Michelle Oddis: Dave, you’re a reporter, not a columnist. You’ve worked very hard to dig into the Obama story. You've said that you started reporting on Barack Obama in 2004. After all this research, what do you think is the most important thing people should know about Sen. Obama?
David Freddoso: The main lesson is that Barack Obama’s record, throughout his career, demonstrates conclusively that he has never been a reformer, that this image of “change and hope” that he projects is really a great lie. In fact there’s never been a single time in Senator Obama’s political career where he did something that was difficult and would cost him politically for the sake of needed reforms and change.
MO: Your book focuses a lot on the “Chicago Machine.” Not everyone knows about Chicago’s political corruption. In short, how does it work? And how has Sen. Obama been a part of it?
DF: Just to give a few examples from my book, chapter one discusses at length Sen. Obama’s support for and alliances with Chicago machine politicians, that’s chapters one and two.
The “political machine” is all about using the apparatus of the government treasury, using the taxpayer’s money to keep yourself in power permanently. You put your political cronies on the payroll to help yourself get elected and re-elected and then when you’re in power you get to do things like steer pension funds and investment to benefit your pals. All of this stuff was going on.
Liberals and conservatives had come together and had the Cook County, Illinois machine on the ropes but Sen. Obama did not help them. In fact, he ended up endorsing the machine candidate that year in the competitive general election and called him a good progressive Democrat. In this case he didn’t support the reformer, because to support the reformer in that election, he would have upset all the allies of the machine politician. That would have been against the interests of now-convicted developer Tony Rezko, who was tied closely to the Stroger family. He would have upset Mayor Daley, he would have to upset Emil Jones. So he played along like a good machine politician.
Obama was denounced by a lot of liberals including some big people who were still big fans of his at the time.
Obama’s very much about the old politics, and he’s very much not a reformer. It shouldn’t be a surprise except the only surprise is that he has managed to project this reformer image.
MO: Why do you think the mainstream media hasn’t reported on these stories of Obama’s career in Chicago? Your book references many stories from the Chicago Sun-Times. Why does the national media ignore it?
DF: Well, unfortunately, I think the national media -- which resides largely in New York and Washington and perhaps out West in Los Angeles -- doesn’t look at or read the Chicago papers nearly as much as they should.
Part of the problem is that Chicago’s politics are so dirty that it’s almost hard to believe it’s true. Who would think that a guy who was convicted of stealing $4 million in quarters from Chicago area toll booths would then be given a city job with responsibilities where he could shake down city contractors for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and campaign contributions?
MO: That’s true!?!
DF: Yes, that’s absolutely true. The man earned the nickname “Quarters” because of his earlier conviction. He came out of prison and went right on to the city payroll shortly thereafter. He was part of one of Daley’s political organizations -- the Coalition for better Government -- so he got the job.
This is the way Chicago politics works and Sen. Obama can’t do or say anything to change it because Sen. Obama’s allies, the people who got him where he is today and the people who are going to help him become president of the United States -- they all started the problems.
He can’t speak out against the problems because his friends are the problem.
MO: Lets talk Tony Rezko. Not everyone knows the details of the Rezko-Obama connection. They know it has to do with a land deal and that’s about it…
DF: The problem with it is everyone is focused on this land deal but they haven’t focused on the really big question -- which is why would Sen. Barack Obama end up in a situation where he engaged in any sort of deal like this with a guy who’s entire career has consisted of legally or illegal sponging off of tax payers and corrupting public officials --officials like Barack Obama?
When Tony Rezko wanted something done legally -- say grants from the state and subsidies and cheap loans and that sort of thing -- he knew he could always count on Barack Obama to support those things -- to support legislation that would increase demand for subsidized housing in the Chicago area. Legislation that would make his costs lower, giving him tax breaks and tax breaks for stuff that he was already doing already.
So, their 17 year friendship goes a long way back and it was working relationship where Obama did a lot of stuff in Springfield to help Tony Rezko. And that’s why the two could be close enough friends that they would dine together and spend weekends together at Rezko’s vacation home and why they would happen to buy properties right next door to each other.
Very few people who have been looking at this angle and that’s the real issue with the Tony Rezko business -- what did Obama do for him? Obama said “I did him no favors” but he did do favors for Tony Rezko. In fact, in 1998 -- I believe it’s in Chapter 11 of the book -- in 1998 Senator Obama wrote a couple of letters on Senate letter head specifically asking that the state give grants to Tony Rezko and another developer he is very close with, his former law firm boss. That’s a favor.
MO: Why did you want to write this book?
DF: I wanted to write this book because I was watching several major media figures and respected columnists and journalists just fawn over this guy. It just seems a little bit overboard to me.
I haven’t been in Washington a terribly long time. I’ve been here since 2001 and from what I’ve seen you can’t buy into this idea of politicians as heroes. What exactly has Sen. Obama done that would support this argument as an “agent of positive change?”
If you actually look at Obama’s record the incongruity is actually more obvious because he doesn’t have a record of being a reformer. Reformers don’t vote for the bridge to nowhere and they don’t vote for ethanol and they don’t vote for the farm bill… they don’t consistently support corrupt systemic arrangements in every public office they’ve ever held.
As I was writing this, there were several things I came to know about Sen. Obama that I figured just about everybody else did. One of them was the fact that he first won election to the state in Illinois by getting all of his opponents, including his sitting state senator, thrown off the ballot. And I thought everyone knew this! And as I spoke to more and more very experienced Washington people I discovered practically nobody has heard this even though it’s been in so many newspapers
I felt like a lot of those stories should be told again with as much detail as possible and that I could also find some new things about Sen. Obama that some people just didn’t know regarding his record in Springfield, in Washington and what he’s done in Chicago.
So, that’s why I set out to do this and I think it makes for a good read. I mean, I’ll admit I wrote it myself… I’m not exactly unbiased.
There are many, many more detailed revelations about Barack Obama -- the stealth liberal, his lack of knowledge of the world and his plans to bankrupt America -- that David Freddoso writes in “The Case Against Barack Obama” Every American voter needs to know the facts about Obama, and this is the best book to read and study to learn those facts.