Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Scandalmongery

Hugh Hewitt is busily shoving the idea that Barack Obama is guilty of skullduggery with Tony Rezko. He's got a link to the National Review Online:
Barack Obama would not be living in the Chicago mansion that he calls home if it had not been for Tony Rezko. The previous owner was only willing to sell the mansion property along with an adjacent vacant lot. Rezko's wife agreed to buy the vacant lot while the Obamas bought the mansion. This purchase occurred in 2005, after Obama became a U.S. Senator...Did Tony Rezko buy Obama's house? No. But he made it possible for Obama to buy his house. He did him a favor to the tune of $625,000. What, exactly, did Rezko expect in return from the U.S.
Senator?

This just stinks.
What did Rezko get? Well, for one thing, he got a personal tie to the junior Senator from his state. He did him a favor. He helped him get the home of his choice.
But the other thing he got, was title to a parcel of land worth $625,000.
And if the day came, as it has, when U.S. Senator Barack Obama told him to get stuffed and don't call anymore, Rezko still has title to a parcel of real estate worth over half a million, in a good neighborhood.
Tony Rezko did not help Senator Obama buy a house.
Rezko helped him buy that house.
Legal value of the difference: $0.
If Rezko had backed out of the deal, and the seller had refused to sell the house to Obama, forcing him to buy a home of equal value elsewhere, he might have been able to sue Rezko for actual expenses of finding a new house. Maybe.
Definitely not the value of that house, definitely not any pain or suffering, definitely not $625,000.
From the facts, it is just as plausible to argue that indicted realtor Tony Rezko did a million-dollar favor to the seller, enabling him to cash out his real estate more quickly.
Am I naive? I don't think so. I know many wealthy men find it shrewd to enrich themselves in partnership with politicians, and we ought to watch out for it. Obama himself says in hindsight, he wouldn't have done the deal. I can believe that; he's tied in with Rezko now.
But when that happens, helping a politician buy a residence by becoming a party to the deal, that isn't corruption. It might easily lead to corruption, but it's not corruption. Obama isn't doing this all over the state, or even in the city of Chicago. He wanted a home.
I think Hugh Hewitt knows it darn well, but he's on a mission to smear a political opponent. Again.
There were two reasons I didn't come down behind Romney. For one thing, I didn't believe he was so happy to be a Massachusetts Republican and suddenly saw the light of mainstream conservatism just in time to become President.
The other was, how sleazy his supporters were. It was Dean Barnett, on Hewitt's site, who assured us as a Boston Republican that Romney had known all along abortion was murder, but just went along with the pro-choice crowd in Massachusetts to advance the Party. This, to Barnett, was a testament to the steadfastness of Romney's core values, that they could remain intact after a decade of submerging them in pragmatic politics. To guys like me who were in the street in 1993 against the Freedom of Choice Act, it told another story...
Only a matter of months ago, Hewitt was shouting that McCain was too old for the job. "Great American. Lousy Senator. Terrible Republican." After Romney dropped out, Hewitt plunked for McCain without an apology. Refused to give one. "I don't apologize for playing hardball."
Well here's the hardball. Rezko. Indicted. Obama. Money. Land Corruption?--who can prove there ain't? Gerahty in NRO again:
Nothing that we know of so far. We didn't know until a month ago that Rezko toured the property with Obama before the purchase. If there was anything scandalous going on, it seems safe to assume that these guys would try to keep it secret.

Hardball...and it's low and inside. I've already walked.

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