If President Obama and his supporters wish to focus on biography, of course, that is a game two can play. Already, the temperate, mild-mannered Mr. Romney has criticized Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign as “based on falsehood and dishonesty,” and a television ad went further, asserting that Mr. Obama “doesn’t tell the truth.”
A focus on openness and honesty is likely to hurt Mr. Obama far more than Mr. Romney. Mr. Obama remains the mystery candidate with an autobiography full of gaps and even fabrications. For example, to sell his autobiography in 1991, Mr. Obama claimed that he “was born in Kenya.” He lied about never having been a member and candidate of the 1990s Chicago socialist New Party. When Stanley Kurtz produced evidence to establish that he was a member, Mr. Obama’s flacks smeared and dismissed Mr. Kurtz. Mr. Obama’s 1995 autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” contains a torrent of inaccuracies and falsehoods about his maternal grandfather, his father, his mother, his parents’ wedding, his stepfather’s father, his high school friend, his girlfriend, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. As Victor Davis Hanson put it, “If a writer will fabricate the details about his own mother’s terminal illness and quest for insurance, then he will probably fudge on anything.”
Into this larger pattern of mendacity about his past life arises the question of Mr. Obama’s discussion of his faith, perhaps the most singular and outrageous of his lies.
I don’t normally go in for this sort of thing but neither am I against it. The reason is simple: fairness. Not the bogus “fairness” of the “progressive” lexicon which really means “agree with my socialist ideas”, but true, 14th Amendment, equal treatment under the law fairness. Pipes’ article points out the reason that I support these inquiries:
President Obama has come out swinging against his Republican rival, sponsoring television advertisements that ask, “What is Mitt Romney hiding?” The allusion is to such relatively minor matters as Mr. Romney’s prior tax returns, the date he stopped working for Bain Capital and the nonpublic records from his service heading the Salt Lake City Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts. Mr. Obama has defended his demands that Mr. Romney release more information about himself, declaring in August that “the American people have assumed that if you want to be president of the United States that your life’s an open book when it comes to things like your finances.” Liberals such as Paul Krugman of the New York Times enthusiastically endorse this focus on Mr. Romney’s personal history.
It is a goose and gander sort of thing. I know that in the political arena, we aren’t constrained by the rules of evidence – but I do believe that if you introduce a line of questioning or demand something of one side, albeit in the court of public opinion, I have just as much right to explore that line as it applies to you and expect that you also provide the same evidence to me that you demand from me.
So in my mind, the Washington Post hit piece on Romney’s high school days opens the door to questions about that period in Obama’s life. The kerfuffle about Romney’s business career and tax returns, including the felony charge allegations by Obama spokeshole Stephanie Cutter and the outright lies of ads by the Priorities USA super PAC (run by professional slimeball Bill Burton), throws open the door to Obama’s academic and community organizing work life. The author’s bio that Obama let stand uncorrected for 16 years and his own admission to creating “composite” facts in his book also open the door to questions regarding his veracity and credibility on almost everything.
And the whisper campaign about Romney’s Mormonism, media “examinations” of the LDS Church and questions if Mormons are actually Christians, opens the door to Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s education in Muslim schools and if whatever brand of religion Obama professes to belong to is Christian as well.
If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.