Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The real story behind the New Yorker cover

The uproar over the New Yorker cover illustration of Sen. and Mrs. Barack Obama faded after a couple of days, but Michael Smerconish, writing in The Philadelphia Inquirer, says the real bombshell wasn't the cover, but the story inside the magazine.

The New Yorker published a 14,619-word story by political writer Ryan Lizza that paints an unfaltering picture of Sen. Obama.

From Smerconish's column:
The Barack Obama who was elected to the Illinois state senate, ran for a U.S. House seat unsuccessfully, and ultimately won a seat in the U.S. Senate was willing to get his hands dirty in the street politics of Chicago and mold his views to suit his ever-changing career milestones. When Obama decided to run for state senate in 1995, he turned to Toni Preckwinkle, who was then his alderman. Preckwinkle supported Obama in that bid, again in his failed U.S. House bid, and in his race for the U.S. Senate. Preckwinkle is now "disenchanted" with Obama, according to the article: "In retrospect, I think he saw the positions he held as stepping-stones to other things and therefore approached his public life differently than other people might have."

There are other details the Obama campaign will not be anxious to see re-aired. Like the campaign event hosted by Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, former leaders of the Weathermen, the group that once bombed the Pentagon. Or that Obama attended the Rev. Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March in 1995. Maybe the image of him getting his opponents for state senate knocked off the ballot - or his dining and vacationing with now-convicted developer Tony Rezko - will come as a surprise to those who see him as different from most politicians.

Maybe his comments in the Hyde Park Herald eight days after 9/11, wherein he recommended engaging in the difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness, will become a newfound liability: "The essence of this tragedy . . . most often . . . grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair." Such a reflection may not play so well in Middle America.

"Perhaps the greatest misconception about Barack Obama is that he is some sort of antiestablishment revolutionary," Lizza writes, in a profile far too few people will now read, having had attention diverted by a clever cover and the resulting furor.
Read the full column, "The real story behind the cover," at the newspaper's Web site.

Do you get the feeling the Obama camp knew about the article and made such a big stink about the cover illustration to draw attention from the skeletons in Obama's closet?

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