Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls, Mr. Obama
Barack Obama has not even taken the oath of office yet, and his administration is already mired in scandal. The Democrat governor of his home state has been indicted by a federal prosecutor for trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, and while Obama has steadfastly denied any involvement in the tawdry proceedings, he’s stonewalled the investigation.
And now we know why: Obama was lying.
The Chicago Tribune now reports that not only did Obama’s right-hand man Rahm Emanuel, who will serve as new President’s chief of staff, meet with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich about filling Obama’s seat, but Emanuel proposed Obama’s left-hand woman, Valerie Jarrett, as the leading candidate for the spot. Obama is part and parcel of the corrupt Illinois political machine, and the investigation of his fundraiser Anthony Rezko hangs over his head as well.
That’s not the end of the Democrat Party’s woes. Charles Rangel, the chairmen of the most crucial committee in the House of Representatives, Ways and Means, is now facing a congressional investigation for influence peddling and tax evasion.
These distractions are the last thing America’s Russia policy needs right now, but they are the entirely predictable result of electing a man with a murky past deeply embedded in the corrupt miasma of Chicago politics. Mr. Obama must now find a way to prevent these events from derailing vital work to resist neo-Soviet oppression.
In his first post-election statement about Russia, Obama issued wonderfully tough and decisive words on the Georgia conflict, and we report today that his spokesman John Kerry followed them up emphatically while on the ground in Georgia last week. We were very encouraged by those developments.
But they were only half a loaf. As most recently seen the Kremlin’s barbaric attack on the human rights organization Memorial, and it’s ruthless repression of the most recent peaceful Dissenter’s March, neo-Soviet Russia is not only a threat to its external neighbors but also to the Russian people themselves. Why does Mr. Obama remain silent in the face of this outrage? Why doesn’t he give reassurances to human rights activists in Russia that the United States will stand behind them in their brave struggle to turn back the clock on the Sovietization of Russia? Doesn’t Obama understand that Putin is now planning to return to power as a formalized “president for life” and that once he does so Obama’s options on defending civil society will be radically curtained?
We urge President-Elect Obama to seize the day, and realize the historic opportunity he has to beat back the forces of evil in Russia and write an entirely new history for both the people of that benighted country and the outside world as well.