The Keating Gambit


By: Eddie Clements

In 1989-91 there was a widespread failure of savings and loans across the U.S. Most had overextended themselves with risky loans. Sound familiar? One of the most spectacular failures involved one Charles Keating, a go-getter type real estate developer who lobbied, or perhaps just asked, for favorable treatment from some politicians. No surprise there; that is what lobbyists of all kinds do. Things like speed up the permits, get regulators off my back, and so forth. He may have made some campaign contributions, again no surprise. Several members of the Senate and maybe the House of Representatives eventually became entangled in Keating’s doings, collectively known as The Keating Five. One was Senator John McCain.

I don’t know the full extent of Keating’s dealings with Congress, and don’t care now. Those kinds of details are only interesting when something really unusual is going on, or has a particularly big impact on things like my taxes. Well, investigations were inevitably conducted, and the special prosecutor or investigator or sheriff (who cares?) was Bob Bennett, an admitted Democrat but a sharp lawyer and not one to be fooled easily. He said that Senators McCain, Republican from Arizona, and John Glenn, Democrat from Ohio, were not implicated. In effect, they were completely exonerated.

Glenn had a distinguished career as a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps, subsequently was chosen as one of the first seven astronauts in the space program. He was the first American to orbit the earth in a spacecraft, and afterward entered politics. McCain as a U.S. Navy aviator was shot down and brutalized after capture by the North Vietnamese. You know that story by now. After his release, he spent more years as a Naval Officer until he also entered politics.

Surely both Senators felt a personal sting by the investigation after careers of distinguished and honorable service to their country. These are men to whom words like duty, honor, country, and service mean something deeply felt. They are two among many such men and women who deserve respect and deference, because they didn’t just talk the talk, they walked the walk. Man, did they.

They are persons of substance and accomplishment. They are aware of their position in the normal scheme of things. Yes, they may make faulty judgments here and there. Over a lifetime, people like this are given a lot of leeway unless they fall into some serious sin of omission or commission. Adults want to know them, and share experience with them. Kids look up to them as role models, and should, because they represent everything decent and honorable and necessary for continuity. Kids are nothing if not continuity. Continuity is what makes a people, or tribe, or nation, thrive and prosper on into the future.

Now, it appears the Democrat Party’s presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, is in a fit of pique. The Obama campaign has taken exception to questions about his association with one Bill Ayers, a former (present?) member of The Weathermen, an underground radical group whose heyday took place in The Petulant Sixties. In revenge, the Obama campaign wants to dredge up The Keating Five. The Senator thinks of himself as a man of substance and accomplishment, enough to be President of the whole United States of America, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. He has stated that this is the kind of America he believes in. Has his honor been stained?

Remember the great line of Sean Connery’s from the movie The Untouchables? They put one of yours in the hospital, ya put one of theirs in the morgue – that’s the Chicago Way! The Illinois Senator Obama takes this as a literal political life lesson, ignoring the fact that at the time, that was the only way an honest cop in a police department corrupted by bribery could combat rampant criminality.

Ayers and his fellow travelers took it upon themselves to speed up the pace of change by violence, the kind of thuggery Chicago politicians like Obama admire. We must conclude he only has admiration for the unrepentant home-grown terrorist because he refuses to say what opinions he holds that differ from Ayers, even launching his presidential bid from Ayers home. Or maybe it was his political career. What’s the diff? What’s he doing in Ayers home at all? Yes, Ayers lives comfortably with his terrorist wife in a regular suburb instead of in jail because…well, I don’t really know why. The University of Chicago, an institution of higher learning I once respected, sees fit to provide the terrorist with a paid position on the teaching faculty. Again, we can only conclude from this that the University likes criminally violent types on their faculty. Perhaps we can look forward to future hirings for their staff from the felon labor pool. Not that those who commit acts of violence don’t deserve a chance to earn an honest living, but I’m just not sure how honest it is to allow them to teach young people, and at least partly on the taxpayer’s dime at that. Perhaps this was a pilot program an Obama administration hopes to apply across the country. Put those cop-killers to work in the classroom where they belong!

What was the job interview like? “I see you left the ‘Former Employment’ section blank, Mr. Ayers. What did you do for thirty years?” “Well, ya see, me and the other malcontents just wanted to make our own political statements…you know…high-concept, high-impact. Bring some excitement to the table!” “Well, you’re just the kind we need to shake up this staid old faculty, Mr. Ayers…welcome aboard!”

But I digress. Many conservatives, including myself, make argument against some of McCain’s positions and actions on issues. However, these are honest disagreements between honorable people. The overall goal is some kind of positive achievement, maintaining national continuity with a resolve to build and make better, not destroy. We’re not going to bomb each other’s houses over disagreements.

The Weathermen, along with other children of the Sixties, were bent on destruction (we don’t need no stinking continuity!) Thinking themselves incomparable geniuses and advanced thinkers, they left a path of destruction in their wake, with no achievements of note. Until now. Ayers has been described as a nihilist, a belief in no government – ridiculous in a world with a population over six billion. It might have worked in a small homogeneous group 10,000 years ago, but not today. Nihilism cannot be an organizing principle because by definition, nothingness can’t be organized. In practice, Ayers is probably closer to Obama’s beliefs, which are inarguably Marxist. Obama’s own statements demonstrate he wants to re-distribute income (from each according to his means, to each according to his needs), and grow government (seize the means of production). Central control over the institutions of a nation is socialist, or Marxist, by definition. This “bailout” boondoggle is a major step in that direction. Marx actually said the state will eventually wither away, leaving everyone in peace and harmony, but that hasn’t happened on this planet lately. Obama doesn’t want the state to wither away, he wants to rule it.

What a contrast the Democrat Obama and his detestable henchman Ayers (one of several persons of questionable character with whom Obama associates, or has associated) is to a man like Senator McCain and Charles Keating. Next to Ayers, Keating, flim-flam artist though he may be, is a paragon of virtue. Mr. Keating believes in the American system, and worked within it to advance his personal goals, managing to do so without threatening anyone’s life. He didn’t bomb the developments that went bad. Senator Obama seems to be trying to draw some kind of moral equivalence between his association with Ayers and McCain’s with Keating.
This may work if the American people do not think it through. That is the real tragedy in all this. It is said that the first casualty in war is truth. Truth has suffered greatly in this political season. A disingenuous mainstream media – NBC, CBS, ABC, New York Times, Boston Globe, Time magazine, Newsweek, and a few more – have all worked to get Obama elected. Some less mainstream media have worked equally as hard, or more. The coverage is, or should be, an embarrassment to Americans. When the First Amendment of the Constitution was adopted it was intended to avoid this very thing. If they all say virtually the same thing, the very freedom intended is denied. That many sources cannot possibly all be saying the same things without a degree of collusion. However, it can only be effective if people reading the stories cannot analyze, and therein lies the truly poisonous influence of a radical like Ayers. Our schools have all too often been sources of propaganda, orienting students to a viewpoint opposed to American traditions. The radical agenda of an Ayers, and those of like mind, succeed by a cooperative public who don’t quite know what hit them. They surely do not understand, and the press will not inform them, that Ayers philosophy of destruction of American property, values, and institutions is diametrically opposed to everything Americans believe in.

So, Obama believes in violent change? No, just change achieving the same ends using non-violent means – voting for it. The same ends, destruction of everything? Yes, if patriotism now means paying more taxes and disagreeing to the point of surrender with national defense policies. Yes, if taking property for tax purposes by devices such as the Kelo Decision means destruction of property. Yes, if lenders are forced to make loans to unqualified buyers, and the lenders can’t even get their money back. Yes, if one political party is routinely and unjustly vilified by another, simply for holding a different viewpoint. Yes, if one religion is under constant attack by those who espouse little or no religion, because of that religion’s attendant restrictions on behavior.

The association between Senator Obama and Mr. Ayers is closer than he or the press lets on. His constant denials of their philosophical proximity ring hollow, making Obama neither honest nor honorable. The Senator’s emotional appeals and lawyerly answers have swayed both malleable voters and those with an agenda, such as the many political professional who surround him.
When the concepts of duty, honor, country, and service go, America goes with them. When continuity is disrupted, America will indeed have changed – but will that be a change we can believe in?

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