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by Don Fredrick, blogging at The Obama Timeline

(May 22, 2012) — In 1980, Havana-born, flabby-thighed Rosie Ruiz won the Boston Marathon. Well, she was considered the winner for a while—until her title was stripped after it was learned that although she started and finished the race, the subway or a taxi seemed to have been her main mode of propulsion during her 2 hour, 31 minute, 56 second participation in the event.

Ruiz “trained” for the Boston Marathon by first entering the 1979 New York Marathon, where she took the subway to a first aid station at the end of the route. There, she was “treated” and marked down as having completed the race. Her 24th-place finish in New York qualified her for the Boston event.

In 2004 Barack Hussein Obama was one of 15 candidates in the Illinois Democrat primary’s U.S. Senate race. With only four weeks left in the campaign, Blair Hull held a strong lead. A wealthy executive who was running a barrage of campaign ads, Hull looked like the man whose name would appear next to the “D” on the November ballot. But Hull had unknowingly made a monumental mistake: he had not hired political strategist David Axelrod to head his campaign staff. Axelrod, a former political writer for the Chicago Tribune, had worked for the campaigns of U.S. Senator Paul Simon and the reelection of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. As top political strategist for Mayor Richard M. Daley, Axelrod spent a substantial amount of his time defending his boss from charges of corruption.

As Obama’s campaign manager, Axelrod used his connections to have Hull’s divorce records leaked to the Chicago Tribune. The documents revealed a request for a protection order from Hull’s wife. A wife-beating assumption (whether true or not) sank Hull, and Obama won the primary with 52 per cent of the vote—and the help of Chicago’s large black population. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Obama team had “worked aggressively behind the scenes” to push the Hull divorce story.

Obama’s Republican opponent was Jack Ryan, a handsome, articulate, and wealthy investment broker with three Ivy League degrees. The press (with the prodding of Axelrod) worked to get Ryan’s court-sealed divorce documents and child custody records unsealed in California, and their titillating contents caused an embarrassed Ryan to withdraw from the race in June. (Ryan’s ex-wife is actress Jeri Lynn Ryan, who played “Seven of Nine” on Star Trek: Voyager.) During the controversy Obama made predictable above-the-fray statements such as, “I don’t think it’s an appropriate topic for debate”—knowing that behind the scenes his team was working feverishly to smear the popular Ryan. The Republicans fielded last-minute replacement Alan Keyes, a former Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. Keyes, an unabashed conservative and fiery anti-abortion speaker, was ridiculed by the press and never taken seriously. Keyes did not help his case by saying things like “Jesus Christ himself would not vote for Barack Obama.” Obama, with or without God on his side but with the Chicago political machine and the media behind him, won easily.

During the 2004 debates with Obama, Keyes purportedly charged in an off-the-air remark that Obama was not a natural born citizen. Obama responded not by saying he was indeed a natural born citizen, but by saying it did not matter because he was not running for president. (Attempts have been made to find a video recording of the incident, which, according to urban legend, appeared on YouTube.com but was removed once its significance was understood.)

On July 27, 2004—even before he was elected U.S. Senator—Obama delivered the keynote address* at the Democrat National Convention. That was a clear signal that those in power in the Democrat Party had bigger plans for the mediocre, “present-voting,” Chicago machine politician. Although Obama’s speech was mundane, boilerplate, and unoriginal, he impressed the crowd with his delivery——and the television commentators did their best to persuade those who were unimpressed that the speech was impressive. (The speech reminded some of the remark by Austrian writer and journalist Karl Kraus, who wrote, “The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he.”) At that point Obama certainly knew he would be running for president in 2008 if John Kerry lost in November. Axelrod was already planning the strategy and compiling video clips to use in the campaign.

Aside from Obama and Axelrod, most observers in early 2008 assumed Hillary Clinton would be the Democrat nominee for president, and that Obama was pushing the political envelope far too early in his career. Although Clinton did well in most of the primaries, fraud was rampant in the caucuses—particularly in Texas and Iowa. (Cheating in caucuses is far easier than in the primaries—which is precisely why the Obama campaign focused on them.) In We Will Not be Silenced, filmmaker Gigi Gaston (a lifelong Democrat) documents the Obama campaign’s caucus abuses, including threats, intimidation, lies, and stolen and falsified documents. There were at least 2,000 complaints of irregularities in Texas alone—virtually all of which were ignored by the mainstream media. Obama and Axelrod concentrated on the early caucuses, where they could manipulate the results and win early victories to gain momentum and media support. Shipping busloads of Obama supporters from Chicago to the Iowa caucuses was an initial step—to some observers it appeared that there were more Illinois voters in the Iowa caucuses than Iowans—and similar fraud in other caucuses helped Obama gain additional and important early delegates. Clinton was outmaneuvered—and incensed that the media was ignoring the many improper and illegal acts committed by the Obama team. She expected a tough fight, but not the massive fraud and manipulation orchestrated by Obama, Axelrod, and their lackeys. (Clinton would have known better had she studied Obama’s past victories. The only fair political fight he was ever in he lost—to Bobby Rush in a congressional primary in 2000.)

Obama knew that the real fight in 2008 was in the primaries, not the general election. He understood that whoever the Democrats nominated had a good chance of defeating the Republican candidate, who would be at a disadvantage because of “Bush burnout” and a weak economy. Obama knew that defeating Clinton was more of a challenge than defeating John McCain. He knew he would have the media almost fully behind him in the November contest, but he first had to make sure he got in that race so he could cross its finish line.

The 2004 U.S. Senate race was Obama’s New York Marathon. But Obama did not have to hop on a subway to win. He simply had David Axelrod wield a tire iron against the legs of Blair Hull and Jack Ryan. The 2008 presidential race was Obama’s Boston Marathon. At the start of the race Axelrod helped by taking out the main competition, Hillary Clinton. After that, everyone knew that John McCain was a slow runner. Sarah Palin sprinted in unexpectedly and helped push McCain along in the final miles of the race, but they were no match for Obama—who was practically being carried by the press. Members of the media—assuming that Kenyan runners always have the edge over others in the race—saw no reason to doubt the outcome. They were merely cheering on what they thought was inevitable, and they were not about to pay any attention to those who were certain they saw Obama hop off the subway.

Rosie Ruiz never entered another race. Two years after the Boston Marathon the disgraced “runner” was arrested for larceny and forgery, after embezzling $60,000 from a real estate firm for which she worked. Some time later Ruiz was arrested in Florida for trying to sell 4.4 ounces of cocaine to an undercover agent.

But Obama has entered his third marathon, the 2012 national event. Once again, the media will not be watching for surreptitious subway travel. (In fact, it will again be greasing the wheels of the subway cars.) But millions of us in the crowd lining the race route can link arms and make sure no one sneaks past us, and we can cheer on the competitor who is following the rules.

* In the speech Obama said, “I say to you, tonight, we have more work to do… more work to do, for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that’s moving to Mexico, and now they’re having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour.” Obama does not mention that he had collected campaign donations from Maytag workers and pledged to them that he would keep their jobs in Galesburg, Illinois. He also received campaign donations from the wealthy Crown family, which owned Maytag and shifted its manufacturing to Reynosa, Mexico. The Crown family also sits on the board of energy company Exelon. Exelon was formerly Commonwealth Edison, whose CEO was Thomas Ayers,  the father of William Ayers—domestic terrorist, Obama pal, and probable co-author of Dreams From My Father.


Don Fredrick is the author of Colony 14, What You Don’t Know About Economics Can Hurt You, and The Obama Timeline.

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