President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
Updated: March 3, 2014 12:26PM
Barack Obama complains his inability to get his agenda through Congress is the fault of . . . Rush Limbaugh. Yes, the president of the United States says he’s blocked by a talk radio commentator. Is it any wonder that Obama is perceived on the world stage as a weak leader?
Obama’s complaint came in an interview with New Yorker magazine. “The issue has been the inability of my message to penetrate the Republican base so that they feel persuaded that I’m not the caricature that you see on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, but I’m somebody who is interested in solving problems and is pretty practical,” he said.
Obama brushed aside grumbling from Democrats as well as Republicans that he doesn’t spend enough time and effort building bridges with Congress. He asserted that nothing he could say or do would overcome Republican opposition. So why try?
Of course, we’ll never know because he never tried to work across the aisle in any meaningful way. From the start of his administration, it’s been his way or the highway. No GOP ideas were accepted when it came to trying to help the economy or reform access to health insurance. Rush Limbaugh had nothing to do with that other than to point out inconvenient truths about it.
Obama’s comments to the New Yorker weren’t about policy, but politics. It was more attacking his foes, more demonizing anyone who doesn’t accept his positions as gospel.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York chimed in with more along that line in a speech to the left-wing Center for American Progress. He griped about the “Rush Limbaughs” but directed most of his fire at the Tea Party movement and its financial backers. Schumer urged the Internal Revenue Service to double down on targeting Tea Party groups. “It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies — we must redouble those efforts immediately,” Schumer said.
The corrupt Nixon administration dreamed of using the IRS against its political enemies but couldn’t make it happen. Now, the Obama White House and Democrats like Schumer, cheered on by liberal mainstream media allies, no longer hide ambitions that were shameful for Nixon.
Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal disclosed that in negotiations to pass the budget bill funding government, Democrats abandoned policy priorities, such as Obama’s pre-kindergarten program, to maintain the IRS authority to monitor conservative nonprofits and punish them if government bureaucrats, a Democratic constituency, deem the Tea Party organizations to have crossed some arbitrary line on sanctioned political speech.
The tax man deciding what’s allowable in political speech — how does that square with the First Amendment injunction “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech”? This is the metastasis of campaign “finance reform,” in reality policing of speech. Obama and Democrats like Schumer are setting precedents that will haunt our republic unless the Supreme Court intervenes — and soon.