Obama affair: A non-story

Lurid headlines that can't deliver

Where there is political smoke anymore there is almost never fire.  More often the smoke is nothing more than the fumes of lies, fantasy and distortion, their purpose merely to advance political agenda or, in the case of tabloids, to make more money and swat back competition.   

Such is the case with the Canadian tabloid Globe‘s recent “revelation” that President Obama is cheating on his wife, Michelle.   

“Obama Caught in Hotel With This Beauty!” the Globe smears over its front page with photos and the following teasers:   “Cheating Scandal Erupts!” and “Secret video could destroy presidency” and “Eyewiteness Tells All!”

The “facts” of the Globe story: Limo driver dropped off Obama and a campaign worker, Vera Baker, now 35, at the Hotel George in Washington, D.C., on the night of May 17, 2004.  That’s it.   The unnamed limo driver is the “eyewitness” and, if he exists, only describes the hotel drop-off.  

As you read the story, those lurid headlines turn out to be lies and distortions. Obama was not caught at anything, there is no videotape and there is not even a hint of a scandal.  The facts would not even pass TV-grade circumstantial evidence. 

The Globe concoction is merely a rehash of a story that emerged from the depths more than a year ago.  The alleged meeting with Baker took place during Obama’s successful campaign for the U.S. Senate.  Six years ago

This story is clearly a matter for the Cold Case squad.   If it held water, it would be glaciated by now.  If it held water, those mean-to-the-bone conservatives who still pursue this story with zeal would have uncovered something more substantial.  Surely.

The only skimpy fact offered is a $353.81 disbursement by the Obama campaign to the Hotel George on the night in question.  The Globe does not cite whose name was on the hotel’s bill.  It could have been anyone in the Obama camp.

There is a current news peg, though it hangs by a thread, again no way implicating Obama in anything. 

The thread was the hiring of Baker by “one of Obama’s major supporters and political cronies, the junior Illinois senator, Roland Burris.   Burris’s office of course is not far from the White House.  It will be recalled that Burris was the Senator named to replace Obama by the discredited Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich.  And it was Obama who opposed Burris’s selection after the state’s Democratic Party objected to the manner of the governor’s selection.

Anyway, the Globe reported Baker was named Burris’s Deputy Chief of Staff, according to the Senate Office of Public Records, and earned $76,355 before leaving the position in February of this year. 

The tabloid said Baker was “exiled” to the Caribbean island of Martinique by a jealous Michelle Obama who did not want the woman near her family.  Exiled? In America?   The Globe did not interview Baker but said  she “insists she went to the island of Martinique for love and got married.”

This story, as it appears in the Globe, is a stab in the dark, pure fantasy, a story fed to it by the right-wing who will do anything, anything, to tumble the Obama presidency.  Expect the Obama-Baker affair to be revisited many times before the 2012 election is in the books.   

This story has no more merit than did the Globe‘s fantasy earlier this year that love notes exist between former President George W. Bush and his then-Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. 

Perhaps over time such allegations will prove true.  Intelligent people do not act on whimsy and propaganda. 

But these stories play well to the biases of a dumbed-down America, to a citizenry which has lost any ability or desire to separate fact from fiction.  In the snap of fingers, presto-chango, fantasy becomes our reality.

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