Earlier today, John noted that “everywhere we look, our friends on the right are under attack.” In nearly all cases, the Obama administration is doing the attacking, be it through ridiculous criminal prosecution or harassment via the IRS, the FBI, the EPA, and even OSHA.
We shouldn’t be surprised. Obama has been attacking his political opponents through trumped up charges of unlawful activity since he first ran for president.
Hillary Clinton’s backers were Obama’s first victims. Again, this isn’t surprising. Clinton was Obama’s first important presidential opponent.
As Kim Strassel has pointed out, in the spring of 2008, the general counsel of Obama’s campaign, Bob Bauer, filed a complaint with the FEC against the American Leadership Project, a group backing Clinton. Bauer announced:
There’s going to be a reckoning here. It’s going to be rough — it’s going to be rough on the officers, it’s going to be rough on the employees, it’s going to be rough on the donors.
According to Strassel, the Obama campaign launched a similar attack on groups supporting its other Democratic rival, John Edwards.
The tactic worked. In August 2008, Politico reported that Bauer’s words had “the effect of scaring [Clinton and Edwards] donors and consultants,” even though they hadn’t “result[ed] in any prosecution.”
Naturally, Obama engaged in similar attacks on groups supporting Republican presidential candidates. In 2008, after the conservative American Issues Project ran an ad highlighting ties between candidate Obama and Bill Ayers, Bauer demanded that the criminal division of the Justice Department investigate AIP, “its officers and directors,” and its “anonymous donors.” He followed up by calling for the prosecution of AIP’s donor, who was not anonymous.
Fortunately, the Justice Department was not yet under Obama’s control.
In 2012, President Obama’s campaign used similar tactics against Romney supporters. According to Strassel, the Obama campaign, with Bauer still serving as its general counsel, targeted private citizens who had donated to Romney groups. Meanwhile, Democratic senators demanded that the IRS investigate these organizations.
Unfortunately, the IRS was now under Obama’s control. Its targeting of Republican donors is the result.
Bauer’s words from 2008 resonate today: “There’s going to be a reckoning. . .It’s going to be rough. . .on the officers, it’s going to be rough on the employees, it’s going to be rough on the donors.”
It’s going to be rough on a public intellectual who made an anti-Obama film; it’s going to be rough on organizers of grass roots conservative political groups; it’s going to be rough on big Republican donors of our acquaintance.
President Nixon was vilified by the mainstream media and impeached by Congress in large part because his conduct arguably threatened (albeit lamely) the proper functioning of our two-party political process. But the Obama administration presents a greater threat to the political process than that posed by an amateurish break-in to the DNC headquarters (which there was no evidence Nixon signed off on), contemplated use of the IRS against political enemies (which gave rise to an article of impeachment), and assorted tricks.
Nixon would like to have seen a reckoning for his political opponents. Obama is carrying one out.