Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Company He Keeps


"Change? Sorry. All I have is Hundreds."


Obama has a serious problem. For what would appear to be his entire adult life, he has surrounded himself with advisors and confidants who are either hateful towards America despite having drunk from the fountain of prosperity, or to put it bluntly, are corrupt. Somehow he thinks the American people will consider him to be the exception among his posse. The baby in the bath water.

It would appear Obama is talking out of both sides of his mouth. What a shocker. He lambastes those that, at least according to Obama, caused the current mortgage crisis, and at the same time brings them to his inner circle.

Barack Obama may have come up with a creative way to solve the housing recession: Let everyone buy property at a discount the way he did from Tony Rezko, and give everyone in America a discount mortgage the way Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide did for Fannie Mae's Jim Johnson. Team Obama's real estate and mortgage transactions are certainly a change from business as usual. They suggest old-fashioned back-scratching below even current Beltway standards.

The irony here is that Mr. Obama has denounced Mr. Mozilo as part of his populist case against corporate excess, calling Mr. Mozilo and a colleague in March "the folks who are responsible for infecting the economy and helping to create a home foreclosure crisis." Obama campaign manager David Plouffe also said in March that "If we're really going to crack down on the practices that caused the credit and housing crises, we're going to need a leader who doesn't owe these industries any favors." But now this protector of the working class has entrusted his first big task as Presidential nominee to the very man who received "favors" in return for enriching Mr. Mozilo.

Yesterday, ABC News asked Mr. Obama whether he should have more carefully vetted Mr. Johnson and Eric Holder, who is working with Mr. Johnson on veep vetting. Correspondent Sunlen Miller noted Mr. Johnson's loans from Countrywide and Mr. Holder's involvement as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration in the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich. Said Mr. Obama: "Everybody, you know, who is tangentially related to our campaign, I think, is going to have a whole host of relationships – I would have to hire the vetter to vet the vetters."

More excuses. It's not too much to ask of the potential leader of the free world is it?

Vetting Mr. Johnson's finances would have been time well spent, judging by a May 2006 report from Fannie Mae's regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (Ofheo). Even if Mr. Obama considers the advisers helping him select a running mate "tangentially related" to his campaign, he might have thought twice about any relationship with Mr. Johnson.

To this list we would add one more, directed at Mr. Obama: Is this what you mean by bringing change to Washington?

Friends of Barack

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