Obama Appoints Class Warfare Czar to Save New York

Rahm Emanuel may have gone back to Chicago to manage the leftist thuggery farm team, but his spirit lives on in the Obama administration. Emanuel's famous dictum, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," is apparently informing Obama's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Obama's clever use of Chris Christie to score "bipartisanship" points in the final days of the election campaign was just the beginning of the plan. On November 15, Obama, speaking in New York, announced his choice of a federal "point person" in dealing with the recovery efforts.

On the federal level, because this is going to be such a big job, I wanted to assign one particular person who would be in charge from our perspective, who would be our point person -- because FEMA basically runs the recovery process, it doesn't focus on the rebuilding. For that, we've got to have all government agencies involved. Janet Napolitano has done a great job with respect to DHS, but we thought it would be good to have a New Yorker who is going to be the point person. And so our outstanding HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan, who used to be the head of the New York Housing Authority -- so he knows a little bit about New York and building -- is going to be our point person. And he's going to be working with the mayor, the governor, the borough presidents, the county officials to make sure that we come up with a strong, effective plan. And then, I'll be working with the members of Congress to do everything we can to get the resources needed to rebuild. And I have every confidence that Shaun is going to be doing a great job, and so people should feel some confidence about that.

As if the names FEMA and Napolitano were not enough to inspire confidence that the federal government is managing the situation as well as could be hoped, Obama has taken the trouble to assign as his "point person" Donovan, whose views on housing and development are straight out of Benito Mussolini's urban planning handbook. Obama has "every confidence" in this method, so you should "feel some confidence" too.

Here is Donovan quoted in the New York Times from 2006, describing his general philosophy of housing policy:

I would never believe that the private sector, left to its own devices, is the best possible solution. I'm in government because of the role of government in setting rules and working in partnership with the private sector. On the other hand, there's no way you could ever get to a scale that can really affect the housing problems in this country without working with the market.

Here is the happy-faced summation of the left's mindset, and the blithe elision of the anti-liberty instincts of the regulatory class: "I'm in government because of the role of government in setting rules and working in partnership with the private sector." For "setting rules" here, read "rigging the market." Having first set the rules in this manner, the "partnership" to which he refers is approximately analogous to the "partnership" between a protection racket and the shop owner who has been intimidated into paying the protection money.

And here is Donovan this year, while serving as HUD secretary, in an editorial championing the "$25 billion mortgage servicing settlement that Bank of America and four other servicers agreed to this spring":

Obviously, the settlement won't solve all housing problems overnight, and I recognize the skepticism some may have about whether or not the banks will live up to their obligations. But for me, the story of [homeowner] Katie Diaz and the countless others like her does not suggest that the settlement is failing -- but rather the importance of holding the banks' feet to the fire in the months to come.

With tough new standards soon to be in place -- and an Independent Monitor with the authority to enforce them -- I'm confident we will.

He's confident that the "tough new standards" will successfully "hold the banks' feet to the fire" in order to force them to "live up to their obligations," especially now that the government will have a new "Independent Monitor" with enforcement authority -- in spite of understandable "skepticism some may have" about the willingness of the banks to cooperate.

This is not an SEIU rabble rouser, or a Communist Party Obama supporter. This is a member of the president's cabinet. The explicit "eat the rich," 99%, class warfare vocabulary in this op-ed would have been fairly shocking, even for a Democratic administration, prior to the current one. Now, of course, it is so commonplace, including from the president himself, that we hardly even notice anymore.

We must notice. It is essential at this moment that conservatives not become so inured to this type of radical rhetoric from Obama's politburo that we simply let it pass for normal in public discussion. It is not normal. All the Democrats' old speechifying pretenses of believing in America and liberty have been dropped. The governing left now shares one voice with its non-governing cultural goon squad. They are all in with the post-Marxist language of class hatred. When the word "proletariat" actually starts slipping into their speeches in place of "middle class," will anyone even blink?

The slow progress in recovering a semblance of normality from the initial crisis of Sandy -- a testament to the blithering incompetence of the bureaucratic regulatory apparatus, and the sad deprivation of private initiative it inculcates -- is now going to be exploited (and exacerbated) by the Obama administration. An "Affordable Housing Even If We Have to Crush the Greedy Rich In Order to Provide It" czar has been assigned to the case -- have no fear, it's Big Regulator to the rescue. And make no mistake, his role is not to help with recovery per se, but, as his boss says, to "make sure" that state and local officials come up with "a strong, effective plan." In other words, he will be "setting the rules" from Washington. No plan is as effective as a plan regulated by the federal government.

What do you think "a strong, effective plan" for New York which meets with the approval of Shaun Donovan is likely to look like? And how much of the money Obama promises to squeeze out of Congress to pay for this "plan" is likely to be used effectively to rebuild anything? This is the spirit of the "social democratic" left in microcosm: the first priority in any crisis is to subsume the entire situation within the overarching authority of a man who believes his mission in life is "setting rules."

Rahm Emanuel may have gone back to Chicago to manage the leftist thuggery farm team, but his spirit lives on in the Obama administration. Emanuel's famous dictum, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," is apparently informing Obama's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Obama's clever use of Chris Christie to score "bipartisanship" points in the final days of the election campaign was just the beginning of the plan. On November 15, Obama, speaking in New York, announced his choice of a federal "point person" in dealing with the recovery efforts.

On the federal level, because this is going to be such a big job, I wanted to assign one particular person who would be in charge from our perspective, who would be our point person -- because FEMA basically runs the recovery process, it doesn't focus on the rebuilding. For that, we've got to have all government agencies involved. Janet Napolitano has done a great job with respect to DHS, but we thought it would be good to have a New Yorker who is going to be the point person. And so our outstanding HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan, who used to be the head of the New York Housing Authority -- so he knows a little bit about New York and building -- is going to be our point person. And he's going to be working with the mayor, the governor, the borough presidents, the county officials to make sure that we come up with a strong, effective plan. And then, I'll be working with the members of Congress to do everything we can to get the resources needed to rebuild. And I have every confidence that Shaun is going to be doing a great job, and so people should feel some confidence about that.

As if the names FEMA and Napolitano were not enough to inspire confidence that the federal government is managing the situation as well as could be hoped, Obama has taken the trouble to assign as his "point person" Donovan, whose views on housing and development are straight out of Benito Mussolini's urban planning handbook. Obama has "every confidence" in this method, so you should "feel some confidence" too.

Here is Donovan quoted in the New York Times from 2006, describing his general philosophy of housing policy:

I would never believe that the private sector, left to its own devices, is the best possible solution. I'm in government because of the role of government in setting rules and working in partnership with the private sector. On the other hand, there's no way you could ever get to a scale that can really affect the housing problems in this country without working with the market.

Here is the happy-faced summation of the left's mindset, and the blithe elision of the anti-liberty instincts of the regulatory class: "I'm in government because of the role of government in setting rules and working in partnership with the private sector." For "setting rules" here, read "rigging the market." Having first set the rules in this manner, the "partnership" to which he refers is approximately analogous to the "partnership" between a protection racket and the shop owner who has been intimidated into paying the protection money.

And here is Donovan this year, while serving as HUD secretary, in an editorial championing the "$25 billion mortgage servicing settlement that Bank of America and four other servicers agreed to this spring":

Obviously, the settlement won't solve all housing problems overnight, and I recognize the skepticism some may have about whether or not the banks will live up to their obligations. But for me, the story of [homeowner] Katie Diaz and the countless others like her does not suggest that the settlement is failing -- but rather the importance of holding the banks' feet to the fire in the months to come.

With tough new standards soon to be in place -- and an Independent Monitor with the authority to enforce them -- I'm confident we will.

He's confident that the "tough new standards" will successfully "hold the banks' feet to the fire" in order to force them to "live up to their obligations," especially now that the government will have a new "Independent Monitor" with enforcement authority -- in spite of understandable "skepticism some may have" about the willingness of the banks to cooperate.

This is not an SEIU rabble rouser, or a Communist Party Obama supporter. This is a member of the president's cabinet. The explicit "eat the rich," 99%, class warfare vocabulary in this op-ed would have been fairly shocking, even for a Democratic administration, prior to the current one. Now, of course, it is so commonplace, including from the president himself, that we hardly even notice anymore.

We must notice. It is essential at this moment that conservatives not become so inured to this type of radical rhetoric from Obama's politburo that we simply let it pass for normal in public discussion. It is not normal. All the Democrats' old speechifying pretenses of believing in America and liberty have been dropped. The governing left now shares one voice with its non-governing cultural goon squad. They are all in with the post-Marxist language of class hatred. When the word "proletariat" actually starts slipping into their speeches in place of "middle class," will anyone even blink?

The slow progress in recovering a semblance of normality from the initial crisis of Sandy -- a testament to the blithering incompetence of the bureaucratic regulatory apparatus, and the sad deprivation of private initiative it inculcates -- is now going to be exploited (and exacerbated) by the Obama administration. An "Affordable Housing Even If We Have to Crush the Greedy Rich In Order to Provide It" czar has been assigned to the case -- have no fear, it's Big Regulator to the rescue. And make no mistake, his role is not to help with recovery per se, but, as his boss says, to "make sure" that state and local officials come up with "a strong, effective plan." In other words, he will be "setting the rules" from Washington. No plan is as effective as a plan regulated by the federal government.

What do you think "a strong, effective plan" for New York which meets with the approval of Shaun Donovan is likely to look like? And how much of the money Obama promises to squeeze out of Congress to pay for this "plan" is likely to be used effectively to rebuild anything? This is the spirit of the "social democratic" left in microcosm: the first priority in any crisis is to subsume the entire situation within the overarching authority of a man who believes his mission in life is "setting rules."