by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Victor Davis Hanson‘s latest column at National Review Online examines how President Obama’s embrace of Chicago-style politics has shaped his administration.
Senator Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) was a vocal critic both of President Obama’s executive-action opening to Cuba and his nuclear non-proliferation talks with Iran. In the midst of his loud opposition, he found himself suddenly indicted by a federal attorney on charges that had aired much earlier without consequence. I think the message was not that the administration was worried over appearances, but rather that it wished to remind all of Washington that it actually welcomed the appearance of not being worried over the idea of federal prosecutorial power being used for tit-for-tat vendettas. Malice is a valuable political tool for Barack Obama. …
… The point is not that all this is outrageous, but rather that it is deliberately outrageous, again begging the question, “So what are you going to do about it?” Obama’s Chicago sense appeals to the lowest common denominator: The more brazenly he is making a point, the more he thinks he will earn a certain admiration from his base, a sense of some sort that he is capable of anything and that progressive morality trumps antiquated laws. The full Obama reminds me of a high-school incident when a teacher corralled an aggressor accused of serially bullying another student; when he asked the perpetrator to apologize to his target, the aggressor instead slugged his victim in front of the teacher, and shouted, “What are you going to do about it?”