A Nasty Piece of Work

cross-posted from The Progressive Pulse

Jon Ham is a nasty piece of work, alright. He is a right wing blogger at the John Locke Foundation who I have discussed previously here. Ever wonder who Ronald Reagan had in mind when he would embed in his speeches racist code like "Cadillac driving welfare queen" or "a strapping young buck buying T-bone steaks with food stamps?" John Ham, that's who…and unfortunately he has access to a keyboard. His latest smear involves Michelle Obama. Ham got all lathered up over a promotional video of Cindy McCain before her speech at the Republican convention. Here is his post:

The film bio just shown shows she’s much more than that. Her humanitarian work has been ignored by the mainstream media, and probably came as a big surprise to many TV viewers. And she’s doing a very good job with her speech. Much better than Lindsay Graham and Tom Ridge, who preceded her.

It makes you wonder what Michelle Obama was doing when Cindy McCain was bringing food and medical care to poor people in Africa. Applying for grants, I suspect.

Why bring Michelle Obama into this at all? What nasty sterotypes do you think the nasty man meant to imply with his last statement about Michelle Obama "applying for grants?"** That she somehow got a "free ride" from the government because she attended Princeton (graduated cum laude) and then Harvard Law School on student loans? Is Ham dog-whistling to any Birchers who lurk on his website that Michelle Obama is somehow an affirmative action "quota-hire" because she is African American?

So clearly, in my opinion, Ham wants to smear Michelle Obama. Ham is also eager to compare Cindy McCain to Michelle Obama. By all means, Mr. Ham…we'll go down that road if you insist. But I'll use facts, if you don't mind. I'll leave the smears and innuendo to you and President Reagan. Here we go:

When Cindy McCain set up her humanitarian charity in 1988 Michelle Obama, from a middle-class family on the South Side of Chicago, had already graduated from Princeton with honors and had completed Harvard Law School. She went to work at a Chicago law firm, where she met Barack Obama, and they married in 1992. Meanwhile, here is what Jon Ham's favorite film bio did not say about Cindy McCain. Cindy Hensley, a trust-fund heiress, started an adulterous relationship with John McCain in 1979. He divorced his injured wife in 1980, and he and Cindy married immediately thereafter. She became addicted to prescription pain-killers (10 - 15 Vicodin and/or Percocet daily) in 1989 (partly due to the stress of the Keating Five Scandal involving she and Sen. McCain) and would remain so until 1992. She stole narcotics from her charity and also obtained narcotic prescriptions illegally under employee's names from the volunteer doctors (one of whom had to surrender his license). She went public with the story in 1994 as a pre-emptive move since she was about to be outed by a disgruntled employee. She was enrolled in a federal diversion program. The charitable organization was discontinued the following year. The facts of Mrs. McCain's story, easily found with 5 minutes of "Well, basically a google", can be foundhere, here,here, and here.

Progressives should restrict the debate to issues and policy whenever possible. Having said that, I know Ham and the Republicans want to make this election about smears and personalities. I wouldn't want to talk issues either if my party had an 8 year history of disaster like this wrecking crew. I would prefer to leave the families out of it, but if Republicans are going to use Swift Boat tactics again…well, Democrats ought to be better prepared than we were in 2004. If need be, the Obama and Biden families will stack up pretty well against the McCain and Palin families.

**I commented on Ham's post asking him to explain the statement about "applying for grants." Even though he had six posts over the next 24 hours, he did not reply to my question. I have never met Ham. The opinions expressed are mine alone, and are based solely on his work.

Bonus quote from Ham: "I’ve caught a lot of flack over the years for alleging that for too many liberals and Democrats politics is about killing babies."

This man is an embarrassment. In fact, I'll call out John Hood on this one. Baby killers, Mr. Hood? Does employing a writer like this say anything about the character of your organization? Since your employee won't, do you care to defend his statements about Michelle Obama?