Bill Steigerwald

National Review political reporter David Freddoso hasn’t thrown the first unfriendly book through the stained-glass windows of the Barack Obama crusade. And “The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate” (Regnery) is still mostly being ignored by the mainstream news media -- despite hitting No. 5 on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list. But Freddoso’s look into Sen. Obama’s political and ideological past has been billed as the first serious, factual and well-reasoned negative biography of the Illinois senator whose ascension to the White House no longer looks as predestined as it once did. I talked to Freddoso on Wednesday by phone from Denver, where the 31-year-old self-described conservative-libertarian was covering the Democratic National Convention for his magazine.

Q: Can you give us a quick synopsis of your book?

A: The idea that Sen. Obama is a reformer, an agent of positive change, is really a great lie that his entire record falsifies. He’s also someone who is not nearly as ideologically reasonable and flexible as he makes himself appear. And in his relationships, he’s shown very, very poor judgment repeatedly.

Q: How is Obama a fake?

A: Sen. Obama’s claims to stand for change are very well known. What’s less known is his record and the way that in Chicago he’s worked against bipartisan reform pretty much anytime he’s had an opportunity to do something either for or against it. In Chicago, there is a political tension between reform Democrats and machine Democrats. Sen. Obama has always aligned with the machine Democrats. All of his endorsements go to machine Democrats. When liberals and conservatives come together to defeat machine candidates -- as they did in 2006 with the Cook County board president election, which is one of the first examples I discuss in my book, because it’s so dramatic -- Sen. Obama works against them. The pattern throughout his life is very unmistakable: Sen. Obama’s pattern of working against bipartisan reform and accommodating himself to whatever political culture of corruption he finds himself in in any given environment -- it’s a very consistent and unmistakable record. It carries through Chicago, Springfield and Washington, as well.

Q: In terms of his ideology or political beliefs, Sen. Obama has been influenced or hung around with left-wing radicals like Bill Ayers and his wife and Frank Marshall Davis, an old Communist Party USA member he was introduced to as a mentor at age 10 in Hawaii. Is there clear evidence that Obama is a true-believing leftist today?

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald, born and raised in Pittsburgh, is a former L.A. Times copy editor and free-lancer who also worked as a docudrama researcher for CBS-TV in Hollywood before becoming a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a columnist Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bill Steigerwald recently retired from daily newspaper journalism..