I think the core question, “Who is Barack Obama, really?” has not been answered. Nor can it be answered in the remaining days before November 4.

Now I believe in miracles but have learned never to expect them. So this profile is of the looming Obama presidency.

Everyone these days is getting a huge volume of forwarded MAIL. Recently, one of those anonymous web correspondents, a self styled retired spook, was quoted in a forwarded email from a friend. The topic was Senator Barack Obama (surprise!) and how he might be evaluated by a professional spy, someone presumably swoon-proof, a hardened spy, one not beguiled by the rhetorical charm of “The One”.

I won’t vouch for the source of course, but at least some of what this “source” asserts can stand on its own.

I do have a personal take on Senator Obama, but that will wait until later in this narrative. I’ve made a few minor reductions/redactions in the interests of simplicity and brevity and (in parentheses) I’ve added an occasional note of explanation for those of us less obsessed with the details of the senator’s early history.

With that disclaimer, here goes:


“[Suppose I were] an intelligence officer – the source writes … a foreign one, say, from France, Italy, Israel or Russia, stationed in Washington , D. C. … and that I was commissioned to profile the U.S. presidential candidates for my handlers.

“I would begin by investigating the backgrounds of each candidate.

“In the Intel business, it’s not really about what they say they are. A person is more defined by his or her friends, contacts, by who he/she associates with, by where he/she worked, by what he/she actually did, etc., than all other factors.

“We know a great deal about McCain. He’s been an open book for the past forty years or more, but Obama is different.

“I don’t know who he is. (So I must determine) Who are his friends and associates, who did he work for, etc. To find this out, I will do what the media did not do, I will compile a list:

“Michael Pfleger (the radical leftist priest)

“Antoine Rezko (the Syrian born crook, now in federal prison)

“Rita Reszo (see above)

“Saul Alinsky (Marxist founder of the street organizer movement)

“Jeremiah Wright (whose strident black liberation theology echoes the anti-American left)

“James Cone (Wright’s mentor)

“William Ayres (the Weatherman terrorist who avoided prison on a technicality)

“Bernadine Dohrn (Ayers wife, the terrorist who did not avoid prison)

“Industrial Areas Foundation (Alinsky’s organization)

“Woods Foundation

“Joyce Foundation

“Chicago Annenberg Challenge

“Coalition for Improved Education in South Shore

“South Shore African Village Collaborative

“[My investigation reveals that] Obama’s associates were a collection of former revolutionary members, underground leaders, draft protesters, black radicals, racketeers, former Communist Party leaders and radical inner city Catholic priests. And that they all appear to believe in the Marxist Saul Alinsky’s maxim, “The end justifies the means.”

“So what shall I report?

“A person is judged on his past. A person is loyal to his core associates. What do his loyal associates want? What is their agenda? What is the ‘end that justifies the means’?

“History is a great teacher. In Cuba, Fidel Castro took power and brought along his Marxist -core guerrilla cadre. Their political motivation was known to Fidel’s middle class supporters who (nevertheless clung to the belief) that once Castro and company were in power, he would become part of the mainstream. He was loyal to his core associates.”

“Boy, were his middle class supporters surprised.”


I shared this missive with a friend who – though not an Obama supporter – told me I was being a bit paranoid. Actually, I gave up paranoia in 1984 – since that political reality didn’t resemble the novel of the same name.


When I arrived in the Bay Area from out of state to attend law school, having been the head of a campus Young Democrats in a more conservative setting, I toyed with getting involved in local politics. And – especially in Berkeley, I became aware just how far the real spectrum (as opposed to the public one) ran to the far left.

And over time, I came to understand just how much pressure is exerted on a nascent political animal to become co-opted and essentially controlled by the extreme left networks. I met Black Panthers and their deluded supporters, overt Marxists, and fervent America haters – all clever and many covert.

I haven’t met Mr. Ayers or his lovely ex-felon wife, but I got to know people exactly like them.

So my politics stayed local. I am friends with prominent democrat public officials, many of whom are closet moderates, if you will – one of whom actually voted for the “Governator”.


Over time, I gradually mutated from a conventional, but firmly patriotic liberal into a centrist with both liberal and conservative leanings. On national security and law and order issues, I remain a hard nosed realist. Therapy and happy talk are ineffective against thugs of all types and at all levels.

The litmus test for me has become a simple question: How did you react to 9-11-01?

If you saw the attack as a manifestation of existential evil aimed at gravely damaging the world’s most promising democratic republic, then you are my friend and ally whatever else you happen to believe. But if you (like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright) saw this malevolent attack as vindication of the perverse “we had it coming” ideological stance, then you and I are very, very far from the same page.

Where was Barack Obama on 9-11-01? [Hint: The question is not about physical geography.]

As you might expect, my experiences with the hard left and their loony, over-idealist camp followers soured me on any active participation in California politics except on a very local, very selective level.

From this experience, my inner political scientist has distilled four distinct political archetypes that tend to emerge from the formative left wing swamp (a place I know all too well):

[1] The overt left-wing rejectionists – these became the dreaded “neo-cons”;

[2] The closet moderates who strive for “good government” – these are the elected officials who continue to swallow their misgivings about the leftist extreme;

[3] The camouflage radicals – these are the leftists who have cultivated a reasonable tone, but are biding their time until they achieve “real power”;

[4] The unrepentant lefties – these birds have migrated into the academy and / or leadership positions in the great opinion making machine. Ayers and company belong to this flock.

I’m too small a sample to constitute a political archetype.

Based on the record, including all of Senator Obama’s campaign pronouncements, he is either type 2 or type 3. EITHER. I defy you to produce compelling evidence for either proposition.

One hopes that Senator Obama may still turn out to be a closet moderate – I will be greatly relieved if that turns out to be the case. His life pattern, his tone and his recent statements are almost perfectly reconcilable with the pattern of a closet leftist and the pattern of a late blooming moderate.

This is why, for me he remains — above all — a chameleon. His life is the classic “fit in wherever I happen to be” narrative. A chameleon by any other name….

Now I grant the senator one thing. In spite of his affiliation with a “black revolutionary”, somewhat anti-Semitic urban church, I am willing to believe that he really is a post-racial candidate. Surely, this is a healthy and much overdue development. By itself, it explains why this charismatic and enigmatic African, Indonesian, and Hawaiian fellow who became a Chicago politician has captured the imagination of the left and the affection of many on the right.

Were we sailing into safe waters in a time of peace and prosperity, this could well be enough to “make the sale”.

But we are not on that boat.

Barack’s first biography is a very well written and engaging narrative that tells all but reveals nothing.

So, years ago I traded in paranoia for street wise suspicion. For audacious hope, I adopted idealistic realism. And instead of an infatuation for personal ambiguity, I developed a stern preference for character transparency.

The times call for nothing less.

John McCain, all his warts, quirks and flaws included, is a safer choice for an America-in-crisis

But only a miracle will make him president.


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