Who Is On The President’s Enemies List? Romney Donors
April 28, 2012 2 Comments
The President has an enemies list and he’s gone public with it. Who are the enemies? People who donate to the Romney campaign. His campaign has named eight Romney donors who have allegedly committed the sin of shipping jobs overseas. The President’s campaign suggested these people have “less than reputable records.” The Wall Street Journal does a good job pointing out the danger of having a President publicly attack private citizens and the potential chilling effect it could have on speech and donations to the Romney campaign. The President does after all have the power to indict and the power of the IRS. The alternative of giving to the Romney campaign though may be donating to a Super PAC, which doesn’t disclose donors.
Just a few months ago the President stepped into the silly Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke situation declaring he didn’t like to see private citizens attacked. Two months later and it’s acceptable for Obama’s campaign to attack Romney donors. Truth be told, Obama has never had a problem attacking private citizens. Remember Joe the Plumber? The Obama campaign spent much of October 2008 trying to discredit him. Obama’s campaign has posted a number of “updates” on the Koch Brothers. Never mind that the Koch’s are private citizens. Obama’s outrage over Limbaugh attacking Fluke is comical in light of the public attacks he’s made on private citizens.
In attacking Romney donors, the President opens himself up to attack over his donors. Romney ought not do it himself, his surrogates ought to. We don’t know any of Obama’s specific donors but we do know that disgraced MF Global head Jon Corzine, who lost $1 billion in client money, has bundled $500,000 for Obama. We know that in 2008 BP and Goldman Sachs employees donated quite a bit to Obama’s campaign. It’s a safe bet that if Romney surrogates combed though the Obama campaign donor list they would find any number of “objectionable” donors. Based on the Obama campaign’s definition of objectionable the list ought to be large.
Obama’s campaign is making a huge mistake in attacking Romney’s donors directly. It’s always much better for a President to keep some distance between himself and the campaign fray. Peggy Noonan recently said we have a ‘bush league’ President. She cites other examples, but attacking your opponents donors directly is bush league. It’s something for the bloggers and third party organizations to do, it’s not something the President’s campaign ought to be doing. It looks like an enemies list, with the enemies being Republicans. The last President with an enemies list resigned office in disgrace. The President immediately before Nixon also was one to have an enemies list, the public didn’t much like him either. That should be a lesson for Obama, unfortunately this President is generally obtuse on political matters.
The office of President is one of great trust. It’s an office that historically has been revered by Americans. When the President attacks private citizens, it comes off as unseemly and potentially dangerous. Obama often forgets that the tradition in America is distrust of power. When his campaign attacks private citizens, people don’t see a campaign attacking but rather they see the President attacking. Especially so since he’s the head of his campaign. Being distrustful of power, the American public generally frowns upon such attacks, especially for people who have committed no crime. Obama doesn’t seem to understand that or he doesn’t care. He’s attacked private citizens throughout his term, whether it’s the Koch brothers or other private Republicans.
There’s something very unpresidential about this but he’s done it throughout his term. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised when his campaign attacks specific Romney donors. This is a President who has attempted to chill any attack against him through intimidation and various bush league tactics. Think inviting Paul Ryan to a press conference than attacking him throughout, think telling the opposition he won and therefore won’t listen to him, think about his speech to latino voters where he told them to vote against their “enemies.” Obama has consistently tried to intimidate Republicans into silence, when the GOP won’t be silent he throws a hissy fit. His campaign has reflected the President. It has attacked private citizens and Republican donors for four years. It has tried to intimidate people into silence (think Attack Watch). Unfortunately attacking specific Romney donors isn’t a surprise. What Romney needs to do in response is nothing. Romney should not issue a press release attacking Obama donors. He should remain above the fray.