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Obama’s Thuggery

Michael Barone locates Barack Obama squarely in the brass-knuckle Chicago style of politics:

That’s governance, Chicago style. The head of government is friends with the heads of every big business, lobby and union, and together they make decisions on how everyone else will live. Those on the inside get what they want. Those on the outside — well, they get what the big guys want them to have. That’s life in the big city. …
[I]t appears to be the way that Barack Obama, who once aspired to be mayor of Chicago, has decided to run his administration.
We can see that nowhere better than on the health care issue. Over the spring and summer, the White House door has been wide open to lobbyists from health care businesses. The doctors’ lobby has gotten promises that physician payments won’t be knocked down too much. In return, they are expected to lobby for whatever bill the congressional Democrats come up with.
The pharmaceutical firms’ lobbyist, former House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, has gotten assurances that his clients’ business model won’t be wrecked any more than it already has been by stringent regulation. In return PhRMA is running TV ads for health care reform.
The health insurance companies were on board, too. Until, that is, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus presented his bill requiring them to cover anyone who applies but exacting only small fines from healthy individuals who decide not to buy insurance until they get sick. Since this looked like a quick road to bankruptcy, the health insurers’ lobby commissioned a study that pointed out, correctly I think, that the Baucus bill would increase the cost of insurance to those who already have it. …
So the health insurers have been denounced by White House spokesmen and Democratic congressional leaders as foul fiends and gougers of working families. Prominent Democrats have been talking about revoking insurance companies’ exemption from the antitrust laws (granted so that small firms would have access to data needed to compete with the giants). Translated into Chicagoese: Nice little insurance company you got there. Too bad if something happened to it.
The same treatment is being given to Fox News, which according to White House spokesmen, “is not a news organization.” “Other news organizations, like yours,” Obama consigliere David Axelrod told ABC News, “ought not to treat them that way.”
In other words, when Fox breaks the news that the White House green czar is a self-proclaimed “Communist” or that operatives of pro-Obama ACORN have been aiding and abetting child prostitution, other news outlets should spike the story. …
Maybe Obama thought everyone in Washington would be his great friend. Having encountered un-Chicago-like dissent and disagreement, he has responded with classic Chicago brass knuckles. We’ll see how far this kind of thuggery gets him.

So far, actually, Obama’s thuggery doesn’t seem to be faring too well. Scott Rasmussen finds his “approval index” at a frigid -13. The worst news for Democrats is that among those who are both independent and likely voters, only 18 percent strongly approve of Obama’s performance while 42 percent strongly disapprove. Obama’s bullying tactics don’t seem to be playing well outside the hard-left Democratic base.

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