Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Obama and his Enemies . . .

Rightwingers are the ultimate victims. Ted Olson(via Memeorandum), for example took to the Wall Street Journal today to whine on behalf of the Koch brothers, but his charges are exceedingly vague. He states:

Richard Nixon maintained an"enemies list" that singled out private citizens for investigation and abuse by agencies of government, including the Internal Revenue Service. When that was revealed, the press and public were outraged. That conduct will forever remain one of the indelible stains on Nixon's presidency and legacy

OK. So, has the Obama administration "singled out private citizens for investigation and abuse"? Olson is kind of sketchy. Giving utterly no specifics, Olson accuses the administration of "engag[ing] in derogatory speculative innuendo about the integrity of . . . tax returns." Obama is also guilty because his "surrogates and allies in the media" have "attacked" and "sullied" the reputation of the Kochs. Absent more specific charges of, you know, actual abuse; it seems as if the president stands accused of engaging in politics.

Reliable hack, Glenn Reynolds adds " I was talking to a CEO last year — an Obama supporter no less — who told me he was amazed at how openly Administration officials threatened to use media demonization if he didn’t play ball." So the administration will criticize those it disagrees with.

Molly Hemingway at Ricochet unwittingly (one is tempted to say "half-wittingly") explains why the comparison between the Nixon Enemies List and Obama's criticism of the Kochs is absurd: "Nixon's lists were secret. Obama is telegraphing his list in his very public rhetoric, the actions of the administration and the oversight of Congress." It was the secrecy of the first that made it so susceptible to abuse.

UPDATE: I should clarify the last line. Nixon's enemies list was secret because the purpose was abuse.

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