Arguments go back and forth about whether or not the Obama administration is really "socialist" in the sense that they wish to control the means of production, takeover all businesses, and put the "people" (unions) in charge.
Wherever you come down on this issue, there is no denying the straight line from Obama's Chicago roots and ways of getting things done to the White House. I wrote about it a while back when Chrysler dealers were being closed down, in a post I called "Not Socialism: Gangsterism:"
It can happen because we are barking up the wrong tree when we accuse the Democrats of practicing socialism. Any Chicagoan recognizes what's going on as pure gangsterism - the application of power through the use blackmail, threats, and pure muscle and the devil take the Constitution, the rule of law, and simple fairness.
It can happen because we've elected a president who aggrandizes power unto himself while running roughshod over individual rights.
It can happen because we are allowing it to happen. We are too busy, too worried about the economy, too frightened of the future, and too complacent about the idea that "It could never happen here." It's happening now and not enough of us are raising our voices in protest. Not enough of us are demanding that our politicians be held to account for meekly accepting Obama's fait accomplis.
Since I wrote that, the Obama Mob has come down like a ton of bricks on numerous other targets, using tactics not seen since the Nixon administration - and some that Nixon would never have dared to try.
Kim Strassel at the Wall Street Journal channels the now familiar dialogue from The Untouchables to explain what the administration is doing:
In recent weeks the Windy City gang added a new name to their list of societal offenders: the Chamber of Commerce. For the cheek of disagreeing with Democrats on climate and financial regulation, it was reported the Oval Office will neuter the business lobby. Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett slammed the outfit as "old school," and warned CEOs they'd be wise to seek better protection.
That was after the president accused the business lobby of false advertising. And that recent black eye for the Chamber (when several companies, all with Democratic ties, quit in a huff)-think that happened on its own? ("Somebody messes with me, I'm gonna mess with him! Somebody steals from me, I'm gonna say you stole. Not talk to him for spitting on the sidewalk. Understand!?")
The Chamber can at least take comfort in crowds. Who isn't on the business end of the White House's sawed-off shotgun? First up were Chrysler bondholders who-upon balking at a White House deal that rewarded only unions-were privately threatened and then publicly excoriated by the president.
Next, every pharmaceutical, hospital and insurance executive in the nation was held out as a prime obstacle to health-care nirvana. And that was their reward for cooperating. When Humana warned customers about cuts to Medicare under "reform," the White House didn't bother to complain. They went straight for the gag order.
Ed Lasky adds a few more examples:
Strassel was remiss is not quoting Obama himself who taunted opponents that "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." Great for a man who campaigned on doing away with violence among inner city youth.
Let's also not forget that he riled the mob against bank execs and then in a meeting with them to intimidate them he bragged that he was the only one standing between them and the pitchforks .
How about another one? Well he threatened to send the IRS to audit officials from Arizona State University who refused to grant him an honorary degree, citing his lack of experience (though that was no bar for the European leftists who see one of their own and gave him a Nobel Peace Prize).
I think a big problem about countering this administration is that most of us are in a state of shock that an American president would use such tactics - and as Strassel says - use them so openly, so brazenly.
Reminds me of that old Star Trek episode where Kirk lands on a planet that governs itself using gangs from Chicago of the 1920's as a model. It was played for laughs but the lessons were there. What the administration is doing is beyond bare knuckle, power politics. It is government by intimidation, by threat, by punishment for acting against it's interests.
Sounds an awful lot like a Chicago gang to me.