With a series of private meetings and public taunts, the White House has targeted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest-spending pro-business lobbying group in the country; Rush Limbaugh, the country’s most-listened-to conservative commentator; and now, with a new volley of combative rhetoric in recent days, the insurance industry, Wall Street executives and Fox News.
Obama aides are using their powerful White House platform, combined with techniques honed in the 2008 campaign, to cast some of the most powerful adversaries as out of the mainstream and their criticism as unworthy of serious
So, if you all remember President Bush's prnouncement, "you're either with us or against us", well, the current president has a similar pronouncement. The only difference is that the former president meant Americans' enemies whereas the current president means his own ideological enemies.
The irony here is just how much this breaks his campaign pledge to rise above partisanship, to unite, and to be a politician that is different than the norm. In fact, this is the Chicago Way politics. If you're an alderman in Chicago and you challenge the Mayor, watch how many, or better yet few, police start showing up in your ward. If you're a media person and ask a tough question he just unloads on you in what columnist John Kass calls his Chucky mode. If you're a whistle blower, you get targeted, harrassed, and moved. This is part of the hardball politics in Chicago that has made it one of the most cynically political places in the country.
This is also very much the opposite of how the former president treated his critics. President Bush rarely addressed criticisms. In fact, most said that the former president did a terrible job of taking on accusations that he lied about Iraq and other criticisms. Of course, the president isn't taking on his criticisms as much as his critics. He's shooting the messenger. For instance, when the insurance companies came out with their Price Waterhouse study, the president didn't address the conclusion in the study. The conclusion was simple. If the penalty for not having insurance is small and no one can refuse coverage for a pre existing condition, then many people will pay the fine and only get insurance when they get sick. That will drive up everyone's costs. Instead, the president demonized the insurance companies. Fox News has been ahead of the curve in covering waste in the stimulus, Van Jones, Anita Dunn, etc. The White House never explained why they hired Van Jones. In fact, Jones blamed his dismissal on a right wing cabal. Instead, the White House attacked Fox News.
Daley does the exact sort of a thing. He only goes into full Chucky mode (which is essentially an uncontrolled and scary bully face) when he's asked an uncomfortable question. He targets those that point out corruption within his administration. He targets those alderman that, however rarely, take him on. This is exactly what President Obama is doing. Of course, the Chicago Way is the exact opposite of what the president said he'd govern like. Of course being different was a theme of his campaign. He isn't different but in fact he's worse than the average politicians. All politicians have enemies and all challenge their enemies in some way. Few are as cut throat as Obama is. So much for trascending politics.