Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fruit Flies, Barack Obama and My Good Friend Christopher Hitchens

By David Horowitz, Front Page Magazine
October 29, 2008

"A candidate may well change his…position on, say, universal health care of Bosnia. But he … cannot change the fact - if it happens to be a fact - that he … is a pathological liar…"
-- Christopher Hitchens

"This idiot woman, this blind, short-sighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod, mocks basic research and the international research community."

Is this a description of Rosie O'Donnell explaining that metals don't melt and 9/11 was an inside job? A swipe at Green Party presidential aspirant Cynthia McKinney explaining how the Jews were responsible? A shot at Gloria Steinem for defending partial birth abortion under the delusion that a living child is actually a disposable "fetus"?

No, this is a psychotic attack on Governor Sarah Palin by an Obama supporter. Palin's sin is her opposition to earmarks, in particular an earmark for olive fruit fly research. The same earmark was recently seized on by my good friend Christopher Hitchens to justify his contempt for Palin and endorsement of her opponents.

While not as vitriolic as his attacks on Mother Teresa and Princess Di, Hitchens' attack on Palin is characteristically severe. In an article in Slate --"Sarah Palin's War On Science: The GOP Ticket's Appalling Contempt For Knowledge And Learning" ( -Hitchens first explains to readers the benefits of fruit fly research (as though anyone - even a small town clod like the Alaska governor wouldn't have learned about fruit flies in high school biology). Fruit fly research, he continues, allows us to study the DNA of living organisms, "which makes it useful in studying disease." In Hitchens' strained calculus, these facts rank Palin as a hypocrite since her "signature issue" is disability and special needs: "She might even have had some researcher tell her that there is a Drosophila-based center for research into autism at the University of North Carolina."

But when Palin attacked the earmark, she wasn't campaigning against fruit fly research. She was campaigning against earmarks -- the $18-billion-a- year scam under which forces taxpayers to underwrite personal favors that congressmen perform for their "constituents," like giant agribusiness corporations. Such earmarks are transparent bribes since they are bound to encourage constituents who receive them to fund congressional campaigns. The fruit fly earmark was the project of a California congressman named Mike Thompson; the service provided was to the California agribusiness community, which was looking for taxpayer help with a fruit fly problem that threatened their designs to turn olive trees into a profit. The earmark was not about autistic kids. It was about a corrupt patronage system used to benefit one congressman and the olive oil industry.

Of course Hitchens is smart enough to smell the rat in his own argument. Without exactly explaining what the earmark was for, he writes: "The fruit fly can also be a menace to American agriculture, so any financing of research into its habits and mutations is money well-spent." Christopher! This isn't about DNA, and all research isn't fungible. This is a welfare handout to giant corporations. Instead of going to funding sources where projects are peer-reviewed, they can appeal to one pliable congressman, likely to appreciate their ability to help his re-election.

In an earlier Slate column ("Vote for Obama" Hitchens described McCain's selection of Palin as "the most insulting thing a politician [could do]" and therefore, apparently, a cause to throw the Iraqis and his country under the bus. Of course the author of the religion-bashing book, God Is Not Great, is not really enraged at Palin because of her concern about earmarks. His contempt is for the fact that she believes in a divinity, and a moral law higher than California congressmen. Even this contempt coming from Hitchens is puzzling, since the chief sin Hitchens ascribes to the religious in his polemical book is presuming to speak in the name of God. Since Palin readily concedes her inability to read the Creator's mind, she should get a pass. But she doesn't.

Instead, Hitchens suggests that with Palin "the contempt for science may be something a little more sinister…. She is known to favor the teaching of creationism in schools…" Well, not exactly.

As Hitchens himself explains she has not advocated imposing creationism on the schools. She merely wants to "smuggle" the doctrine through the door in "the innocent disguise of 'teaching the argument.'"

Oh. She wants students to be made aware of the discussion over evolution, whereas Hitchens wants the fact that some members of the scientific community believe in Intelligent Design to be suppressed- and this in the name of "knowledge and learning!"

Hitchens' is normally able to make the sharpest distinctions, but this ability is strikingly absent from these electoral ruminations . Perhaps his instincts have been blunted by the new company he is keeping among the bigoted hysterics of the political left to whom distinctions appear as mere distractions from the righteous Path of Truth. "The Republican Party s has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic, and a proud boastful ignoramus," writes Hitchens, adding that those who care for the Constitution and reason will on November 4, "repudiate this wickedness and stupidity." The wickedness and stupidity are more aptly reflected in baseless, mean-spirited remarks like this.

Anti-God is not great either, Christopher. While you refuse to cut Governor Palin slack in an election season, look at the gaping latitude you provide to her opponents. Obama's election (should it come to pass) will not put him a heart-beat away from the presidency but anoint him commander-in-chief. This makes your burden of responsibility that much greater, particularly since as a man of the left you understand exactly who Obama is.

Some years ago, you wrote a memorable book about Bill Clinton called No One Left To Lie To. When you wrote it, you shared many of Clinton's political agendas but parted ways with him over his moral corruption. Your defection turned on the issue of presidential character. You were repelled by Clinton's easy ways with the truth. But Obama's lies make Clinton's look pale.

Consider that Obama's closest counselor and spiritual guide over a twenty year period is a racist kook, a Jew-hating, terrorist-loving acolyte of Farrakhan. When confronted with this fact, Obama responded he had no idea who Jeremiah right was. What Clinton lie comes close to that in brazen coolness? Or this one: My name is Barack Hussein Obama and I grew up the son of a Muslim father and went to a Muslim school in an Islamic state but I wasn't raised as a Muslim - I've always been a Christian.

Not that being raised as a Muslim should matter. The lie should.

For his entire adult life, Obama's closest political allies have been pro-Soviet progressives like state senator Alice Palmer who chose Obama as the politically appropriate figure whom she chose to inherit her state senate seat; or anti-American radicals like Billy Ayers who organized a terrorist army in the 1970s with the intention of launching a race war in America, and bringing down the "empire." Others may be under the illusion that the WeatherUnderground was organized to protest the Vietnam War. But you know better. Ayers and his comrades were still bombing during the Jimmy Carter Administration in the year of America's bi-centennial, 1976. They were still in the trenches four years after our withdrawal from Vietnam, because their agenda was a war to destroy the imperial beast, America.

I was eight years old when Ayers set his bombs (more likely 16). But Ayers' reputation was legend in the Hyde Park "liberal" community where Obama met him and embraced him as a political comrade and ally. It was in Ayers' living room that Obama launched his campaign for Alice Palmer's leftwing seat. It was Ayers' father who got Obama his job at the law firm of Sidley Austin, and it was Ayers himself who hired Obama to spend the $50 million fund Ayers had raised to finance an army of anti-American radicals drawn from ACORN and other nihilist groups to recruit Chicago school children to their political causes.

When confronted by his association with Ayers, Obama had another characteristic memory lapse. Ayers was just a "guy in the neighborhood" whose children went to school with his. What other crucial facts about his life and what other essential clues to his character has Obama lied about? Better ask: What has he not lied about? Syrian criminal Tony Reszko, who gave him his house (and received what political favors in return)? If you ask Obama, he never read all those front page stories about Rezsko's indictments.

And of course, nobody ever bothered to ask Obama why a pro-Soviet trooper like Alice Palmer would want to give her senate seat to him rather than some other worthy. But we can pretty well guess Obama's answer if they had.

When you peel away the subterfuges and get down to the facts, what you are left with is a life-long radical posing as a political liberal to win the trust of a larger constituency. Schizophrenic disjunctions make up his political character. He is a ruthless machine politician, who chose the Daley mafia over inner city school kids and crushed an incipient reform movement he himself had been part of. When the chips were down his loyalty was to the machine; but when he runs for office it is as a political progressive. In his heart, he is an economic radical distressed that the Constitution presents obstacles to socialist theft; but when he runs for office he inhabits the persona of an economic centrist. The balancing act is superb. His chief economic adviser this presidential run is Austan Goolsbee, an economic centrist, while Paul Volcker a much admired conservative has joined his campaign. Both men would do a Republican Administration proud. But once in power will he follow their advice?

The economy is probably not where your heart is. Consider, then, the global war against Islamic fanatics, which is. These are not people who want to "teach the argument" in public schools, like Sarah Palin. Their remedy for disagreement is not discussion but off with their heads. Where is Obama on the war between barbarism and civilization? He was for keeping Saddam Hussein in power, when the entire Clinton national security team was against it. He was for capitulation on the battlefield once the war started, which would have left the Iraqis to the tender mercies of Zarqawi and crew.

In foreign policy, generally, his deceptions are world class. In practice he has spent his political life in league with anti-American, "anti-war" radicals who make no secrets among their friends as to the nature of their agendas. As a sitting Senator he was a white flag appeaser. But as a candidate poseur he is able to pull off the credible impression that he is a foreign policy realist.
And maybe he is. Or maybe he's not any of these things, because all that anyone knows for certain about Barack Obama - the only thing one knows for certain -- is that he is not what he seems. What we do know, because we have the performances on tape is that he is the most seamless liar since Bill himself - smoother by far. Who is the real Barack Obama? Who can tell? We don't really know anything about this man's intentions and what we do know about his deeds is bad.

We know that he is a man without loyalty. Wright, Ayers, Grandma - throw them under the bus (although perhaps only temporarily, while expedience requires it). When his benefactor Alice Palmer changed her mind about passing him her senate seat, he refused to give it back. When she and two other black candidates attempted to challenge him in the primaries, he went to court to prevent them from running at all. He preferred to disenfranchise their supporters than win in an election. When TV anchors posed uncomfortable questions to him and his running mate, he had his campaign threaten their stations with reprisals. Michael Barone has written eloquently about the emerging "Obama thugocracy." What counter-evidence could you possibly produce against this concern? You have embraced a Machiavellian liar and world class charmer, remarkably disciplined as a political actor, breathtakingly able to put on many faces. Should he become president, will you or anyone else be able to call him to account?

Here is another thing to think about. Consider what those who have known him best and longest think of all these weavings and bobbings and deceptions on the issues - issues fundamental to America's future. Despite his tacks to the center, his brave words about standing up to Iran and his claims to be ready to defend Israel's democracy, every anti-Israel, anti-American, pro-Iranian Communist in America is supporting Barack Obama; every pro-Palestinian leftist, every former Weatherman terrorist - many of whom are active in his campaign (some even on his official website); every Sixties leftist and all their disciples whose hope all their lives is that America would lose its wars, because in their perverse view America is the Great Satan, the imperial master of global capitalism; every black racist follower of Louis Farrakhan, who said recently that when Obama speaks you are "hearing the voice of the messiah;" every "anti-war" activist who wanted us to leave Saddam in power and then lose the war in Iraq, everyone who believes that America is the bad guy and that our enemies are justly aggrieved; every member of ACORN chief product of the anti-American Sixties left,which thinks nothing of conducting massive electoral fraud because it has massive contempt for the American way. Every one of these radical forces without exception and without defection is pulling for Barack Obama, along with al-Jazeera and Vladimir Putin and the religious fanatics of Hamas and the PLO. Have you asked yourself what it is that you think you know, that they don't?

Of course all these leftists with their hostile agendas may be mistaken about Barack Obama. His distinctive talent, after all, is to appear all things to all men and women. In the end, Obama may be so faithless, and disloyal, and unprincipled, as to turn his back on everything he has ever stood for and everyone who has ever supported him for the last twenty years. He may throw them all under the bus along with Reverend Wright, radical Ayers and racist grandma. But how certain can you be of counting on that? Can you even be sure that Wright and Ayers will not be invited back into the fold once the prize is achieved? What is it that you know that the anti-American, anti-Israel left in this country (and abroad), who are also supporting Obama, do not?

I am stunned that you would give all these facts a pass in casting your vote for the mysterious stranger, and use Sarah Palin's mild religious faith as an excuse to condemn her and endorse him. Unlike Obama's political commitments, Palin's faith has been a consistently private aspect of her life. (Is there an act of her governorship you can point to that was dictated by the "religious fanaticism" you ascribe to her on the basis of a single appearance she made in a church she has long since left? There is none.) I am not so much surprised as dispirited by your thoughtless attacks on the religious faith of this woman, who has the support of Democrats and Republicans in her state, and who is seeking high office in a nation whose core principle, as you know better than most, is religious tolerance.

Perhaps it is precisely America's tolerance that is the problem here. Perhaps it is this tolerance itself that has given rise to the passionate hatreds that are directed unfairly at Palin and McCain. These hatreds are justified by their protagonists as a defense in behalf of the first presidential candidate who is black. Perhaps in the rush to elect a black president, there is too much tolerance, too much willingness to give a pass to Obama on matters on which he should not get a pass - to ignore so many obviously troubling facts.

I am dispirited that you who wrote so movingly about your own post-9/11 love for this country would attack in such an unrestrained and incoherent manner a woman whose candor in expressing similar love has earned her the contempt of the left. Leftists of course refuse to consider themselves nationalists, or patriotic defenders of a tolerant countr. They think of themselves as "international citizens" whose allegiances are to international courts, and organizations, and to a United Nations dominated by dictators and racists, by women-hating, gay-hating, Jew-hating, Christian-hating and, yes, atheist-hating regimes. All of this doesn't matter to them when they are faced with truly dangerous individuals like Sarah Palin.

Think again Christopher. Vote for Obama if you want to, but don't debase yourself by thinking (and hating) in lockstep like the left. Since your adoption of this country, you have written thoughtful appreciations of several of its Founders. You know, more than most, that religious freedom - and respect -- is the foundation of all the freedoms we enjoy in this country, including the freedom of people to hate it. One thing you can count on from John McCain and Sarah Palin is that they will defend their country and its Constitution against enemies global and domestic who despise it, and seek its demise. What can you count on from Barack Obama?

David Horowitz is President of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Los Angeles, CA

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