just me), whether the errors come from Freddoso or you. But so far, this review is mediocre at best (and the Freddoso book is probably worse, akin to Corsi’s lie-filled and poorly researched, biased anti-Obama book).

    The good news is, you can go to the BC.org editors and correct your facts as readers point them out to you. THEN you’ll have a good review, maybe.

  • charlie

    Page 2: Please show how Obama alone steered contracts to contributors and friends, and how that was contrary to IL state ethics and law.

    Also please show how Obama’s association with Bill Ayers in Chicago is any different than Ayers working with the other democrats and republicans who served and associated themselves with him over the years. [I’m sure Ayers raised money for lots more politicians in Illinois besides Obama and worked on state interests with Republicans and democrats alike in the ’90s]

    Obama was 8 years old when Ayers decided to become a domestic terrorist in the late ’60s. [You don’t point that out in your review anywhere] But the city of Chicago accepted him in the political arena in the mid-1990s and is now a professor at Chicago University. If you are going to criticize Obama for his rather loose association with Bill Ayers, you have to do the same for everyone in Chicago politics, ok? You (meaning biased partisans like Freddoso, Sean Hannity and anyone else who engages in this line of attack) can’t single Obama out just because he’s running for president. You have to criticize Chicago politicians and academics for allowing him to work on public interests in the 90s/’00s when he never apologized for his violent past.

    Also show how Obama has “refused” to be specific on policy on the stump and been a “cult of personality” during this campaign. Obama has talked specifics way more than McCain, when talking taxes/tax credits/tax cuts, how to deal with bin Laden in Pakistan (for which he was criticized), Afghanistan, Iraq, and on and on.

    Anyone who says Obama (and not McCain) has been unspecific in his proposals is simply not listening or watching his stump speeches (on the web, C-SPAN, the news, etc) and probably wouldn’t vote for him anyway. Or, if you’re Mike Barnicle, you’re clueless.

    Furthermore, McCain refuses to be specific on a wide range of issues, either on the stump or on the web: most notably, McCain never defines victory in Iraq. And who can forget when reporters, after hearing McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina complain about insurance companies covering Viagra but not birth control options (which isn’t entirely true), she claimed McCain was with her on the issue, but when pressed by reporters, he said: “I’ll get back to you on that.” [Planned Parenthood has since made an ad out of that answer]

    And yes, though Obama describes himself as a liberal/progressive, he has gone a little more moderate in the past year and even in the past few months. Note that a recent CQ study found that he voted with President Bush 40% of the time in 2007, 49% in 2006 (even while voting with democratic-led bills over 95% of the time). FYI, Obama and Joe Biden are actually tied as the 10th most liberal senators now, according to professional political scientists Jeff Lewis and Keith Poole of voteview.com. [It’s a much more credible study than National Journal’s much flawed ranking of John Kerry and Obama as the number 1 liberal in the Senate]

    So to wrap up, it looks like in just this comment section, I’ve shown more “well-researched” facts about Obama than you (John) or Freddoso have come up with. I’d love to know the impartiality of Freddoso’s sources and proper context of his claims in his book, but you don’t provide much in this review. There’s no criticism of the book in your review either (maybe cuz you’re biased against him like Freddoso?).

    I don’t see anything here about Obama’s accomplishments in the IL senate regarding ethics and death penalty reform, health care legislation, working successfully across party lines both in the IL state senate (when the democrats were the minority party) and in the U.S. Senate. Stuff that really does show how post-partisan/bi-partisan he’s been the last 12 years. I don’t know if it’s in the book or if you’re not pointing these accomplishment in your review on purpose. Only you know.

    What I see here is mostly your opinions and misstated facts mixed with some (even vague) analysis of this anti-Obama book. But I guess I should expect nothing less from people with pre-conceived notions of a politician they don’t like anyway.

  • Susan

    I read the Corsi book, and Obama’s books side by side, and nearly died to find how biased Frank was. Many of Corsi’s perceptions were paranoid. I went through so many passages saying, “Frank, Barack never said that.” “That’s not my take on this section”, etc. Both these authors are clearly paranoid. They are so in deep with fan fic bias, that they put out there what they perceive to be true. Would you like me to tell you what I watched in the NAACP hearings televised in Florida after the 2000 elections. There were men in suits that ran off with sections of the register books, not allowing the poorer sections in Florida to vote. Then there were some accidentally so called anyway, deleted names, which didn’t allow others to vote also. Both George Bush senior and junior had mafia ties. The old mafia live down there and retired in Florida. Gore had the popular vote, but George won. Look what he did. When the Jon Benet case came out, and books were written about it, I was particularly interested in the one that the FBI agent on the case wrote about it. I was horrified also. He missed so many great clues, that his bias took over his mind as fact. Patsy Ramsey in no way killed her child. It clearly pointed to the house keeper as possible involvement. I bring this in as an example, because even if a book is written without authorization, it doesn’t mean that it is true, and totally factual. If he was so dishonest, he sure wouldn’t be where he is now.

  • Al Thompson

    Judging from the comments above, this book struck a nerve. The truth often does that.

    It is not what Adolph – I’m sorry – Barry did, but the extent to which he did it.

  • zingzing

    actually, judging from the comments above (all 9 of them), no one gives a shit.

  • Robert

    I have not read the book yet, but Obama’s record (or lack thereof) is obvious. He is inexperienced, untested, and has not been questioned for his policies, associations, or philosophies nearly enough.

    Hopefully this book will provide a painting of the man we know as Barrack Hussein Obama and who he really is, because our country cannot afford a leader with a negative worldview towards the American principles of freedom, liberty, truth, integrity, family, and the Bible.

  • mnjyckque

    Hey let’s remember the “Check the air in your tires” comment and how Obama was lambasted for that.

    I bet Freddoso, Hannity, Rush, Michael Weiner, Bill O’Reilly, among other Dubyatards all bobbed their heads and said “SAY NO TO DRUGS!” When Saint Ronnie (Who sold weapons to Iran by the way)made that his drug rehab program!
    Of course that was meaningful, and “Check the air in your tires” couldn’t possibly work.

  • Searching in FL

    Kenny, I was searching for an educated opinion on the validity of this book…I can’t seem to get past your comment regarding McCain not following directions & ending up in a prison camp. Could we at least give some respect to Veterans who risked their lives to defend people like you and subsequently allow you the freedom to speak your mind? McCain didn’t get lost while sight-seeing in a hot-air balloon. He made the decision to serve this country, signed up, completed the training, learned how to fly the plane, excepted the mission, risked his life during numerous missions and endured years of torture. Your implication is like telling a rape victim she (or he) deserved what they got! I don’t believe you were EVER a republican! If so, based on your poor grammar and ungrateful attitude, I doubt their party misses you one bit! There seem to be numerous “red-flags” popping up about Obama…all with the “Don’t look at the man behind the curtain” line the “Wizard of Oz” told Dorothy. I’m still looking for EVIDENCE of what he accomplished in Illinois…could someone, please, tell me?! Otherwise, I’m buying this book!

  • Clayton

    I haven’t read the book yet, but in reference to Charlie’s comment. Do you use Wikipedia as a factual reference point?

    I am an independent, and people like you make me sick. You do know that anyone can write in wikipedia right? You do know that there should be more to research than “Googling” something. You think that just because you can utilize a search engine that all of the sudden you are a political analyst?

    News flash: You’re a moron. I could post a site about whatever I want, and pay money to make sure it comes up high in the search for certain key words. Meaning you would cite me as a credible source because google listed it as a source of information. So I’m going to make a site about idiots like you, so later you can say “I am an idiot! Because Clayton said so on this google search I did. You should maybe go back to school so you can understand technology a little more.

    I’m buying this book, because I’ve already read Barack’s book. And I would like another side of the spectrum.

  • Andrew

    You guys should read this.

  • sarah

    this is a great book, the facts in it are so amazing. its funny how the media doesnt tell you about the true facts like these. ive seen a few things here and there about the relgion, but not very much. if he was in that church for 20 yrs he should not be the president of a white country. i think its so wronge how there are only two rules anyone has to meet to be a president and he cant meet one of them. (born in america, and old enough) i dont understand why he hasent been impeached yet. there are 5 law suites against our president and people are doing riots because they dont want him to talk in the granduation (back east). How did america end up with a president like him? why did anyone vote for him? he was NOT born in hawi, there are only two hospitals there and neither have any record of him. and plus there is no record of him being an imagrent. so if he cant provide us with his birth certifact what does that tell you? and to kennys comment, he is wronge. all of obamas schooling is hiden, his medicle records, everything about his past it hiden, (besides the expinsive collages he attended and how did he pay for that) and why do you think that might be? how could anyone want a president when they dont even know his past. obama is always putting america down any chance he gets (during his speeches he has been giving around the world). i dont see how you can deffend him, do some reserch on the guy (if you can get much) the church he was in should tell you enough, but the fact that he is always putting down america bowed down to another king, has passed 17 laws. in my opinion he needs out of there. its funny how you dont see anyone stepping up, he cant be our president (legaly) he doesnt meet the standerds. but he still is? hes putting as all in danger, all our enimies are watching, and now they know we are week. we have the best system on the planet, i hope he doesnt find a way to dystroy that. i agree with searching with fl give the veterans some credit, they risk there lifes to help us. i could go on and on about why im against obama but if you guys read, you probly know if not more alot of the same things i do.

  • Paul Q

    America got what it deserves for electing this inexperienced and untested President. If only he had come up the ranks as most great Presidents have–we would be better served!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great comments from a book review crowd. I’ll make sure and visit this section more often.