Obama and his ‘enemy’ fetish

William Murchison's picture

One element in last summer’s Obama ruckuses — there’s always an Obama ruckus going on, it seems — was a few placards at tea party rallies comparing the president to a certain A. Hitler. Both the comparisons and the ensuing ruckus they caused were rubbish. Couldn’t we all just see Obama heil-ing huge crowds to fury over national enemies and the like? Nope. Not a bit of it.

The business of handling “enemies,” nevertheless, needs review and reappraisal at the highest White House level, meaning the presidential level. As White House frustration mounts over criticism of the healthcare, so unreasoning rage mounts and, unfortunately, finds outlets. The Obamans are fouling their own nest.

A few days ago the story was pettish administration attacks on Fox News. Mean ol’ Fox was being ugly about the healthcare reform — suggesting overhaul of the overhauls in progress. No way!

The White House communications director stuck out her tongue at the Foxies. Then Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, trying to advance the agenda on CNN and ABC respectively, made things worse, declaring (in Axelrod’s words) that Fox, far from presenting news, was “pushing a point of view.”

Mercy! Push a point of view? Nobody in the news media would do that — not Keith Olbermann, not Jon Stewart, not Rachel Maddow. Only those mean ol’ conservatives at Fox would do anything so underhanded as question the means directed toward making over one-sixth of the U.S. economy!

As for the president, he picked up the cudgels himself, clobbering the health insurance industry in his Saturday radio and Internet message. How dare these fellows claim the Senate approach to overhaul would raise premiums 18 percent more than otherwise would happen over the next decade?

“Smoke and mirrors,” said the president (making fine points in the debate instantly clear). “Bogus”! And just a minute here: maybe — maybe — it was time to review the insurance industry’s antitrust exemption.

That’s right — don’t let those critics speak out when all they want to do is confuse people about the patent virtues of what the White House wants! How dare these guys! Shut up, shut up!

There’s nothing in the world like freedom of speech, so long as the speaker booms out your praises, sprinkles his remarks with words and expressions such as “hope,” “change” and “the fierce urgency of now.”

In such a case, welcome to the White House. Can we pour you a glass of lemonade, give you an autographed photo of the president? You others out there — shut up!

This isn’t Hitler stuff, to tell the truth. It puts one more in mind of an elite class of Chicagoans: the kind once widely known for putting the squeeze on merchants who had chosen a different supplier and now needed a little persuasion — so’s the guys could finally see the light, right? Labor unions, too, back in their heyday, were good at a little friendly coercion, slyly demonstrating to bosses the virtues of “cooperation.”

The use of political muscle certainly isn’t without precedent. It’s just, in the present context, that of an administration that campaigned on bringing us together ... it’s just kind of sleazy and distasteful, not least on account of the stakes involved in healthcare.

Bad enough the White House never announced, and certainly never held, a national conversation on healthcare. Worse is the ongoing attempt to have Congress cram down Americans’ throats a plan most Americans don’t even want, if polls are to be believed.

Trying to stifle debate — to ridicule or intimidate your opponents — isn’t smart politics. It’s stupid politics. Voters resent it. All the more they will resent it, if opening at Christmas the nice, shiny present from Congress, they dislike its look and smell. They might decide to throw it back at the giver.

Dishonesty is a ghastly, if painfully familiar, human trait — exclusive neither to fuehrers, nor emperors, nor elected presidents and their well-paid advisers.

The funny thing is, it doesn’t even work for long. And when it stops working, Katie, bar the door!

[William Murchison is the author of “Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity.”] COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS.COM

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dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Tue, 10/27/2009 - 11:56pm.

First, let me say that I rarely watch Glen Beck. Three of the five nights that his program is aired, I am at work. The other two nights, I am either attending my daughters softball games, picking up from basketball tryouts, or a myriad of other common tasks. I do, though, occasionally catch his show.

Now, a friend and co-worker of my husband accused us of only watching Fox and narrowing our scope of information. He challenged us to watch MSNBC in hopes that we would be persuaded to his own myopic view. In turn, we challenged him to watch Fox for one week.

In the last week and a half, I've been able to catch Olberman's program approximately 3 times. I am not impressed. Monday, October 26th, for example, Olberman spent the majority of his program calling Rush Limbaugh: "chowder head", "small brained", "ignorant", "racist", and compared him to a "bear riding a unicycle". Now, I'm going to be honest, I don't listen to Limbaugh either. But I did find it odd that Olberman would spend the entire hour bashing Rush and Fox News. Another night that my husband and I watched, he spent the majority of his program bashing Beck and Hannity....and Fox News.

At no point in time, during the three episodes watched, did Olberman actually report news, submit opinions on anyone except those on Fox, or offer any kind of intelligent insight to the problems facing this country.

Like I said earlier, I don't watch Beck on a regular basis; however, based on what I have seen, Glenn Beck criticizes those in power: both elected and appointed. I've never heard him go on and on and on about Olberman, MSNBC, CNN, or anyone else in the media.

As to the co-worker that started this challenge, he has yet to watch any Fox News program. He could not hold up his end of the bargin and would not accept his own challenge. He is the narrow one here.

"The most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Wed, 10/28/2009 - 12:22pm.

Libs always talk a good game.. Oh they make grand statements and when they fail to follow thru.. well it was well intentioned.

"A Government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." Thomas Jefferson

Submitted by Bonkers on Wed, 10/28/2009 - 7:27am.

Well frankly there can not be enough bad stuff said about those you mentioned that Olberman criticized!

Many of those (including O'Reilly and others, have ruined a great political party (GOP) and now we are stuck with just one party of power who Will run rampant if not checked!

We don't need such money grubbers spouting their venom about a sitting President. Impeach him if he is illegal!

Submitted by Doug on Tue, 10/27/2009 - 11:09pm.

"The Obamans are fouling their own nest."

Ain't that the truth. I just lost my job today and instead of getting about the nation's business the President is fighting with Fox News.

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