White House Counsel Pick: Disgraceful At Best

November 24th, 2008 Billy Hallowell

Barack Obama has broken barriers with his history-making electoral victory and for that he deserves a congratulatory note.  But now that the seemingly endless campaign has wrapped, the adoration he was afforded by American media outlets hasn’t subsided.

Unfortunately, mainstream media outlets are too busy basking in the glories of Obama’s sweeping success to maintain even a base level of scrutiny. Of course, this inability to be objective did not suddenly emerge following Obama’s victory; the media have been enamored by Obama since early 2007, as they have created and sustained what appears to be a lasting love affair.

While I can easily delve into a long-winded diatribe about the media’s insane infatuation with Obama, I’m not sure that it would be necessary to do so.  After all, most polls show that the American people are more than aware of the media’s leftist inclinations.

From August until November, the mainstream media lambasted Gov. Sarah Palin.  From the failure to quickly correct the erroneous (not to mention hateful) stories about Trig Palin’s birth mother to the continued sexism that was prevalent in the majority of news stories, the media gleefully chiseled away at Palin’s image.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama escaped without a scratch, as media outlets actually went out of their way to baselessly portray him as a reformer who is sure to bring “hope” and “change” to Washington.

Following suit with their pre-election adoration, the media have literally ignored the ironic picks Obama has made for his incoming admin posts.  The man who promised us “change” has thus far called upon Washington insiders (i.e. former Clintonians) to fill cabinet posts.  While this may be looked upon as a smart move in terms of nominating individuals who have a record of what some on the left call success, it exemplifies the “more of the same” attitude Obama has railed against so enthusiastically in his rhetoric.

Aside from the media’s failure to critique this blatant fact, there is one pick, in particular, that has barely been vetted by the media.  On November 17th, the Politico reported that Obama will select Gregory B. Craig for the White House counsel post.  For those readers who are not familiar with the role of the White House counsel, the Politico explains:

“The White House counsel, among the most powerful members of the West Wing inner circle, serves as the president’s lawyer, giving him legal advice and handling pardons and conflict-of-interest issues. “

While this might seem arbitrary to many Americans who are less than familiar with Craig, a cursory look at his past clientele is stunning.  According to the Williams and Connolly LLP web site (Craig is a partner at the firm),  “In 2000, Mr. Craig successfully represented Elian Gonzalez’s father, Mr. Juan Miguel Gonzalez, in administrative and court proceedings involving Mr. Gonzalez’s effort to regain custody of his son, Elian.“  Yes, this is the same Elian Gonzalez who was sent back to communist Cuba after his mother died trying to bring him to the United States.

Additionally, Craig represented Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, “…to defend his interests in the Volcker Commission probe of the Oil-for-Food scandal, which put billions of dollars into Saddam Hussein’s pockets while providing cash for Annan’s son, his deputies, and some allege Annan himself.”

Despite the fact that Craig served on Obama’s campaign, he also represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial (he deflected from Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the primaries).

And it gets worse.  There are two clients who make the others shrink to mere obscurity.  The first — Pedro Miguel González  – is a fugitive who is under federal indictment for his alleged 1992 murder of Zak Hernández, a U.S. Army sergeant.  While The Dallas Morning News called upon Barack Obama to ask Craig to choose between the Obama campaign and representation of González, HotAir reports that there is no easy-to-find documentation on whether Craig did, indeed, drop the case.

The last client is indefinitely the most concerning.  Craig represented John Hickley, Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan.  Thanks to Craig, Hinckley was granted an insanity defense.

I must agree with HotAir’s Ed Morrissey: This pick is disgraceful.  Can you imagine what would have happened if McCain (pending he won the election) chose someone with a similar past?  Mainstream media outlets would rampantly run headlines like “McCain Plans to Nominate Wannabe Presidential Assassin,” “Many Call McCain Pick a Disgrace” or “McCain Pick Raises Eyebrows.”  But, in this case, the presses are relatively silent.  Surprise!

While Gregory Craig has surely had a successful career and his talents in the legal realm should not be downplayed, the moral fabrics associated with the clientele he has willingly chosen fall short of the “hope” and “change” Obama has pledged to bring to Washington.  This pick is indefensible at best and the media ought to report on it more fervently.

Read more from journalist/blogger Billy Hallowell at www.williamhallowell.com.

Technorati Tags: billyhallowell,gregory craig,barack obama,president-elect

Rating: 2.6/5 (31 votes cast)

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  • cj
    All right... first of all, Hinckley WAS insane.  A man who thinks he has to shoot the President of the United States in order to get the love of an actress is delusional, and is therefore legally and psychologically incompetent.

    While I agree that I don't consider Obama's cabinet appointments to be much of a "change", I don't think that you can call Craig a disgrace just because he defended Hinckley.  Though my heart goes out to Elian Gonzalez, since his father had legal custody of his son and Elian was essentially an illegal alien, then the court had every right to return him to his father.  What you're arguing is essentially amnesty, and conservatives are supposed to be categorically against amnesty.
  • Titus Hunt
    David:  let's see-- helping people get more return for their money as a choice and giving them a few options that have proven over time to give a better return--wow what a wonderful idea!  that is called choices and not socialism.  since most people are selfish and think they don't have to save for their retirement and the government should do it, it is a novel way for people to live a little better later.  now i think social security should be abolished because people should be responsible for their own retirement.  responsible living and saving can be achieved.  however, for those who are stupid and want to live off others, the privatization idea is fabulous and would only help not hurt!  so obama told the senior citizens in front of him in FL that McCain wanted to mess with THEIR social security.  that was a lie!  he did not want to touch their money at all and only wanted to give the younger ones choices to get better returns.  of course, as we all know it is really not the retirees' money after about 5 to 10 years.  it then becomes someone else's money they are taking from.  but hey, who is actually counting and being fair, huh?  that is called welfare!  giving smart people more choices so they can make more educated decisions about their money is better than no choice at all.  however, the idiots would always have the choice to stay at the treasury rate.  so there is something there for all and individuals can make choices.  it would not be dictated to them!  in addition, those who bother to give a damn about their future would take the time to learn about it.  there are free services everywhere if they can't figure it our on their own.  so about 10 to 12 years before retirement, the investment choices would be turned back to the treasury rate to keep their money safe.  wow!  however, as we know, the smart, abled-bodied people save for their own retirement and don't depend on SS to support them because it was never intended for that!  people would actually be in control of their contributions?  that is not called socialism for sure!  that would also save taxpayers in the long run because the smart folks who made the right choices and made more returns on their investments would not need help like those who choose the treasury rate.  wow!  that is one solution to our burdened system!  what a novel approach!  i guess liberals really don't want solutions but want to continue down the same ole path that is going to fail after all.  so all of the change concepts are just fabricated!
  • davidwwalters
    Oh, i understand the concept of "privatization", and making our contributions dependent on the rise and fall of the stock market is a crap shoot.  Also, the idea of artificially pumping all that former Social Security money into the market seems like quite an unearned windfall to brokers & companies benefiting from all this money.  -They don't deserve it.....it was not earned, it would be mandated by the government.
    Again, the BS belongs on the McCain side.....Socialist?
    -What a liar!
  • Titus Hunt
    David-- i don't think you understand the premise of privatization.  John McCain wanted to give younger folks opportunities to earn more than the treasury rate that SS is earning now with relatively safe investments that typically do well over time.   it is only a choice and they could opt to stay with the current program.  now the older folks would stay as is with no changes and would not have those same choices.  so obama was using scare tactics to these seniors who may not have known better.  so he was lying and there is no other word for it just to get votes!  i actually heard the rhetoric and BS during his campaigning his FL.  it was disgusting!  the republicans didn't bring up the race card in this election, obama did that!
  • davidwwalters
    Titus complains  (20):
    <<.............and told a group of people that included senior citizens that McCain was going to mess with their social security.           now that was a lie ....>>
    -iT WAS? Privatization is considered "mess'in" with Social Security......isn't it?   He supported "W's" failed attempt in this matter.  Just think what the outcome would be if we had gone down that road and tied all this oney to the stock market.
    No Titus, a dirty campaign is when a candidate covertly stimulates racist feelings in some of the electorate as republicans have done with so much success since 1968.  -It failed this election year thank god!
  • Titus Hunt
    Billy Hallowell-- i agree with you!  i would also like to add that the mccain didn't push back hard enough and it was the democrats who ran the dirtiest campaign.  one example was when obama was in FL campaigning and told a group of people that included senior citizens that mccain was going to mess with their social security.  now that was a lie and he used scare tactics just to get votes.  it was a dirty rotten thing to do to folks who may not know any better.  it was sad that the seniors had to hear such garbage.  so the democrats can play innocent all they want but it is not true.  they ran a very dirty campaign.  i guess if i were dishonest like obama, i would call what he is doing leadership and vision.  he is an idiot and has the honesty of a criminal!  neither side played it straight all of the time but a lot of seniors i know really believed obama's garbage until i explained the whole program mccain backed and how obama was lying.
  • newrepublican
    Thanks urbanconservative. I appreciate it.
  • Guest
    i would.
  • newrepublican
    Would anyone here like to subscribe to our blog?

  • Dora
    Billy- it's really sad to you continue to harp on nonsense.   The change comes from the leadership- not in the worker-bees.  Certainly you understand this.  These insipid remarks about your supposed disillusion over hope and change are predictable and comical.  Take a breath already.    Chill.
  • simonesdad2008
    Do you compare any of the the things you listed about Barack to Helms v. Gant (thanks DW), Willie Horton, Swift Boats, SC 2000 Bush v. McCain, palling around with terrorists, Harold Ford in TN 2006?  Shall I go on?  Politics ain't beanbag as the saying goes and you have to play hardball but there is a line.  If you think Barack crossed it, that's your opinion and I disagree.  It's funny too because one of the criticisms from democrats during the campaign was that Barack was not hitting back hard enough.  Say what you want, follow Barack's lead politically or get stomped.  The choice is yours.
  • davidwwalters
    Billy  13.....
    Since the days of Water Gate the republicans have played a nasty brand of politics which they were quite successful with.   The "Atwater/Rove blueprint" that simonesdad2008 spoke of was a continuation of Dick Nixon's "Southern Strategy"....
    -of which Racism played more than a minor part.  I remember the Helms-Gant Senate race back in the early 90's, and it was with some glee that i saw my state, in spite of a flurry of "Rev. Wright" ads the weekend prior to the election, went for Obama anyway.
    So spare us your mock horror at the state of politics.....
  • Billy Hallowell
    Wait, did you type that with a straight face?  Gutter politics?  You are talking about a man who strategically had his opponents removed from the ballot so he could run uncontested in Illinois. And yes, after lying to the American people and to McCain, Obama did raise the money (and just in case you missed the last 200 years of political corruption, lying falls in line with "politics as usual").  He was able to afford a 50 state strategy because he opted out after promising to opt in to the public financing system.
  • simonesdad2008
    Maybe you missed the election but Barack Obama ushered in a new type of politics.  He soundly beat down the Atwater/Rove blueprint.  Even before he became his party's candidate, he out worked and out manuevered the Clinton machine.  He raised more money than anyone in history, he harnessed the power of the internet and refrained from the gutter politics that have characterized the last few election cycles.  He also reshaped the Electoral College map by using a 50 states strategy, the likes of which have never been seen before.  Any and everyone running for national office, no matter what the party, will study Barack's blueprint for success going forward or face the same fate John McCain did.  Running for president is politics.  Being the president is leadership and vision.
  • Billy Hallowell
    Thanks for the comment. Allow me to respond once again.  Craig is an excellent lawyer and that's great for him.  His history proves he's willing to represent pretty much anyone.  This is all fine and dandy, but Barack Obama promises a new type of politics (still waiting to figure out what that means).  Craig does not represent hope, change or any of the other weasel words Obama has promised to instill in the White House.  It's as though Obama went after the more morally bankrupt lawyer he could find.  It doesn't jive with his message of reform.  It's insane that Obama supporters would defend this pick.  It's okay to deviate from The One occassionally, you know.
  • simonesdad2008
    OK Billy.  Let's play out your reasoning.  Let's say Hinkley was shot during his assassination attempt and was rushed to the ER.  The young doctor on call had to perform surgery on Hinkley to save his life.  Years later he was up for Surgeon General because he had risen to the top levels of his profession.  Your reasoning would automatically disqualify this doctor, correct?  If you practice law in any meaningful way, you will have clients that are unsavory or you will defend positions that are unpopular.  I submit it's just that depth and diversity of experience that makes a good pick.  People despised OJ's lawyers for getting him off but if it were your life on the line and you could have any of them for free, you'd be a fool not to take them.  It's easy to bash lawyers which is why I suspect you choose to target Greg Craig.  Nice work.
  • Billy Hallowell
    LOL!  Of course I do not have a problem with representation.  That would be insane.  But, I do have a problem with representing thugs and presidential assassins.  Sorry if I've set the bar too high.  Nobody said Craig shouldn't practice; I said he was a bad pick for a post that requires the infusion of "hope" and "change."  But, Obama is status quo anyway, so it works.
  • Dora
    Guilty or not- in America we do not deny representation.  You have a problem with this.  I am not surprised.
  • Jason
    Obama is giving "hope and change" a bad reputation.
  • Billy Hallowell
    Actually, I would be okay with anyone who hasn't represented a man who shot a former president.  That's a deal breaker.  But, thanks for playing.
  • davidwwalters
    Good point Rich...
    <<.........................it's so hard to find a "great" lawyer with morals.>>
  • simonesdad2008
    Lot's of criticism.  That's to be expected.  What I did not hear from you are candidates that would be suitable for you.  No solutions, just pettiness.  What you are reduced to are pot shots from the sidelines.  No one would be good enough and everyone would have something you would have a problem with.  Thank you for a glimpse of your life out in the political wilderness.
  • Rich
    Wow.  A lawyer who's a jerk.  It's tough to get too riled about this one.

    All your points are good ones.  I wouuld like to have seen him choose someone with more of a conscience, in keeping with his "hope" and "change" theme.  But any mediocre lawyer can successfully defend innocent people.  To be a "great" lawyer, you have to be able to defend the really tough clients, too.

    This is why people hate lawyers.  And why it's so hard to find a "great" lawyer with morals.
  • Empty libs comments please, le
    Want to make conservatives cybertalk? block libcomments, They already have intranets instead internet sites, you know, the "bia$ institutionalization", their "image" can not tolerate "negative people things"...

    I can add 2+2, but you should complain on me with a better idea, computer technic things instead adding 2+2, because strategicwriters studied at list highschool, and I have more than 40 TV-Radio-Print adds (storyboards, not me as a model, or a friend "hired me", most of them freelancing immediately got graduated on Advertising.
  • davidwwalters
    Billy, Billy.....There your go again....
    <<the adoration he was afforded by American media outlets hasn’t subsided.>>
    -Perhaps the media should have sat by an allowed a woman of small intellectual ability (-Not that ALL female repupublicans are so afflicted) an opportunity to perhaps govern this failed nation.  Failed?
    -Because of an intellectually deficient lame duck that goes by the name of "W".
    Gregory B. Craig is what.....a  White House Council?
    -That means his should be a defense lawyer, huh?
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