Driving political rivals from office or appointed positions has a long tradition. Indeed, that is what politics is all about.
Taking that fight into the private realm, whether someone’s private employment or private associations, however, is a tactic we are seeing with increasing frequency from the Obama administration and its supporters. Politics now doesn’t stop at the government doorstep, but extends into the personal lives of opponents, their businesses, and their associations.
Rush Limbaugh is the most recent example. I’ve tried hard to think of another example of someone being driven out of a private investment based on his political views. There may be examples, and if so, please list them in the comments. But the Limbaugh case is important because it shows the extent to which Obama supporters will go. In what else should Limbaugh not be allowed to invest?
The public attacks by the Obama administration on Fox News, combined with freezing out Fox News from access to the President, is another example of an attempt to punish a critic. The snub of Fox News on Obama’s Sunday media blitz was just petty. And criticisms of media coverage by administrations is not new.
But I don’t recall the type of public, wholesale attack on an entire news organization as we witnessed days ago from Obama’s media spokeswoman. At least not since the Nixon administration. There certainly are examples of both Republican and Democratic administrations attacking a particular article, or news item, or disclosure of leaked secrets. But the attack by the Obama administration on Fox News took matters to a whole new level, leading even some liberal media outlets to criticize the ongoing tactic.
Another example is the threat by Democrats to investigate and punish the insurance industry for opposing Obama’s health care proposals, using Congress’ antitrust authority. The politicians and the pro-Obama media operations moved in sync on the antitrust issue, suggesting coordination. This use of government legal power to punish political opponents is dangerous in itself, but even more so when combined with synchronized political advertising.
And the list goes on. These examples are not isolated, but part of a deliberate strategy by supporters of the Obama administration, as summarized in a recent Politico.com article, The left aims for critics’ jugular:
[U.S. Chamber of Commerce President] McCaughey and other Obama critics are falling victim to tactics honed as much by the right as by the left: Bloggers research the opposition and post material that is picked up by allies on cable talk shows, who push it into the broader media.
But the new twist is that private firms, some with little connection to the policy debate and little warning, are being hauled into the public courtyard because of their association with an advocate-employee.
Several progressive groups are employing versions of the tactic, not as part of a coordinated effort but often enough to seem more than coincidence.
Faiz Shakir, editor of the progressive ThinkProgress blog, said the juncture of personal finances and political positions is fair game.
These tactics of taking politics into the personal lives and livelihoods of opponents results from the intersection of the age-old intolerance of liberal dogma and the Chicago-style politics of Rahm Emanuel.
The manner in which Obama ran his campaign made this all predictable. Indeed, just prior to the election, when Obama’s victory seemed all but certain, I predicted that we would endure a period of retribution unlike anything seen recently:
Given the zeal with which the Obama campaign, it supporters, and the mainstream media have attacked anyone who dares criticize The One, those who have spoken out against Obama should prepare for retribution. You will be labeled racist, and that label will be used to deprive you of your free speech and your job. You will be called selfish, and required to reeducate. You will be investigated, and your records searched for any possible infraction….
In just about every aspect of your political life, you will be ridiculed and belittled. There will be no sanctuary cities for you.
A key ingredient is the race card, the false accusation of racism. It worked well for Obama during the campaign, and has been refined over the past nine months as documented here repeatedly. The Limbaugh case is a good example, where racist comments were fabricated, broadcast by the mainstream media, circulated on the internet, and repeated by various pundits as a ground to shut Limbaugh out of a private investment.
We are witnessing on a national level a blurring of political and personal boundaries, driven by the executive branch and its well-financed media operatives. For conservatives, and for anyone else who speaks out against the Obama administration, there are no sanctuary cities.