So just who was ‘smearing’ whom?

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What if Barack Obama gave a “party,” and nobody came?

No, I am not talking about the noticeably small crowds when President Obama officially kicked off his re-election bid a few weeks ago, though that was certainly interesting.

I am actually talking about the fact that President Obama was a member of the socialist “New Party” in 1996, lied about it in 2008, and got caught in the lie about it just last week. It seems like news. But for some reason the mainstream media, then and now, doesn’t care. They didn’t show up at the “party” in 2008, and they are apparently staying away now. No one seems to want to write a story for the Associated Press or New York Times — or even the Chicago Tribune — about Obama’s affiliation with the New Party in Chicago, or his attempts to cover it up.

It’s almost as though, in some people’s minds, Barack Obama can do no wrong.

But this story is big news on two levels. First, there is the matter of the candidate’s integrity. If he lied about anything on his resume, he has earned the right to be questioned about everything he says. Second, the New Party was a radical left-wing political organization founded by three progressive groups — the Democratic Socialists of America, the ACORN community organizers coalition; and the radical SEIU labor union — that were considerably outside the mainstream of American politics. If Barack Obama had been a member of the New Party in 1996, then he should at least have faced questions about it in 2008 when he was running for president.

But in 2008, Obama’s campaign said it was a non-story, and the mainstream media rolled over and played dead. Which means that now there are questions not just about the integrity of Obama and his spokespeople, but about the newspeople who ignored the story for four years.

Here’s what we know:

Author Stanley Kurtz wrote for National Review in 2008 that, “During his first campaign for the Illinois state Senate in 1995-96, Barack Obama was a member of, and was endorsed by, the far-left New Party.” If the evidence was skimpy, it was also highly suggestive, but nobody from the mainstream news media showed the slightest inclination to investigate — or even to report — this allegation.

Obama’s “Fight The Smears” website battled back with name-calling and lies. They called Kurtz a “right-wing hatchet man” and “conspiracy theorist.” They said his claim that Obama had been a member of “something called the New Party” was a “crackpot smear.” They said that even though the New Party did endorse Obama in 1996, he had “never solicited the endorsement” and that he had been “a member of only one political party, the Democratic Party.”

Well, Kurtz may have been a “conspiracy theorist,” but his conspiracy theory turned out to be true. Barack Obama and his campaign did blatantly lie about the candidate’s affiliation with the New Party, and Kurtz has now come back with the indisputable truth to “fight the smears” against him that were put out by Obama’s campaign machine.

It took four years, but Kurtz found a treasure trove of evidence in an archive of Illinois ACORN records that are on file at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The smoking gun is that Kurtz found minutes of the Jan. 11, 1996, meeting of the New Party in Chicago that included the following:

“Barack Obama, candidate for State Senate in the 13th Legislative District, gave a statement to the membership and answered questions. He signed the New Party ‘Candidate Contract’ and requested an endorsement from the New Party. He also joined the New Party.”

This was confirmed by a membership roster of the Chicago chapter from 1997 that listed Barack Obama as a member who had joined on Jan. 11, 1996.

Of course, you may not care whether Obama was a member of a socialist or progressive party in 1996. If you are yourself a progressive, then why should you? But everyone — every citizen — should care about the integrity of the president and his ability to tell the truth not just about himself but about his beliefs. Remember, it wasn’t the underlying crime of the Watergate break-in that cost Richard Nixon the presidency; it was his inability to tell the truth about it.

Similar questions about presidential integrity should be in play now, and would be, were the White House press corps anything more than a neutered poodle.

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