The beloved and great President Abraham Lincoln is constantly used by ambitious present day politicians to fuel their own myth making machines.
The genuinely great President Lincoln is remembered as a backwoods man, who cut wood with an ax, walked a mile to get to school, and lived in a log cabin. The log cabin has become a mighty symbol of Lincoln. It demonstrates vividly the humble beginnings of the Great Emancipator.
Politicians attempting to nudge the public into thinking of them as having Lincolnesqe qualities always double check to make sure they appear as humble as our 16th President.
Barack Obama understands the value of association with Lincoln. For those associative purposes he announced he was running for president from Abraham Lincoln’s old town of Springfield. It appears though, that when it came to real estate Obama decided to forgo the log cabin.
Let’s understand, all our Democratic candidates for the nomination (and the Republican candidates too) have lovely homes. Senator Hillary Clinton and President Clinton bought a house many years ago with a perfectly legal loan and they were attacked without mercy from the usual right-wing Clinton haters. Senator John Edwards bought a massive “house” recently and that too has been criticized (by us as well) as being politically tone deaf. Senator Obama’s home purchase will undergo a similar examination by Republicans.
As we pointed out yesterday, the media are examining the circumstances of Obama’s house purchase. Republicans will examine and exploit the story too. It is imperative that presidential candidate Obama explain clearly and quickly all the circumstances surrounding his purchase of his house.
The actual Obama house story stripped to its essentials actually appears to be rather simple: (a) Barack Obama and/or his wife decided they wanted to buy a certain house — but unfortunately the house cost $2,305,000; (b) the Obamas either did not want to have the appearance of such luxury digs snuff out their Lincolnesqe facade or they actually did not have the money; (c) in either case, Barack Obama somehow saw the deal to a successful end when the sellers of the house divided the property into 2 separate lots; (d) one lot contained the house and; (e) the other lot contained the large yard; (f) the Obamas then purchased the lot with the house (at a discount of $300,000) for $1.65 million; (g) they were happy; (h) on the very same exact day a rich friend of Obama purchased the lot with the yard at full price ($625,000); (i) eventually Obama would buy from his friend a chunk of the yard.
While the story appears simple, upon examination it becomes at least sordid:
Barack Obama worked at a politically connected law firm. One of the clients was a close friend as well as an eventual fundraiser of millions of dollars for Obama and his political campaigns. This same friend for whom Obama did legal work, was also a slumlord. The slumlord obained many subsidies from the government for his housing business. This part of the story is still unclear since the Obama campaign and his former law firm are stonewalling the Chicago Sun-Times. We therefore do not know the full extent of Obama’s knowledge of the business dealings of his slumlord friend. The slumlord’s name is Rezko.
In June 2005, in order to be able to buy his house, Obama asked Rezko to buy the lot with the yard. Rezko apparently agreed and asked his wife to be the actual buyer. Rezko paid full price for his lot and Obama got a discount for his own lot on which the house stood.
In 2006, now U.S. Senator Obama became even closer, if possible, to Rezko. Years of shady activities, such as influence-peddling, were catching up with Rezko however. By late 2006 news reports indicated a possible indictment by the U.S. prosecutor.
Knowing of the investigation by the Feds and of Rezko’s possible indictment Obama persisted in asking to buy a portion of the yard which Rezko’s wife owned. Rezko’s wife agreed to sell Obama some of the yard. Soon thereafter Rezko was indicted.
Rezko will come to trial just as primary season gets underway in early 2008. The Office of U.S. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to do its usual through job. For Obama, media coverage of the trial will highlight aspects of his life story he does not wish to highlight.
A log cabin was the way to go.