Only three weeks ago I wrote about the presidential race's "third candidate." By that I meant the phenomenon of Barack Obama's hard-left affiliations just then bursting into public view and catching up with the front-runner as the candidates headed into the campaign's final stretch.
Turned out, of course, this was not a "candidate" the prObamedia was ever going to cover, not even as evidence of Obama's lifelong association and collaboration with radicals — self-identified communists, even — gained definition and detail, mainly on Internet journals and blogs. At the beginning of Obama's life, for example, there was "Frank," Obama's boyhood mentor who appears in his 1995 memoir "Dreams from My Father." Accuracy In Media's Cliff Kincaid has identified "Frank" as Frank Marshall Davis, a known Stalinist in a Soviet-sponsored communist network in Hawaii. But Obama obscures Frank's identity in his book, even, as Sean Hannity has reported, going so far as to drop passages about "Frank" from the more recent, recorded version of the book. Why? The media never asked.
Later in Obama's life there was Mike Klonsky, an unreconstructed Marxist and erstwhile leader of an honest-to-goodness Maoist splinter group in the United States. Klonsky, like his buddy, ex-Weatherman William Ayers, spreads Marxism through education "reform." As the National Review Online's Andrew C. McCarthy reported, Obama directed nearly 2 million foundation dollars to fund Klonsky's ideas in the 1990s. More recently, Klonsky wrote a "social justice education" blog on the official Obama campaign Web site — at least until a blog named Global Labor and Politics pointed this fact out. Klonsky's musings were summarily scrubbed from the campaign Web site in June. Why? The media never asked.
And so it goes. The assorted radicals — from ACORN to Ayers, from anti-white Jeremiah Wright to Saudi-adviser Khalid al-Mansour to former PLO associate Rashid Khalidi — who have peopled Obama's ideological passage from rising leftist to post-ideological cipher, have been lost in the blur to a media focused solely on their own prize: Obama in the White House.
Such focus has created a drastically blinkered journalism, particularly in these final weeks. Take the fact that the supposedly "post-racial" Obama once funded Afrocentric, race-focused education programs supported by Jeremiah "G — - D — - America" Wright. That was a juicy blend of hypocrisy and extremism (dug up by Stanley Kurtz), but the media just averted their eyes.
Or how about good, ol' William "America Makes Me Want to Puke" Ayers, whose own relationship with Klonsky (the Maoist mentioned above) goes back to the days of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society)? Obama worked closely with Ayers to fund radical programs (such as Klonsky's) in Chicago, endorsed Ayers' work, and launched his political career in Ayers' home. This is the ideological and literal bomb-thrower Obama brushed off as just "a guy in my neighborhood." But the media saw nothing to it — not even a piece of Obama's questionable pattern of collaboration with a series of people best described as unregenerate leftists.
But Colin Powell endorsed Obama, right? We heard all about that. Guess who else endorsed him? Anti-white, anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, the Ahmadinejad-lite speaker of Iran's parliament Ali Larijani, Hamas and the pro-Hamas National Association of Muslim American Women. Did we hear about that? No.
And what about this one? Obama — potentially the next leader of the Free World, after all — once belonged to a socialist party called the New Party (and there are giant scans of a 1996 New Party News story claiming Obama as a member, courtesy the blog New Zeal). Smoking gun for the media, no?
No. The media didn't consider this worth any ink, not even after Joe the Plumber prompted Obama to let slip, clearly and unequivocally, his antipathies to basic capitalism: "When you spread the wealth around," Obama famously said, "I think it's good for everybody."
Despite the code of silence (omerta) maintained by the prObamedia (prObamerta), these stories and others like them have still come out in dribs, drabs and funny feelings, infusing the body politic with enough uneasiness about Obama's ideological affinities for the left to keep John McCain surprisingly and perhaps even resiliently competitive. Despite the disgrace of our free-but-self-caged press, many voters have managed to learn for themselves that Obama has spent a lifetime associating with the kind of anti-Americans and subversives that, by rights, make him ineligible for a federal security clearance — something Daniel Pipes has noted. Many voters understand that when you "spread the wealth around" you are enacting a basic premise of Marxism, or communism, or socialism, or something once upon a time derided as plain old commie-pinko. But that was a long time ago, and the fact is, we just don't know how many Americans are still put off, if not outraged, by such things.
And maybe this becomes the most important question to be settled on Nov. 4: How many Americans still consider mixing with and supporting bomb-throwers and radicals to be un-presidential? How many Americans still consider a Marxist basis for economics to be, in fact, downright un-American?
That such questions need to be asked, that such answers are in doubt, indicates the extent to which we have already changed as a people, and that is not a hopeful thing. Perhaps the miscalculation many conservatives made throughout this campaign was in assuming that Obama's alliances and working relationships with leftists and leftist causes were things most Americans would vigorously and automatically reject.
Then again, maybe they still will.
Diana West is a columnist for The Washington Times. She is the author of "The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization," and has a blog at dianawest.net. She can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.