You can take the guy out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the guy.
President Obama’s first five months in office have produced an unprecedented amount of ethically questionable exercises of power for so short a time in power. His consistent and blatant spreading of the spoils among his friends and political benefactors and his punishment of his political enemies to make a lesson of them demonstrates that “pay to play” has been elevated to an art form by this young administration.
The most recent example (that I know of) was Obama’s firing of inspector general Gerald Walpin as punishment for Walpin’s unwelcome investigation of an Obama political crony’s apparent misappropriation of Americorps funds. Walpin’s actions resulted in repayment to the government of several hundred thousand dollars of misspent federal funds – and Walpin’s firing. In doing so. Obama violated a federal law that he himself had co-sponsored, requiring the President to provide Congress with specific reasons for any such dismissal. After first giving no reason at all, Obama then lamely recited that the inspector no longer had the president’s confidence. This scandal is particularly damning, because this involves Obama personally, not some underling.
The Americorps firing was eerily similar to an earlier Obama Administration atrocity, when its Justice Department dismissed a case that had already been won against Black Panthers charged with voter intimidation. One of the defendants was an elected member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee and was a credentialed poll watcher for Obama and the Democratic Party when the violations occurred.
Curiously (or not), the main stream media types who feigned outrage when President Bush 43 commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby (not a pardon, mind you, just a commutation) are silent about Obama’s more blatant acts. President Clinton’s politically motivated pardons at the end of his administration seem tame – even benign – compared to Obama’s in just his first five months.
The message is clear. Obama supporters who are willing to commit election fraud, steal government funds or engage in other wrongdoing can do so with the confidence that Obama’s “got their back.”
But there’s more. The president also meddled in the General Motors bankruptcy to produce a deal that, contrary to established bankruptcy law, gave priority to unsecured claims of members of a union that supported his candidacy over the heretofore superior rights of secured creditors (those who held collateral to secure their claims). The President also pushed to give politically favored Platinum Equity a plum ownership stake in bankrupt GM supplier Delphi at the expense of other debtor-in-possession financers, but that plan is now facing the unwanted scrutiny of a federal judge who apparently isn’t playing from the script.
Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats rode into power in 2006 based on a campaign claiming that Republicans had established a “culture of corruption” during their 12 years in power. Democrats have surpassed Republicans’ abuses in a much shorter time. Indeed, when it comes to “pay to play,” even former Illinois Governor Rod Blogojevich (D) was a piker compared to Obama!