Now that Giuliani has opened the door by questioning Obama’s love of country, perhaps the topic of Obama’s past connections to Communism, Ayers, Wright, and Alinsky could be reopened, heard, and understood by more of the public for what they might actually signify.

In 2008 those reports were widely dismissed and/or minimized by the MSM, and candidates were reluctant to go there as well. Since then, the topic has mostly remained the province of bloggers and talk show hosts, reaching those already convinced, or mocked by liberals and the left as the rantings of a far-out fringe.

Most people who read about those influences back in 2008 dismissed them as either false or inconsequential, helped along by their relative unfamiliarity with Obama himself. It all sounded so far out: weird, wild, preposterous. McCarthy-esque, too, and you know how people look on the McCarthy era these days.

Obama—such a nice young man, so well-spoken, conservative-dressing, with a pleasant and heartfelt message of coming together with no red or blue America. That made those tales of strange ideological bedfellows sound like tinfoil territory. One had to really study Obama in depth to understand that behind this smoke there might be some real fire. Otherwise, there was no context in which the stories could fit, and without a context they were easy to dismiss.

People who wanted to believe in Obama (and some of this was the understandable desire to elect America’s first black president) had no motivation to look deeply into the past and find a thread connecting it all, and little reason to believe it really mattered.

But now if certain politicians (Giuliani, for example, who has the added advantage of not running for office) bring these topics up again, not only are people familiar with them from before and so they no longer sound so strange, but more importantly Obama has given us the context: his six years of governing.

Many people who originally supported him are doubting him or confused by him, and could be a lot more open to actually listening to facts about his past and understanding that they are probably meaningful and not just some random youthful associations.

Of course, Obama is not up for re-election, so what does it matter? The damage is done. Well, it matters for the next election, and maybe for elections after that. The lessons learned wouldn’t just be about Obama. They would be about not trusting the press, both in its statements and its omissions. They would be about the fact that Republicans shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand even when they say “mean” things. It’s about the surface appearance versus what’s happening deeper down.

It’s about how very deceptive members of the far left can be about things so basic as their identity as members of the far left.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]