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The Tory Politics Of The Obama Administration

Of the many comedic moments in this week's attempt by the Obama administration to ostracize Fox News, perhaps the most telling was the refusal of competing media outlets to participate in an interview of the President's Pay Czar that specifically excluded Fox. Charles Krauthammer characteristically captures the significance of this moment:

Then on Thursday, the administration tried to make them complicit in an actual boycott of Fox. The Treasury Department made available Ken Feinberg, the executive pay czar, for interviews with the White House "pool" news organizations -- except Fox. The other networks admirably refused, saying they would not interview Feinberg unless Fox was permitted to as well. The administration backed down.

This was an important defeat because there's a principle at stake here. While government can and should debate and criticize opposition voices, the current White House goes beyond that. It wants to delegitimize any significant dissent. The objective is no secret. White House aides openly told Politico that they're engaged in a deliberate campaign to marginalize and ostracize recalcitrants, from Fox to health insurers to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

There's nothing illegal about such search-and-destroy tactics. Nor unconstitutional. But our politics are defined not just by limits of legality or constitutionality. We have norms, Madisonian norms.

...Factions should compete, but they should also recognize the legitimacy of other factions and, indeed, their necessity for a vigorous self-regulating democracy. Seeking to deliberately undermine, delegitimize and destroy is not Madisonian. It is Nixonian.

This pattern of seeking to not simply defeat the political opposition but actually destroy it is the defining characteristic of this Presidency. While Roger Ailes is a big boy and can take care of himself, the history of the Obama Machine demonstrates equal ruthlessness for bystanders as well. Remember, for example, what happened when Candidate Obama wandered into Joe the Plumber's neighborhood and found himself on the receiving end of an unstaged question. Joe's embarrassing question for the Incubator Candidate resulted in invasions of his own privacy (perpetrated by Obama operatives) that were criminal. Attempts were made by these same Obama zealots to deliberately undermine, delegitimize and destroy Joe the Plumber.

Now the U S Chamber of Commerce, Fox News, thousands of American physicians, health insurance companies, small businesses and energy producers in poor states find that they are all Joe the Plumber. An Obama administration that can't and won't engage its critics on the issues instead terminates the discussion, eliminates debate and demonizes its opposition. This is worse than Nixonian. It's more like King George III.


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Comments (14)

He's a King alright. King ... (Below threshold)
914:

He's a King alright. King dingaling.

No, it's getting more like ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

No, it's getting more like Der Fuhrer.

The Clintons were/are alson... (Below threshold)
davidt:

The Clintons were/are alsonoted for being unsatisfied with simply defeating any opposition, they would/will seek to destroy it. Which makes me wonder what the Clintons have in store for Obama.

Fox "News"FTFY... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Fox "News"

FTFY

Fox "News"F... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Fox "News"

FTFY

Fuck "you".

FTFY.

He wanted to delegitimize "... (Below threshold)
kathie:

He wanted to delegitimize "tea party goers", there are 10's of thousand tea party goers. There are thousand who carry Medical Insurance who are grateful for their services, and thousands who are members of the Chamber of Commerce and the list goes on and on. So while he is calling out specific organizations, he is also calling out and demonizing me, an American citizen, and I don't like it.

PS I watch Fox as well. Bad, bad me.

Fox "News"Yeah, jp... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Fox "News"

Yeah, jp2, and that's about all you've got to work with. Got your Brown Shirt yet?

Think jp2, because you are ... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Think jp2, because you are on a list to and you will be powerless once he gets past the defenders of freedom.

First they came for the bankers, and I did not speak out--because I was not a banker.
Then they came for the car companies, and I did not speak out--because I was not a car company owner.
Then they came for the insurance companies, and I did not speak out--because I did not own an insurance company.
Then they came for the broadcast news organizations, and I did not speak out--because I was not a broadcast news organization owner.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak out for me.

With apologies to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

'The Won' has lists, and he's going to go down the list till the end...unless you stand up and say "No".

Half the country is fuming,... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Half the country is fuming, and the other half the country is running on arrogance and hate.

That Hope and Change(tm) thing isn't working out too well, it seems to me.

Who'd a thunk it that Obama... (Below threshold)
Neo:

Who'd a thunk it that Obama would be a paranoid narcissist ?

OK, narcissist yes, but virtually nothing would have made you think he would opt for the bunker mentality now on display. I know I thought his passing up the FoxNews primary debate in Las Vegas was more pandering to the paranoid masses rather than an early indicator of his own paranoia of FoxNews, which now has festered into something pathological.

Apparently, that story of the auto czar invoking the "Madman theory of the Presidency" on the Chrysler bond holders wasn't just the auto czar talking talking through his hat, but in fact was the real truth.

Don't worry about jp2 too m... (Below threshold)
Drago:

Don't worry about jp2 too much. He's simply repeating this weeks talking points as he's been directed.

Remember, libs simply do what they're told like the good little Stalinists they are.

Before we start bowing and ... (Below threshold)
Adjoran:

Before we start bowing and scraping before the new-found "integrity" of the other four news networks in defending Fox News' interest here, remember the "pool" is a consortium of all five, funded equally by all.

I cannot imagine they do not have some contractual obligation to stand up for all other pool members in questions of access. A contract certainly exists between them, and it is unlikely in today's litigious society that any of the parent corporations' attorneys would not insist on a detailed written agreement.

OTOH, their arrangement - written, oral, or "understood" - seems almost a textbook example of a "trust" arrangement (saving only shared ownership and/or directors), as it is clearly aimed at securing the monopoly positions of access of the largest news organizations at the expense of all others, thereby assuring their continued dominance in the market for coverage of the White House, along with the competitive advantages which accompany it.

~~~~~~~~~

Drago ~ jp2 does it well, proving the value of constant practice. He's a one-trick pony, but he turns that trick with pride!

;-)

Adjoran, unless I'm mistake... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Adjoran, unless I'm mistaken, I believe that the big 5 FUND the pool, but that who is in the pool at any given time is rotated amongst all the 'accredited' White House reporters. Obviously there are times (big news event) when every news agency won't fit in one room. Those selected from the 'pool' then share their notes, observations, video with other reporters outside.

The White House was pandering to the other 4 agencies to the extent that it was a "wink, wink; we're treating you special and FOX will be deliberately excluded". Wisely the news directors decided that in the long run (protecting their own access), they had to make a stand.

little jp2 still = FOOL. ... (Below threshold)
Greg:

little jp2 still = FOOL. I still think jp2 is a she. Her envy is why she hates Sarah so much. Sad to be so full of self-hate. Pity her.




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