Try this thought experiment: You decide to donate money to Mitt Romney. You want change in the Oval Office, so you engage in your democratic right to send a check.
Several days later, President Barack Obama, the most powerful man on the planet, singles you out by name. His campaign brands you a Romney donor, shames you for "betting against America," and accuses you of having a "less-than-reputable" record. The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money.
Are you worried?
Richard Nixon's "enemies list" appalled the country for the simple reason that presidents hold a unique trust. Unlike senators or congressmen, presidents alone represent all Americans. Their powers—to jail, to fine, to bankrupt—are also so vast as to require restraint. Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats. This is why presidents since Nixon have carefully avoided the practice.
Save Mr. Obama, who acknowledges no rules. This past week, one of his campaign websites posted an item entitled "Behind the curtain: A brief history of Romney's donors." In the post, the Obama campaign named and shamed eight private citizens who had donated to his opponent. Describing the givers as all having "less-than-reputable records," the post went on to make the extraordinary accusations that "quite a few" have also been "on the wrong side of the law" and profiting at "the expense of so many Americans."
These are people like Paul Schorr and Sam and Jeffrey Fox, investors who the site outed for the crime of having "outsourced" jobs. T. Martin Fiorentino is scored for his work for a firm that forecloses on homes. Louis Bacon (a hedge-fund manager), Kent Burton (a "lobbyist") and Thomas O'Malley (an energy CEO) stand accused of profiting from oil. Frank VanderSloot, the CEO of a home-products firm, is slimed as a "bitter foe of the gay rights movement."
These are wealthy individuals, to be sure, but private citizens nonetheless. Not one holds elected office. Not one is a criminal. Not one has the barest fraction of the position or the power of the U.S. leader who is publicly assaulting them.
Is this the new "normal" in politics now? Used to be, qualified, capable people shied away from public office because they didn't want people digging through their trashcans for dirt. The Obama Crew is now doing that with donors. Politicians wonder why people hate them so much. Perhaps this latest tactic will help educate them.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — NATO says that two service members have been killed in separate attacks in southern Afghanistan, while two others have died of non-battle injuries.
The coalition said in statements that one service member was killed by an improvised explosive device Wednesday and another by a similar weapon on Tuesday....
So far this month, 31 coalition members have died in Afghanistan, bringing the year's toll to 122."
Barack Obama was their Commander-in-Chief.
And then Rabel came right back and said:
That's his job right there.
Fuck him and fuck his Goddamn comedy act.
Now, that's a very harsh way to talk about Obama, but it's the way people talked about George Bush all the time. Remember how Bush was savaged for displaying a capacity for enjoying himself when Americans were fighting and dying?
That much criticized performance occurred in 2002. A year later, after he received news of war deaths while golfing, Bush gave up golf:
“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf... I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong message."
Does a slow jam with Jimmy Fallon send the wrong message? Or do we not think about the mom whose son may have recently died anymore? (Obama has no Cindy Sheehandogginghounding him bothering him... at least not that we see in the news.)
It's like that was a really hard question — why is it that he can't just enjoy his waffle... and his multiple vacations and his golf and his rock concerts in the White House and his slow jam with Jimmy Fallon?
The answer is: Because you have a job. You applied for it. We hired you. Make us believe you're doing it.
There's a lot of mythology out there still today about Obama and his strengths and how there hasn't been any fallout from the dismal record that he has amassed. None of this is true. They're in trouble. They're in deep trouble. You basically have David Plouffe, who's the president, you got Axelrod who's the chief of staff and Obama's out playing golf. Obama... Not quite. Obama's out doing the fundraising, but David Plouffe is the acting president, Axelrod's chief adviser, and Obama's out playing golf. Obama basically has a nine a.m. to four p.m. day. It's these other guys that are formulating policy, doing all this other stuff. He knows what's going on, don't misunderstand, and he's guiding and influencing it.
I'm not saying Obama's disengaged, doesn't know what's going on and he's a puppet. Don't misunderstand. Not saying that at all. But he's not known as a hard worker. He's not known as somebody who gets in there early and stays late....
While David Plouffe is the president, Axelrod's the chief of staff, Obama's out raising money. After his campaign stop in North Carolina today, he's going on his comedy tour. He'll be appearing on the Jimmy Fallon show and then with Jimmy Kimmel before being roasted at the White House Correspondents Dinner this weekend....
Plouffe is the acting President?! That sounded outlandish. But look around. Obama performs 5 minutes of a musically sexualized speech about students and... it's wearing down my sense of the outlandish.