Rick Wagner Column January 08, 2009

Potential scandals could darken Obama administration

What a shame that Christmas has passed, since the analogy of the ghost of poor old Marley dragging his chains around and the problems besetting President-elect Barack Obama prior to his inauguration is so apt.

Scandal and the whiff of backroom maneuvering seem to have arisen, and it took a trip to Hawaii and near sequestering from the public to prevent too much of it from lingering about Obama.

Some of the problems were bound to arise, given the Obama political heritage and past evidence of bad or expedient judgment in personnel choices.  Others are the result of the Herculean effort on the part of the liberal establishment to get Obama elected, which revealed ways of doing business and desperate measures not previously seen. 

The problems of Gov. Rod Blagojevich were hardly news in Illinois and should have come as no surprise to the president-elect. 

Part of Obama’s problem is his choice of Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff and headhunter. Emanuel is a less intellectual throwback to the late Republican operative Lee
Atwater, long detested by the Democrats for his hardball tactics. He embodies much of the Atwater baseball-bat approach to politics, with a little seasoning of Bugs Moran. Emanuel takes care of business in a way that tends to leave muddy footprints about the room.

Meanwhile, in a state nearby, Al Franken, with the help of machinery gathered by Democrat Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, has managed to turn a 725-vote lead by Norm Coleman into a 225-vote lead by Franken.

Some of the questions arising out of this counting process are much more disturbing than those that very nearly struck dead members of the mainstream media during the Florida recount in 2000.

For instance, The Wall Street Journal pointed out that in 25 Minnesota precincts, officials have now managed to find more ballots than voters who signed in to vote. The Journal adroitly noted that the Minnesotans most disenfranchised may be those who only got to vote once.

The experience of Secretary of State Ritchie starts with his beginnings as a community activist. In 2006, his ACORN-endorsed candidacy was one of the victories of the Secretary of State Project, a 527 group founded by past Moveon.org director James Rucker. That group took credit for Ritchie’s victory, according to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

I anticipate some involvement by this organization in Colorado in 2010 in an effort to hold the secretary of state’s position for Bernie Buescher, who was thrown a lifeline by Gov. Bill Ritter after his legislative defeat. He was brought to friendlier waters in metro Denver. 

Then of course there is the Clinton conundrum, where for reasons that no one can quite ascertain, members of the Clinton administration seem to be finding their way into the Obama administration.
Hillary Clinton herself brings baggage in the form of her husband, who has received so much questionable money from overseas for his foundation and library project, as well as speaking and consulting fees, as to almost qualify as a small country himself.

The New York Post said Mr. Clinton’s received between $10 million and $25 million from Saudi Arabia and between $1 million and $5 million from Oman. The Post also said he was even willing to accept money from American companies, including bailout recipients AIG and Lehman Brothers. Mr. Clinton seems to be replete with foreign conflicts, yet it is doubtful this will trouble his wife’s journey to secretary of state.

Even our Colorado Senate appointee, Michael Bennet, is a former Clintonite, having served as counsel for Jamie Gorelick in the Clinton Justice Department and apparently as a speechwriter for Janet Reno.

Our best advice to Mr. Obama is to not get too close to the water. If you fall in with all this weight it could be dangerous.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong, which can be reached through the blogs entry at GJSentinel.com.


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