Obama’s Chamber Smear Is Business As Usual

October 11, 2010

The most noteworthy aspect of President Barack Obama’s slander of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for allegedly “stealing our democracy” by laundering foreign corporate donations is that such disgraceful behavior is par for the course for this self-described post-partisan president.

It is a mistake to believe that he was making a mistake. The baseless charge was calculated and part of the Alinskyite strategy he and his thuggish team have used in virtually every political battle. That’s all they know.

They pick, isolate and demonize targets instead of debating the merits of their policy agenda items. We saw this approach on cap and trade, the stimulus bill, Obamacare and the financial reform bill, and now they’re using it for the upcoming elections.

They throw out damaging allegations knowing they’re untrue and doggedly pursue them even when their hand is called. In the case of the chamber smear, CBS’ Bob Schieffer challenged Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod to substantiate the administration’s claim. He said, “Mr. Axelrod … do you have any evidence that it’s anything other than peanuts?”

Axelrod, displaying the signature arrogance of the administration, didn’t even bother to offer anything concrete. He said, “Well, do you have any evidence that it’s not, Bob?”

In other words, they can make whatever false charges they want, and the burden of proof then shifts to their target to prove a negative. How can any American citizen regard this cavalier behavior from the people’s White House as anything less than contemptible?

It appears the administration’s only source for the smear is the Center for American Progress, which is the administration’s political arm. So the administration is the one, not the Chamber of Commerce, guilty of laundering — the laundering of misinformation. It is serving as its own source via the manufactured tale spun by its incestuous political appendage.

Even the liberal New York Times wrote, “Closer examination shows that there is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents.” The controversy, noted the Times, says “more about the Washington spin cycle — where an Internet blog posting can be quickly picked up by like-minded groups and become political fodder for the president himself — than it does about the vagaries of campaign finance.”

Even with that unexpected smack-down, Obama is without contrition. Some say he backed off, because he modified his charge to say it’s possible the chamber is engaging in such behavior. That’s letting Obama off way too easy. He knows his fabricated allegation was not true, so it doesn’t suffice for him to weasel out of it with language of probabilities. He deserves no slack for this. Indeed, in his Philadelphia speech in which apologists say he backed off, he broadened the sweep of his claim, saying that other special interest groups are “spending unlimited amounts of money on attack ads. … It could be the oil industry. It could be the insurance industry. It could even be foreign-owned corporations.” Yes, it could be Martians, too.

Why some people continue to give him the benefit of the doubt is beyond me. We read about the great disparity between the unpopularity of his agenda and his favorable personal approval ratings. Assuming poll respondents provide honest answers, I dare say they are unaware of the volume of evidence that reveals Obama to be the partisan bully he is — evidence that I lay out in copious detail in my book.

Seeing just a partial list of these examples together shows how persistently he engages in this behavior. Just consider his and his administration’s false claims that insurance companies were making obscene profits, that surgeons would amputate the foot of a diabetic’s at charges of up to $50,000 rather than prescribe a diet, that pediatricians would order the removal of tonsils when a less intrusive treatment could work, that the Cambridge police had acted stupidly when he didn’t have all the facts, that hedge fund creditors were bailout companies who wouldn’t sacrifice for the public good when they objected to his grossly unfair Chrysler creditor restructuring plan favoring his union friends (they were not TARP fund recipients), that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell only opposed Obama’s financial reform bill because he was in the pocket of Wall Street’s “fat cat bankers,” that Fox News is not a news organization but a political arm of the Republican Party, that Arizona

lawmakers had crafted a law to authorize racial profiling when the law expressly forbade it, that Republicans didn’t have any ideas on health care — just before he claimed he had adopted Republican ideas in his plan — that AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin was confused and incompetent in his finding that Obama’s friends had misused stimulus money, and dozens of other examples.