Un Éthiopien peut-il changer sa peau, Et un léopard ses taches? De même, pourriez-vous faire le bien, Vous qui êtes accoutumés à faire le mal? Jérémie 13: 23
Je rêve que mes quatre petits enfants vivront un jour dans un pays où on ne les jugera pas à la couleur de leur peau mais à la nature de leur caractère. Martin Luther King
Ma propre ville de Chicago a compté parmi les villes à la politique locale la plus corrompue de l’histoire américaine, du népotisme institutionnalisé aux élections douteuses. Barack Obama (Nairobi, Kenya, août 2006)
1990 Barack Obama, président de la Harvard Law Review Etudiant à Harvard, il devient le premier Afro-américain à présider la prestigieuse revue de droit de l’Université d’Harvard, la « Harvard Law Review ». Linternaute
How could you make a tenured offer to a man who had never written a scholarly article? Richard Epstein
Obama has totally ignored our Constitution. Obama has had all of his records “SEALED” – WHY ? Because one seals documents because they are hiding something. And Obama has “sealed” everything, including but not limited to his college records from Occidental, Columbia and Harvard [probably will show Obama received “foreign aid”]; access to his “real” birth records or lack thereof in Hawaii and Kenya, Africa; his Passport [probably from Indonesia]; access to his adoption records; access to his affidavit to reclaim U.S. Citizenship –[ it is believed he never followed through with the requirements to regain his U.S Citizenship and therefore is an illegal alien]; records legally changing his name from Barack (Barry) Soetoro to Barack Obama; and has failed to address the issues of his citizenship and his right to hold the Office of Presidency in the United States. Remember, Obama did not wear an American flag pin; and did not place his hand on his heart while our national anthem was playing. Obama went around the world apologizing for the United States; Obama knelled down to the Saudi King, the emperor of Japan and the head of China – no other U.S. President has every done that ! Obama stated he was going to have the most “open” and “transparent” administration. Where is it? What a joke ! Obama must think the American public will accept anything Obama says. Philip Berg
Barack Obama or Barry Dunham? The appearance of multiracial faces is affected by the names assigned to them. Does semantic information in the form of stereotypical names influence participants’ perceptions of the appearance of multiracial faces? Asian-Australian and European-Australian participants were asked to rate the appearance of Asian-Australian faces given typically Asian names, European-Australian faces given typically European names, multiracial faces given Asian names, and multiracial faces given European names. Participants rated the multiracial faces given European names as looking significantly ‘more European’ than the same multiracial faces given Asian names. This study demonstrates how socially derived expectations and stereotypes can influence face perception. Hilliar KF, Kemp RI (University of New South Wales, Sydney)
The 2008 Obama campaign perpetrated a fraud that he was a reformer. (… ) All of the complaints — from the lack of transparency to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s shaking down corporations to promote Obamacare — stem from the culture of the Daley Machine. For decades, Mayor Daley “encouraged” contributions to his favorite charities, with the implicit understanding that the “encourager” controlled the city’s inspectors and regulators. That sounds an awful lot like what Sebelius was doing to prop up Obamacare. Obama’s ideology may come from Saul Alinsky’s acolytes, but his political tactics come straight from the Daley playbook. Chris Robling (former journalist who has served as a Republican election commissioner)
Journalists used to know that presidents are in part a product of their past: where their careers were nurtured and where their politics were shaped. They understood this as a given when it came to Ronald Reagan and California; they basically grasped it about Bill Clinton’s Arkansas, and certainly nailed it on George W. Bush and Texas. But when it came to Barack Obama, all that went out the window. Speaking at the University of Southern California, at a post-2008 conference on the election, Mark Halperin, then of ABC News, said that the media’s treatment of Obama had been “the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war.” It was “extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage,” he concluded. That media failure continued throughout Obama’s first term. Perhaps now, as Obama’s “Chicago Way” is coming into focus, the media will want to redeem itself. With Obama, it’s become all too clear: You can take the politician away from the machine, but you can’t take the machine out of the politician. John Fund
Ce qui donné la présidence à Obama à la présidence, c’était le fait d’être un homme sans passé ou présent, tel le héros du film « Being There » — sans traces de ses notes à la fac, dossier médical, travaux savants ou de bilan de ses mandats législatifs, le Président le « plus intelligent » de l’histoire sans avoir à dire ou à faire quoi que ce soit d’intelligent, qui « s’est cassé le cul » toute sa vie sans aucune preuve qu’il jamais fait une telle chose, qui s’est proclamé plus grand de tous les présidents sauf trois, mais qui n’a rien laissé de grand dans son sillage, maintenant ou par le passé. Victor Davis Hanson
Une fois son élection acquise à la législature de l’Illinois, la carrière d’homme d’État de Barack Obama ne fut guère plus qu’une formalité— soit voter « présent » sur toute législation controversée (ce dont l’avait accusé Hillary en 2008) ou simplement faire acte de présence et apposer sa signature à un ordre du jour clairement à gauche. Même ses partisans ne peuvent citer aucune mesure législative durable autre que ses voix controversées pour autoriser l’élimination des bébés nés vivants d’avortements ratés. Inconnu en politique, il fut élu et définit son mandat de législateur en un perpétuel effort vers des postes toujours plus élevés. Idem pour le Sénat. Obama y fut surtout remarqué durant sa brève carrière pour le bilan le plus partisan de tous ses pairs, tout en revendiquant son sens de l’ouverture et se présentant comme un modèle de « bipartisme ». (…) Au Sénat, il n’y eut aucune législation à son nom, aucune opposition de principe, pas grand-chose, sauf un vote contre le juge de la Cour Suprême Alito et des efforts tout aussi vains d’obstruction parlementaire pour refuser à des candidats à des postes un vote en plus ou en moins. Il y passa la majeure partie de son bref séjour à attaquer Bush pour les mesures mêmes qu’il reprendrait plus tard en tant que président. La seule chose qui comptait, c’était de se faire élire en premier lieu comme sénateur de gauche, ce qu’Obama a réussi d’une manière brillante sinon machiavélique — grâce à la fuite orchestrée des papiers de divorce de ses adversaires à la fois aux primaires et aux élections générales.
La saga Obama est marquée par l’étrange capacité à s’élever dans le cursus honorum universitaire et gouvernemental, sans jamais être tenu trop responsable de ce qui a suivi. La sélection d’Obama au poste de rédacteur en chef de la revue de droit d’Harvard était une première. Mais à ce jour, personne ne se soucie beaucoup de la médiocrité du bilan d’uun mandat sans aucun travaux d’érudition à son actif. Idem d’ailleurs pour sa carrière en droit à l’Université de Chicago : une nomination impressionnante, mais aucun livre savant comme promis, ni même un article et aucune distinction particulière pour son enseignement. Pas grand chose. Pour le prix Nobel, l’essentiel, c’était de l’avoir – et non de faire quoi que ce soit pour son obtention. Aucune réalisation de politique étrangère n’ayant précédé le prix, il n’y avait aucune raison qu’il y en ait après. Pourquoi attendre quelque chose de différent maintenant ?
Obama a toujours eu une sensibilité particulière pour une pathologie inquiétante chez les riches élites libérales blanches qui cherchent souvent, de façon condescendante, à promouvoir des aspirants candidats minoritaires dans des positions de pouvoir et d’influence en raison de leur profil, plutôt que de leur bilan. D’où le retour du Barry Dunham issu des meileures prépas pour le nom autrement plus exotique de Barack Obama, un « autre » assez authentique tout fraîchement sorti de l’église du révérend Wright, mais aussi le chouchou de l’Ivy League. (…) Obama s’est brillamment faufilé dans le créneau yuppie presque tout comme nous, multiculturel, Ivy league, prep-school, affirmative action. Je vous laisse décider si la gauche caviar pratique un tel paternalisme raciste en raison de ses sentiments de culpabilité, de son aversion intrinsèque aux classes populaires et moyennes fans des courses auto et de Sarah Palin, ou comme une sorte d’exemption médiévale, l’énorme panneau « Obama for President » sur la pelouse du professeur de Palo Alto permettant de ne jamais avoir à mettre ses enfants dans les écoles touchées par le busing des quartiers hispaniques d’East Palo Alto. Mais ce qui est absolument incontestable, c’est que le bilan antérieur d’Obama dans ses premières années de fac, comme rédacteur en chef de la Harvard Law Review, professeur de droit de Chicago, parlementaire de l’Illinois et sénateur fut aussi quelconque que furent éblouissants ses efforts pour obtenir ces postes.
La présidence a suivi le même script antérieur. Obama a mené une campagne brillante en 2008 et 2012, plus inspiré même que la campagne de Richard Nixon en 1972 ou que le « Morning in America » de Reagan de 1984. En 2008, Obama nous a offert les cadences de l’ « espoir et du changement » qui étaient censés nous guérir des maux de George Bush — et a laissé faire les médias pour le reste. La deuxième fois, il a fait d’un homme aussi respectable que Mitt Romney un véritable ogre rapace échappé d’un asile d’aliénés de l’Utah, qui n’en avait pas raté une, snobant son éboueur afro-américain, torturant son pauvre chien ou achetant des chevaux hors de prix à sa femme reconnue coupable de faire de l’équitation. Mais le bilan d’Obama comme président ? Il est à peu près vide sinon le passage en force d’une impopulaire réforme de l’assurance médicale, arrachée à coup de subventions politiques et jugé irréalisable avant même son adoption. Un « véritable accident de train », comme l’avait qualifiée son propre auteur au Sénat. Sinon, le reste du temps, c’était le golf et le bon temps, mais toute latitude pour les zélés subordonnés pour « transformer radicalement l’Amérique » par tous les moyens nécessaires, généralement par le biais du fait du prince et la subversion de la vaste et toujours croissante bureaucratie.
Résultat des courses? Obama, à qui on a tout passé, du révérend Wright à Tony Rezko, est avec raison surpris: qui est-ce qui change les règles à présent ? Pourquoi devrait il soudainement être tenu responsable d’une manière dont il ne l’a jamais été auparavant ? Il s’est engagé à être un président transformationnel au-dessus de la politique, pas une personne, soumis aux aléas des scandales de Washington. (…) c’est nous qui sommes à l’origne de la règle Obama qui veut que ce soient les symboles (et non la performance) et l’amnistie (et non la responsabilisation) qui comptent. Alors pourquoi rompre le contrat avec lui et commencer maintenant à exiger des réalisations concrètes et honnêtes quand le prompteur avait toujours été suffisant ? En 2008, nous sommes-nous inquiétés du contenu de « l’audace de l’espoir » ou demandés comment quelqu’un qui n’avait pas manqué un service à Trinity Church (« Oui, chaque semaine. Au service de 11 h « ) avaient on ne sait comment pu manquer les séries de harangues racistes, antisémites et antiaméricaines du révérend Wright ? Que nous voulions maintenant connaître le rôle du Président à Benghazi, ou dans les scandales du fisc, de l’agence de presse AP et de la Fox ne faisait tout simplement pas partie de l’offre plus intelligent président de l’histoire – comme si l’Amérique avait jamais demandé « mais qu’est-ce que c’est que cette histoire d’ espoir et de changement ? » Victor Davis Hanson
Premier noir à présider la prestigieuse revue de droit de l’Université d’Harvard et professeur de droit constitutionnel sans aucune publication, seul noir à siéger au Sénat sans aucune législation à son actif et une centaine de votes « présent », premier président noir sans autre programme que l’espoir et le changement maintenant, plus rapide prix Nobel de la paix de l’histoire avant même son investiture …
Et que nos médias jusqu’ici si peu curieux nous jouent aujourd’hui les étonnés …
Mais aussi du coup l’incroyable irresponsabilité d’un système (affirmative action, paternalisme racial, relativisme culturel, politiquement correct) comme d’une presse jusqu’ici aux ordres ?
Victor Davis Hanson
June 9, 2013
Suddenly, half the country is upset with Obama for the recent flurry of scandals. Even some in the media are perplexed. Why the sudden angst, given that Obama is simply being Obama? We, not he, changed the rules.
Once Barack Obama was elected to the Illinois legislature, his career as a statesman was mostly an afterthought — either voting “present” on controversial legislation (cf. Hillary’s 2008 complaint) or simply showing up to sign off on a straight left-wing agenda. Even his supporters can cite no lasting legislative achievement other than his controversial votes to allow babies born alive from botched abortions to be liquidated. As a political unknown, he got elected and defined his tenure as a legislator into a perpetual effort to find higher office.
Ditto the U.S. Senate. Obama was noted in his brief career mostly for compiling the most partisan record among a diverse group of 100 senators, while making the argument that he worked “across the aisle” and was a model of “bipartisanship.” Because newly elected Senator Obama swore that he would not run for the presidency, we inferred that he would certainly do just that. (Yes, it is axiomatic that when Obama swears [« make no mistake about it »/ »let me be perfectly clear »], then we expect what will follow will prove to be the very opposite.)
In the Senate, there was no signature legislation, no principled opposition, not much of anything, except a vote against Justice Alito and some similarly failed efforts at other filibusters to deny nominees an up-or-down vote. He spent most of his brief sojourn attacking George W. Bush for the very protocols that he as president would later embrace. The only thing important was getting elected in the first place as a left-wing senator, and Obama accomplished that in brilliant, if not Machiavellian, fashion — with the help of the leaked divorced records of both his primary and general opponents.
The Man Who Never Was
The saga of Obama is marked by the uncanny ability to soar through the academic and government cursus honorum without ever being held too accountable for what followed. Obama’s selection as editor of the Harvard Law Review broke new ground. But to this day, no one cares much that his record was mediocre with no scholarly work to show for his tenure.
For that matter, ditto also his law career at the University of Chicago: an impressive appointment, but no scholarly book as promised, not even an article, and no distinguished record of teaching. Not much of anything. The point of the Nobel Prize was winning it — not doing anything that might have earned it. Just as there was no foreign policy achievement that preceded the prize, so there was naturally none following it. Why expect anything different now?
The Mind of the Liberal Elite
Obama always has a unique insight into a disturbing pathology among wealthy white liberal elites, who often seek, in condescending fashion, to promote particular aspiring minority candidates into positions of power and influence by virtue of their profile rather than past record. Hence the prep-schooled Barry Dunham returned to the more exotic Barack Obama, an authentic enough “other” fresh out of Rev. Wright’s Church, but also the pet of the Ivy League. Had he been born in Chicago to a Daily ward boss, it would have been a bit much to win statewide office. Had Obama been named Reggie Davis I don’t think the liberal resonance would have been there. Had he intoned like Jesse Jackson — all the time — he would have worried big-money liberals. Had his mannerisms been Al Sharpton-like, that would have been a bridge too far. There is something in the liberal mind that ignores the anti-constitutional transgressions of a smooth Eric Holder, but goes berserk over the comparatively minor obfuscations of a twangy Texan Alberto Gonzalez, perhaps along the lines of “how dare he?” Politics aside, liberal elites would always prefer to hear a Barack Obama fudge than a Clarence Thomas tell the truth.
Obama brilliantly threaded the multicultural, Ivy-League, prep-school, affirmative action, just like us-sorta, yuppie needle. I’ll let you decide whether wealthy liberals practice such racialist paternalism because of feelings of guilt, because of their intrinsic dislike of the NASCAR/Sarah Palin working and middle classes, or as a sort of medieval exemption — the huge “Obama for President” sign on the lawn of the Palo Alto professor means never having to put your kids in schools where some are bused in from East Palo Alto. But what is absolutely non-controversial is that Obama’s prior record as a university undergraduate, a Harvard Law Review editor, a Chicago law lecturer, an Illinois legislator, and a U.S. senator was as undistinguished as his efforts to obtain those posts were absolutely dazzling.
The presidency followed the same earlier script. Obama ran a brilliant campaign both in 2008 and 2012, more inspired even than Richard Nixon’s 1972 CREEP run, or Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” 1984 touchy-feely pastel effort. In 2008, Obama offered cadences of something known as “hope and change” that were supposed to cure the evils of George Bush — and left everything else to the media. The second time around, he turned a decent Mitt Romney into a veritable greedy ogre from the Utah nuthouse, who did everything from ignoring his African-American garbage man to torturing his poor dog to buying pricey horses for his wife who was found guilty of being an equestrian.
But Obama’s record as president? There is pretty much nothing other than ramming through an unpopular takeover of health care, leveraged by political bribes and deemed unworkable even before it is enacted. A “train wreck” is how its author in the Senate dubbed his own legislative offspring. Otherwise it was golf, down time, and free rein for zealous subordinates to “fundamentally transform America” by any means necessary, usually through administrative fiat and subversions of the vast and always growing bureaucracy.
Obama is now somewhat shocked that a few in the media hold him responsible for lots of bad things that his administration did: destroyed the reputation of the IRS; had a rogue EPA director invent a phony persona; let the HHS secretary shake down PR money from corporations to sell Obamacare; turned the Justice Department into a veritable Stasi enterprise going after the phone records of reporters; reduced the State Department into an arm of the 2012 Obama reelection effort; and helped erode the reputations of both Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, who advanced campaign narratives about Benghazi that were not just untrue, but were demonstrably false the moment they were presented.
So where’s the beef? Obama, who was given a pass from Rev. Wright to Tony Rezko, is justifiably confused: who now changed the rules? Why should he suddenly be held accountable in a way he never was prior? He signed up to be a transformational president who was above politics, not someone subject to the vagaries of Washington scandals.
The result of the serial dishonesty is that Obama almost immediately reverted to his natural campaign mode, the soaring rhetoric and non-traditional persona that won him everything on the guarantee that there would be no audit, no assessment, no final appraisal. In other words, Obama never really became president of the United States. He simply kept running for the office against “them” even when he is now “them” holding the highest office. So Pavlovian was his campaign mode that he never quite stopped to wonder why he was running against himself — now damning the very abuses of power that he committed, upset only that someone might be disturbed about a record in a manner that they never were at Harvard, in the Senate, or during his first term.
Where do the scandals lead? To about three more months of Washington inaction. At some point soon, the Democrats will accept that the novelty of Obama in opposition to the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments has worn off. Who cares to hound out our first black president, our first northern liberal commander in chief in a half-century? Likewise the media will strut a bit to show it is not entirely reptilian, but then will revert to the usual hagiography. Why endanger Obamacare, or “lead from behind,” or the apology tours, or the new 50 million on food stamps by cannibalizing your own?
There are lots of metaphors for Obama. Some cite King Henry II, who dreams out loud for advantageous things to follow, only to shed alligator tears when toadies reify his deadly desires (Becket dead? That was a bit much, wasn’t it?). Others cite the clueless Jimmy Carter, whose agendas proved unworkable and ended up as caricatures of a presidency. I still prefer Chauncey Gardiner of Being There. In January 2012, I wrote the following on these pages :
What got Obama to the presidency was being a man without a past or present, Chauncey Gardiner of Being There — without a college record, a medical record, a scholarly record, or much of a legislative record, the “smartest” president in history without having to say or do anything smart, who “busted hump” his entire life without any proof that he ever did any such thing, who proclaimed himself a greater president than all but three, but left nothing great in his wake, now or in the past. Obama had forgotten that winning non-persona for a time, and so after 2009 fooled himself into thinking out loud that at times he would play a real Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy, or Reagan.
But now Obama accepts what he was and always will be — Chauncey Gardiner.
And just being there is apparently the way to being president a bit longer.
Nothing has changed in the last 18 months, and the Obama presidency remains what it has been since 2009: a path-breaking candidate who was elected America’s first African-American president; a gifted teleprompted speaker who is as accomplished from a script as he flounders ex tempore; and an opportunist haunted by George Bush and the post-2010 Republican House that are supposed to be responsible for most of what he gets caught for.
Otherwise there is not a lot there—mostly a carnival of McCarthyite (AttackWatch, JournoList, IRS) henchmen and left-wing extremists trying to push through an agenda by any means necessary that the majority of America probably does not welcome.
Obama is perturbed that we question any of this malfeasance. I think he is right to be angry. In his case, we made up the Obama rules that symbolism (not performance) and amnesty (not accountability) count. So why break our covenant with him, and now start asking for concrete and honest accomplishment when the teleprompter was always enough? In 2008, did we ask for the specifics of “the audacity of hope,” or ponder how someone who did not miss a service at Trinity Church (“Yep. Every week. 11 o’clock service”) somehow missed Rev. Wright’s serial racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-American rants? That we now want to know the president’s role in Benghazi, or in the IRS, AP, and Fox scandals is something that was just not part of the smartest-president-in-history bargain—as if once upon a time America ever demanded, “What the hell is your hope and change?”
So as they say here in Selma, “Get over it”.
 on these pages: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/being-there-the-obama-sequel/
The administration’s political tactics are straight out of the Daley playbook.
May 30, 2013
The scandals swirling around the Obama administration have many journalists scratching their heads as to how “hope and change” seem to have been supplanted by “arrogance and fear.” Perhaps it’s time they revisit one of their original premises about Barack Obama: that he wasn’t influenced by the Chicago Daley machine. You know: the machine that boosted his career and whose protégés — including Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and his wife, Michelle — he brought to Washington with him.
The liberal take on the president was best summed up by Slate magazine’s Jacob Weisberg, who wrote last year that Obama “somehow passed through Chicago politics without ever developing any real connection to it.” It’s true that Obama initially kept some distance from the machine. But by the time he ran for the Senate in 2004, his main political Sherpas were Axelrod, who was then the chief consultant to Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Jarrett, the mayor’s former deputy chief of staff. As Scott Simon of NPR noted: “While calling for historic change globally, [Obama] has never professed to be a reformer locally.” The Daley machine, which evolved over 60 years from a patronage-rich army of worker bees into a corporate state in which political pull and public-employee unions dominate, has left its imprint on Obama. The machine’s core principle, laid out in an illuminating Chicago Independent Examiner primer on “the Chicago Way,” is that at all times elections are too important to be left to chance. John Kass, the muckraking columnist for the Chicago Tribune who for years has warned that Obama was bringing “the Chicago way” to Washington, sums up his city like this: “Once there were old bosses. Now there are new bosses. And shopkeepers still keep their mouths shut. Tavern owners still keep their mouths shut. Even billionaires keep their mouths shut.”
“We have a sick political culture, and that’s the environment Barack Obama came from,” Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, warned ABC News when Obama ran in 2008. He noted that Obama had “been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state.”
Joel Kotkin, an urban expert who still considers himself a “Kennedy Democrat –– John F. Kennedy,” wrote at Forbes: “Most of us would put up with a bit of corruption and special dealing if the results were strong economic and employment growth. But the bare demographic and economic facts for both Chicago and Illinois reveal a stunning legacy of failure.” Since 2007, the Chicago region has lost more jobs than Detroit has, and more than twice as many as New York. The city’s murder rate is a national disgrace, and its teachers’ union is so powerful that a strike it called last year forced new mayor Rahm Emanuel to back down from his attempt to curb union power.
The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch tags Chicago as the fifth most heavily taxed city in the country: Its sky-high effective sales tax of 9.75 percent makes the tax burden on a family earning $25,000 a year the fourth highest in the country. From 1991, two years after Richard M. Daley first took office as mayor, to 2011, the year Emanuel took the reins, the average debt per Chicagoan grew from $600 to $2,600, an increase of 433 percent. As Dick Simpson, a former reform Chicago alderman who now teaches at the University of Illinois, put it: “There’s a significant downside to authoritarian rule. The city could do much better.”
Conservatives in Chicago, an embattled breed, say the Obama scandals now coming to light — the IRS, the intimidation of journalists, the green-energy boondoggles such as Solyndra — could have been anticipated. “The 2008 Obama campaign perpetrated a fraud that he was a reformer,” says Chris Robling, a former journalist who has served as a Republican election commissioner. “All of the complaints — from the lack of transparency to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s shaking down corporations to promote Obamacare — stem from the culture of the Daley Machine.” For decades, Robling says, Mayor Daley “encouraged” contributions to his favorite charities, with the implicit understanding that the “encourager” controlled the city’s inspectors and regulators. “That sounds an awful lot like what Sebelius was doing to prop up Obamacare,” Robling notes. “Obama’s ideology may come from Saul Alinsky’s acolytes, but his political tactics come straight from the Daley playbook.” Indeed, friends of Bill Daley, Mayor Daley’s brother, say that one reason Bill left his post as Obama’s White House chief of staff after only one year was that even he thought Team Obama was too much “all politics, all of the time” and not enough about governance.
Journalists used to know that presidents are in part a product of their past: where their careers were nurtured and where their politics were shaped. They understood this as a given when it came to Ronald Reagan and California; they basically grasped it about Bill Clinton’s Arkansas, and certainly nailed it on George W. Bush and Texas. But when it came to Barack Obama, all that went out the window. Speaking at the University of Southern California, at a post-2008 conference on the election, Mark Halperin, then of ABC News, said that the media’s treatment of Obama had been “the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war.” It was “extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage,” he concluded.
That media failure continued throughout Obama’s first term. Perhaps now, as Obama’s “Chicago Way” is coming into focus, the media will want to redeem itself. With Obama, it’s become all too clear: You can take the politician away from the machine, but you can’t take the machine out of the politician.
— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.
May 22, 2013
In the IRS scandal and others, Washington and the media are obsessed with the question: What did the president know and when did he know it?
That misses the point—Mr. Obama’s presidency is much more damaging to the nation than the mistakes of subordinates now coming to light.
Most recently, we learn President Obama met with anti-Tea Party IRS Union President Colleen Kelley just before the tax agency began targeting conservative groups. Is that the smoking gun? Was the president in on the plan to harass opponents of big government?
Through labor-management forums, the union has a lot to say about how the IRS is run, but I doubt a transcript of the meeting, if we could get one, would prove the two presidents directly conspired to use IRS powers to target conservative groups. Instead, it would likely show they were in concert on the need to defeat the GOP in 2012, and countering the Tea Party’s influence was important.
However, the union solicits contributions from members to campaign against the Tea Party, and AFI-CIO affiliated unions educate their members that Republicans and conservatives groups are the enemies of progress.
In that kind of an environment is it any surprise that card carrying union members at the IRS thought it was just fine to target advocates of limited government?
That’s union politics. But the president doesn’t have to encourage it beyond what his responsibilities as chief executive require, yet he does. In 2009, the president signed an executive order to allow the union to have pre-decisional involvement in all IRS workplace matters.
Now the president acts with such great surprise that workers paying dues and making political contributions to an organization that targets the Tea Party and conservative groups are harassing the same in their work.
The president is not uninformed or incompetent—he is cynical and corrupt.
We did not know that he was so lacking in moral fiber and self restraint when we elected him, because as a senator both in Illinois and Washington, he spent most of his time running for higher office—we never observed him exercising discretion and dealing with tough choices as a legislator or executive.
Having chosen him in haste, the nation can repent at its leisure.
He won’t be impeached and convicted, but I expect that he will continue to abuse his powers. And he sets the tone for his administration.
He didn’t have to tell Attorney General Holder to pursue sweeping subpoenas of the Associated Press or name a Fox News correspondent as a conspirator in investigations of leaks—actions that will intimidate a free press. Or for the Secretary for Health and Human Services to shake down private executives for “donations” to non-profits led by former Obama administration officials. Or for the Secretary of State to cover up the ineptitude that led to the death of a U.S. ambassador and several diplomats at the hands of terrorists in Libya.
It’s just how they do business in Chicago, and now sadly in the nation’s capital. All with a wink, a smile and a denial from the president of the United States.
Barack Obama vient de découvrir ce qui arrive aux chefs d’Etat lorsqu’ils sont publiquement rattrapés par des effluves de scandales politico-financiers: il doivent y répondre sur le champ, au détriment de tout le reste.
Le président américain n’a pas échappé à cette règle lundi, puisqu’il a dû consacrer une grande partie de sa conférence de presse avec le Premier ministre britannique David Cameron aux questions sur l’élargissement de l’enquête sur l’attaque du consulat américain à Benghazi et sur les soupçons selon lesquels l’IRS, l’administration chargée des impôts, aurait visé spécifiquement des groupes conservateurs comme le Tea Party.
L’annonce par l’agence Associated Press que les autorités américaines auraient secrètement surveillé les téléphones de plusieurs de ses journalistes en 2012 a achevé de placer l’administration Obama sur la défensive, faisant craindre à certains démocrates un second mandat gâché, comme celui de Bill Clinton l’avait été par l’affaire Monica Lewinsky.
« Le scandale de l’IRS arrive au plus mauvais moment pour le président et le programme démocrate », souligne Sarah Binder, de l’université George Washington.
« L’enjeu des prochaines semaines et mois, pour Obama et les démocrates, sera de maintenir l’attention de l’opinion publique sur leurs objectifs politiques alors que les républicains et les médias se concentreront sur les scandales. »
Le dossier de l’IRS est particulièrement sensible, car il risque de fournir de nouveaux arguments aux Américains qui accusent l’Etat de chercher à porter atteinte à leurs libertés individuelles garanties par la Constitution, comme le lobby des armes à feu ou les opposants à la « nationalisation » du système de sécurité sociale, deux dossiers sur lesquels Barack Obama joue une partie de sa crédibilité.
LES RÉSEAUX SOCIAUX COMPLIQUENT TOUT
Même si l’IRS est un organisme indépendant, tout mauvais agissement de sa part rejaillirait forcément sur la Maison blanche, estime Ron Bonjean, ancien assistant républicain au Congrès.
« Aux yeux du grand public, l’IRS fait partie du gouvernement fédéral, lui-même sous le contrôle de la Maison blanche », fait-il valoir.
Ces scandales risquent donc de bousculer l’agenda politique des démocrates.
Majoritaires au Sénat, ceux-ci préparent par exemple une loi bipartisane sur l’immigration qui se suscité déjà de fortes réticences à la Chambre des représentants, dominée par les républicains.
« Les conséquences politiques seront très préjudiciables pour l’administration (Obama) », souligne Ron Bonjean. « Il n’y a aucune chance qu’ils (les démocrates) puissent avancer tant que l’enquête sur l’IRS est en cours. »
Le parfum capiteux des scandales a de plus toutes les chances de flotter jusqu’aux élections de mi-mandat, en 2014, restreignant d’autant la marge de manoeuvre de Barack Obama.
Si l’enquête sur les éventuelles défaillances autour de l’attaque contre le consulat de Benghazi ne passionne guère l’opinion publique américaine, il n’en va pas de même de l’IRS et potentiellement des révélations d’Associated Press.
La Maison blanche ne s’y est pas trompée en tentant immédiatement de se dégager de toute responsabilité dans les deux cas.
Mais l’incendie ne sera pas facile à circonscrire, encore moins qu’à l’époque de Bill Clinton, relève un de ses anciens conseillers de presse, Mike McCurry.
One morning in the spring of 1991, a telephone rang in Gannett House, a white, Greek Revival-style building that serves as the headquarters of the Harvard Law Review, the prestigious student-run journal of legal scholarship. The caller was Douglas Baird, dean of the University of Chicago Law School. He was looking for Obama, who had gained national fame as « the first black president of the review. »
Actually, Obama was not the first person of color to be president of the review. That distinction belonged to Raj Marphatia, who was born and raised in Bombay (now know as Mumbai), India, and who had become the Review’s president four years earlier. But while Marphatia’s presidency went largely unnoticed, Obama’s attracted a great deal of attention in the liberal mainstream media. That publicity, in turn, led to a publishing contract for a book on race relations and several offers of prestigious clerkships and lucrative jobs. The liberal world had already beating a path to Barack Obama’s door.
« I made a cold call to the Harvard Law Review and spoke to Barack, » recalled Baird. « I asked him, Do you have an interest in teaching law?’ and he said, ‘No. My plan is to write a book on voting rights.’ And I said, ‘Why don’t you write that book here at the University of Chicago. I can give you an office and a word processor and make you a Visiting Law and Government Fellow.’
‘He accepted’, Baird continued, and several months after he arrived, he came to my office and said, ‘Boss’—he called me boss—‘ that book I told you about—well, it’s taken a slightly different direction. It’s my autobiography.’ I was astonished. He was all of thirty years old and he was writing his autobiography!”
For the next twelve years, Obama taught at the Law School—first as a Lecturer, then as a Senior Lecturer. He earned about $ 60,000 a year and was given an office, a secretary, and health benefits. He was, by all accounts, a ghostly presence on the faculty—rarely seen and virtually never heard from.
“At the time,” Epstein continued, “Obama saw himself as a serious intellectual, which he definitely was not. His course was very popular and he was an engaging teacher, but not one with a serious academic set of interests. The members of the faculty reserved a round table for ten in the Quadrangle Club, where we had lunch and engaged in an intense intellectual exchange. We had a no-sports and no-politics rule and a single-topic rule. Everybody bashed everybody. You put yourself once more into the breach and prepared to have the guillotine come down on your head.
“But Barack Obama never attended these lunches. I firmly believe that his systematic withdrawal from engagement with other members of the faculty stemmed from his not wanting to put himself at intellectual risk. He was always a political actor with many irons in the fire.”
“You just never saw him at a lunch or at a workshop,” said Richard Epstein, who was made interim dean of the Law School in 2001, while Obama was still there. “I did not see any signs of intellectual curiosity or power. He did not have a way of listening to you that drew you in. But it was rarely the case that you could figure out what he thought. An inaccurate story was published that claimed Obama was given a tenured offer to join the faculty. But it never came to the faculty for approval. How could you make a tenured offer to a man who had never written a scholarly article? »
Klein, Edward, The Amateur (pp. 19-21). Regnery, 2012