Dueling for Control: Onward and “Barackward” in the West Wing

By: Jeffrey Klein, Political Buzz Examiner

In a case of here we go again, President Barack Obama suffered the resignation of yet another key advisor last week–namely his Chief of Staff, William “Bill” Daley, who is the youngest son of legendary, long-time Chicago Mayor, Richard J. Daley.

Bill Daley is also the younger brother of recently retired Chicago Mayor, Richard M. Daley, who was replaced in January 2011 by newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel–Obama’s original Chief of Staff, who Bill Daley was chosen to replace.

A very cozy Chicago inner-circle.

Bill Daley was heralded as having a significant skill set that was not prevalent in the Obama administration, particularly big league private sector business experience, most recently as the Vice Chairman of J.P. Morgan, and equally important, a healthy Rolodex of relationships in both the business and political world, including Republicans.

And, Daley was no political featherweight, having served as President Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce, and VP Al Gore’s hard fought 2000 Presidential bid against former President George W. Bush.

The hope was that Daley could help the White House reconcile its’ relationship with the business community and the Republicans in Congress–a tall order, all things considered.

However, in November 2011, just ten months into Daley’s tenure, President Obama “transferred” numerous important duties from Daley, to a Senior Aide, Pete Rouse, which, according to Ben Feller’s Associated Press article, significantly “diminished” Daley’s responsibility level…and stature in the White House–no doubt prompting his resignation.

Daley’s replacement, is giving me cause to pause, because he is Jacob “Jack” Lew, who before this moment was Obama’s White House Office of Management and Budget Director–who hasn’t produced a product–at least one that was viable–in over 900 days–since Obama’s inauguration.

When interviewed by Politico’s Roger Simon at the end of October 2011, the exiting Obama Chief of Staff explained his “frustration” in the position.

“It’s been a brutal three years … It’s been a very, very difficult three years, an incredible three years. And we are doing all this under the overhang of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. F–k! It wasn’t like all this was happening in good times.”

Daley said that “on the domestic side, both Democrats and Republicans have really made it very difficult for the president to be anything like a chief executive. This has led to a kind of frustration,” according to Jake Tapper’s ABC News article today.

It is interesting that Daley’s monologue was exclusively “taking ownership” of the entire three years of Obama’s administration, even though he had only been in it barely a single year–as though the words were scripted for him as a limit to “what” little he was allowed to say about having held the most “intimate” with the President of the United States.

In my view, the intensity of emotion that Daley delivered during the Simon interview was in no way commensurate with the small volume and little meaning of the actual words that he used–kind of like watching a TV reporter repeatedly declaring … “It’s really cold out here!”—while he was prohibited from telling viewers it was being caused by “Nuclear Winter.”

Perhaps a recently released “tell-all” book by Jodi Kantor, titled “The Obamas,” can shed some light on an alternative reason for Daley’s departure–and maybe some of the other, recent numerous defections from the Obama administration.

In the book, based on a series of interviews with over 30 Obama administration aides, Kantor wrote that Michelle Obama had an intense distrust of former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, according to a FOXNews article yesterday.

“Michelle and Rahm Emanuel had almost no bond; their relationship was distant and awkward from the beginning,” Kantor wrote.

The book portrays Mrs. Obama [as] wanting to influence West Wing policymaking, but struggled with Hillary Clinton’s legacy

During a recent interview with Chicago Magazine, Kantor was asked whether Mrs. Obama wanted to be an adviser to the president, and she ‘described’ her ‘interpretation’ of the first lady’s belief as … “In the most private, intimate sense [“yes”]–[but] not in the sense of ‘I’m coming to your senior staff meeting.'”

On Sunday, Obama adviser David Axelrod said … “when she [Michelle] thinks things have been mishandled or when things are off the track … she’ll raise it, because she’s hugely invested in him [Barack].”

But, according to Kantor’s book, White House aides found themselves in the middle of the Obama marriage regularly. “The advisers could feel hopelessly caught between husband and wife. The Obama marriage was awkward for everyone: for the aides, for the president … and for the first lady.”

The clever staff coined a term for this awkward position … “Barackward.”

Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeffrey Klein


Ron Paul Campaign Uses Soros-Funded Research

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Rick Santorum told Ron Paul in Saturday’s debate: “You should know better than to cite George Soros-like organizations.” The comment came in response to attacks on Santorum’s record from the Texas Congressman and libertarian running in the Republican presidential primaries.

Exposed for using Soros-funded research in an attack ad charging that Santorum had been “one of the most corrupt” members of Congress, Paul had no explanation or response, except to say that “somebody” had done a survey attacking Santorum and he used it in the ad. The Ron Paul ad includes the line, “I’m Ron Paul and I approve this message.”

The exchange adds to Republican fears that Paul is trying to weaken or divide Republicans in order to guarantee Obama’s re-election.

The Soros organization alluded to by Santorum is the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). It is the source of the corruption charge against Santorum in the Ron Paul ad.

In the debate, Paul said that “…somebody did make a survey and I think he came out as one of the top corrupt individuals because he took so much money from the lobbyists.”

That “somebody” was CREW, a Soros-funded group that targets Republicans and conservatives.

Santorum shot back: “Let’s talk about the corruption issue. The person who—the group that called me corrupt was a group called CREW. If you haven’t been sued by CREW, you’re not a conservative. CREW is this left-wing organization that puts out a list every election of the top Republicans who have tough races and calls them all corrupt because they take contributions from PACs. It’s a ridiculous charge. And you should know better than to cite George Soros-like organizations to say that they’re corrupt.”

Former Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell was the subject of a false complaint from CREW, which was dismissed in July of this year. O’Donnell reacted by saying, “We are, of course, very pleased that the U.S. Attorney’s office has finally seen through the bogus CREW complaint and concluded it is without merit, because there was never any evidence to support their allegations. CREW interjected itself into the campaign within hours of my winning the Delaware GOP primary, even though CREW had no actual basis for its complaint. Even more troubling is that CREW, as a 501(c)(3) organization, is prohibited by law from intervening in political campaigns—but they more than intervened in the campaign, doing everything they could possibly do to sabotage my election.”

As a result, O’Donnell’s group, ChristinePAC, has asked the IRS to strip CREW of its tax exempt status for engaging in partisan political activities in violation of federal law. O’Donnell’s PAC has also released a video exposing CREW’S “illegal, partisan agenda” and highlighting Soros’s funding of the group. The video includes excerpts of an interview with CREW executive director Melanie Sloan talking about how the Soros-funded Open Society Institute (OSI) is “a very big donor” and that the OSI is “very happy with what we do.”

Another website devoted to exposing CREW says, “An analysis of CREW’s ‘watchdog’ activities reveals a systematic effort to disproportionately target Republicans and conservative-leaning groups with often-frivolous lawsuits, ethics complaints, and petitions for investigations by law enforcement agencies. An analysis of CREW’s activities demonstrates that it disproportionately targets conservatives by a ratio of more than 8-to-1. At the same time, the corresponding federal oversight agencies responsible for investigating CREW’s complaints indicates that, historically, Democrats have been investigated far more often for ethics violations.”

A Washington Times column by Robert Knight, “Time to disarm partisan CREW,” noted, “Like the American Civil Liberties Union, CREW occasionally goes after Democrats, if only to maintain a facade of nonpartisanship. For instance, CREW targeted disgraced New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel and Louisiana Rep. William ‘Cold Cash’ Jefferson, who hid $90,000 in his freezer. Its current list of ‘most corrupt’ members of Congress includes 10 Democrats in addition to 15 Republicans, up from just three Democrats and 17 Republicans in 2006. But overall, most of CREW’s bullets are fired at conservatives and Republicans.”

CREW went after Santorum years ago but its current Republican target is former House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. A review of its current news releases shows two attacking Gingrich and one highlighting Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, parent of Fox News, as “scoundrel of the year.”

Perhaps this has something to do with Fox News running a story on CREW’s frivolous complaints against Republicans.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].


Is there not one ethical, courageous Democrat?

Hat Tip: Nancy Jacques
By: Joel Fine/RedState
Cross-posted with permission…

Is there not one ethical, courageous Democrat?

The Obama administration’s actions in the recent past have by any measure set new records for cynicism and hypocrisy. Obama the Senator (c. 2006) and Obama the Presidential candidate (c. 2007-2008) repeatedly espoused positions that Obama the President (c. 2009-2012) has not only declined to endorse but dramatically repudiated. Pre-election Obama was going to reset international relations (oops), close Gitmo (oops), shrink the deficit (OMG, OOPS!), and swear off Presidential signing statements (oops, oops, and oops). The best of intentions and all that, right? Since then, Obama has abandoned positions with – well, with abandon.

But the unmitigated gall he showed last week in the brazen, unconstitutional power grab exemplified by the lawless “recess” appointments of three NLRB directors as well as the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau belongs in the chutzpah hall of fame.

I am no longer surprised when this administration does something of which I disapprove, no matter how strongly. But this posting is not about why – or even whether – those were poor decisions. Others at this site (see here, here, and here) and elsewhere have thoroughly and convincingly explained why Obama’s actions were unconstitutional. What does surprise me – indeed, alarms me – is the deafening silence, if not downright approval, from the Democrat side of the aisle in the face of these outrageous actions.

I have yet to see one Democrat in a leadership position – cabinet secretary, Congressman, governor – good Lord, I’d settle for a state legislator by now – publicly repudiate Obama’s choices. I don’t know of any that have left the party, resigned a position of power, or otherwise taken a stand to confront this most anti-democratic of administrations. Not one has said so much as, “Mr. President, I respect your intentions, your heart is in the right place; as a fellow Democrat, I am aligned with your goals; but this cannot stand.”

Now, one could argue that Democrats are only acting in their own self-interest. Obama is a Chicago pol, you might say, and will take his revenge on any who cross him. Power can be taken, committee assignments can be stripped, financial assistance for a re-election campaign can be withheld, primary opponents can be recruited. For a fellow Democrat to express strong, principled opposition to Obama’s malfeasance in office would bring enormous risks, and more likely than not would result in the termination of a political career. Just lay low for a year, you might imagine them saying to themselves; he’ll probably be gone and if I can avoid making waves I’ll survive the tsunami.

But this is small comfort. The Democratic Party represents, give or take, one half of the population of the United States, and has control of one-half or more of the institutions of power of this great country. It is not a fringe party clawing its way to relevance as a spoiler, or a coalition partner, as may be found in many European nations. It is a mainstream party, but it is tacitly approving of actions that are decidedly outside what should be the mainstream in our 236-year-old Constitutional Republic. A certain level of responsibility, of respect for traditions like the Rule of Law, of decorum, is de minimus. Ethics, and the courage to insist upon them, are not situational. Personal integrity cannot be suspended and resumed at will.

The complete absence of anyone in the party willing to challenge this administration, to speak truth to power, is not only unseemly; it is downright unhealthy. If voters fail to hold the Democratic Party accountable for this grievous lapse of judgment (or if the party manages to circumvent the will of the people and cling to power in spite of them – but that’s a topic for another post), then power-seekers will take note that integrity and adherence to ethics are now optional.

In the words of the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Obama’s assault on the Constitution is, if not evil, at the very least pernicious and corrosive. The monolithic silence from the Democratic Party communicates much.

I await a Democrat with the courage to speak out: to demonstrate integrity instead of expediency, and, if it comes to it, to show a willingness to forego a sinecure in the halls of power. Like Diogenes, I am looking – so far, in vain – for an honest man.


Jim’s Quote of the Day – 01/09/12


“When private industry makes a mistake, it gets corrected and goes away. As governments make mistakes, it gets bigger, bigger and bigger and they make more, more and more because as they run out of money, they just ask for more and so they get rewarded for making mistakes. In the meantime that is exactly what we are doing by subsidizing companies which are failing, we have a reverse Darwinism, we’ve got survival of the unfittest, the companies and people that have made terrible mistakes are being rewarded and other people are being punished and being taxed.” – Peter Schiff