Just seven weeks into his presidency, Barack “Corleone” Obama has gone to the mattresses. His administration has lunged ruthlessly for the jugulars of its critics. His cabinet has more tax cheats than McKellys in a Dublin phone book. Crackdown on lobbyists? Fahgettaboudit. Earmark reform? We don’t need no stinking earmark reform. “Today,” the new don pontificates, “I settle all family business” — e.g., nationalizing the energy industry, socializing the health care system, and federalizing American education.
Obama has parasitically used a correctable housing bubble burst and banking crises to power-grab and commit the country to more spending than at any other time in our history. That upcoming Roland Emmerich movie entitled 2012 is supposed to be about the impending end of the world. But Hollywood doomsday may not be necessary; if this keeps up until 2012, Tic Tacs will cost about $60.
In short, Obama is scaring the hell out of everyone. Every time he opens his mouth, the stock market nosedives. But he isn’t worrying about those “day-to-day gyrations” because the “stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics; it bobs up and down.” The country’s net worth is plummeting by the hour — largely due to the seeds of anxiety Obama sowed into the market when trying to pass his porkulus spending splurge — and he speaks about the relative insignificance of the market’s “day-to-day gyrations” as if millions of Americans losing their portfolios and life’s savings was a matter of Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.”
Rome is burning, but how does the godfather respond? By averting attention, of course. By bringing together his wartime consiglieres to go after the Tattaglias, Barzinis, and Moe Greens of his political universe. There’s Jimmy “Ragin’ Cajun” Carville, Paulie “Bag-a-Doughnuts” Begala, and “Rahm-bo” Emanuel — who knows all about making people sleep with the fishes — and Biden can be Fredo, I suppose.
And they’re mad. Oh boy, are they mad. You see, a handful of journalists, television commentators, radio personalities, and private citizens have the gumption to question President Corleone’s economic policies. And that’s a no-no. Never go against the family.
Rush Limbaugh is a mere broadcaster. For weeks we’ve been told it would be quite anti-egalitarian, the mother of all infra dignitatem acts, if we were to listen or give credence to such a bigoted, homophobic, racist, and cruel miscreant. Yet do Limbaugh’s most eccentric or controversial statements surpass anything uttered by senator-wannabe Al Franken?
What’s worse: Limbaugh mocking obnoxiously hardcore feminists on his radio program — we all know the type he’s talking about even if you don’t have the onions to admit it — or Sen. Dick Durbin comparing U.S. troops to Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot? Why are the masochistic rantings of old man Chomsky or the phony Ward Churchill considered intellectual brilliance — but Limbaugh’s politically incorrect tell-it-like-it-is take on society the most egregious things said this side of Mein Kampf?
The man has his opinions. He’s allowed to have them. And while his opinions have made him who he is — the country’s most successful radio personality — they are still just opinions, not sticks and stones. Limbaugh never threatened Obama’s safety and security, and therefore should be of no concern to the Obama White House or the Secret Service.
Limbaugh has, however, made it clear he wants Obama’s statism to fail — an entirely understandable position for a conservative to hold and, at last check, a totally legal opinion to have — and in response, President Obama first used Limbaugh as his own personal punchline and then sent out his henchmen, guns blazin’. Leave the capitalism; take the cannolis.
It is beneath the office of the presidency to go after a citizen on such a personal level, using political surrogates to mock a man’s weight and previous drug addiction all to align him with, and thus undermine, your political opponents. Is this what Obama meant when he invoked biblical scripture during his inaugural speech and proclaimed “the time has come to set aside childish things”?
But despite the transcendent talk about brotherhood and post-partisanship, this has been a constant theme from the Obama posse. Remember when Obama sent his mafiosos to kick reporters off his campaign plane all because their papers endorsed John McCain? Remember the serial mentioning and quasi-obsession with Sean Hannity, which continues to this day?
The Obama-journalist relationship has been a one-sided love affair: the more they appease him, the more he disdains them. And yet, still, many journalists are all too willing to bow their heads, kiss the don’s ring, and play the role of hit man, stuttering and stammering in the presence of their boss like an overly eager Luca Brasi rehearsing what he’s going to say. Take David Saltonstall from the New York Daily News, who actually forwarded a piece to his editor with a title encompassing the phrase “Rush Limbaugh is rich, nasty,” followed by this excerpt:
Rush Hudson Limbaugh 3rd, 58, is a thrice-divorced, formerly drug-addicted college dropout who casts himself as a working-class hero, yet drives his $450,000 Mercedes-Benz Maybach 57S home to a 24,000-square-foot Florida mansion every night (one of five houses on the property).
I’ve never heard of this Saltonstall fellow, but he should step back and contemplate for a moment: this is what his petty career has come to. He writes columns about someone he disagrees with politically, and attacks the man’s failed marriages, his former struggle with pain killers (“drug-addicted”), his level of education (“college dropout”), and then, the coup de grâce, attacks his success in the face of it all!
In Saltonstall’s Obamamania galaxy, an inner-city, drug-selling, high school dropout, with three illegitimate children, who makes his bones on the taxpayer’s dime with government programs designed for him solely on the basis of demographic happenstance, is Richie Adler’s “Rags to Riches.” But a truly self-made man like Limbaugh? Well, he’s fat, ugly, rich, and I heard he doesn’t floss, too. Why the disparity? Because Limbaugh believes in creating private accounts for Social Security, of course. And because he challenged the godfather.
But Limbaugh’s not alone. The Obama administration has gone after CNBC’s Rick Santelli for challenging Obama’s economic proposals. They have attacked the apolitical stock analyst Jim Cramer for disagreeing with their spend-spend-and-spend theories. And remember the dual Obama camp-media onslaught of Sam Wurzelbacher, a private citizen who, upon seeing the Democratic presidential nominee campaigning in his neighborhood, had the “audacity” (pun intended) to ask Obama an economics question — a question simultaneously simple and yet sadly the toughest of Obama’s campaign?
Did the purportedly fascistic Texan ogre George Bush behave like this? Did his administration go after Bill Maher, for instance? Or Maureen Dowd or Keith Olbermann? What about that guy who called Bush a tyrannical murderer at a town hall meeting? As the crowd booed, Bush implored his supporters to let the man speak and then answered the man’s grievances. Was this private citizen’s life uprooted by administration officials and media investigative research? Does he owe any taxes? Does he tip well at restaurants? Does he have an ex-wife and does she hate him?
You can see how absurd this kind of behavior would be if one were to replace the word “Obama” with “Bush.” But this is Obama’s coordinated strategy, to go after straw men with whom he disagrees to divert popular anger and angst away from him. It’s entirely Nixonian — or, depending on the continent, Mugabian. Michael Goodwin, also of the Daily News, addressed this phenomenon in a recent column:
Obama has expressed little interest in prosecuting those who cooked the books to make billions and undermined the financial system. Nor is he interested in rebuking Congress, including leading members of his own party, who fostered destructive lending and borrowing policies. He seems comfortable with his aides, including those who saw nothing amiss in their former roles as Wall Street players and regulators.
Instead, Obama’s class-war language, most of it written into prepared speeches, looks like selective anger, calculated to stoke public emotion to build support for his expansive agenda. That agenda, which revolves around a dramatic increase in Washington power, relies on tax hikes on the same successful businesses and individuals he denounces.
First he demonizes them, then he taxes them. And always, he makes liberal use of bogeymen … but never mind. Being president means you don’t have to let facts get in the way of a plan to divide and conquer.
It hasn’t even been two months and we now know, with absolute empirical certitude, that Barack Obama’s pledge to bring civility and post-partisanship to Washington was a bunch of baloney. This is the Chicago machine all over again.
From the get-go, Obama has had some trouble with moral clarity. Hamas and Hezbollah have “legitimate claims,” but his domestic critics and fellow countrymen do not? He thinks he can make nice with the “moderate Taliban,” but won’t engage some of his political opponents in a mature dialogue? Obama seems more worried about the Limbaughs, Hannitys, and Joe the Plumbers of the world than the Khameneis, Assads, Jong Ils, Ahmadinejads, and Rafsanjanis — more concentrated on his domestic opponents than on our country’s foreign adversaries. All hail the commander-in-chief.
To go after private citizens, journalists, and people on radio and television with such vitriol is unprecedented in contemporary American politics. This is not how a man who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is supposed to conduct himself. Michael Corleone once assuaged his brother’s fears by saying, “It isn’t personal. It’s strictly business.”
President Corleone seems to think it’s just the opposite.