Why Obama Deserves Donald Trump
In light of the rumors of an alleged divorce proceeding involving Barack and Michelle Obama, the records of which Donald Trump is said to have in his possession, it might be useful to revisit Obama's own history of exploiting opponents' divorces.
Before signing on with Obama for the 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, David Axelrod interviewed with the candidate favored to win the Illinois Democratic primary, multi-millionaire Blair Hull. Known for his aggressive oppositional research, beginning with his own candidate, Axelrod quickly learned of Hull's Achilles' heel, a protection order that Hull's second wife had applied for during a nasty divorce proceeding. Axelrod did not think Hull could survive its disclosure and opted instead to work with underdog Obama.
About a month before the primary, the Chicago Tribune, Axelrod's former employer, broke the news of the protective order. With the Tribune pushing for disclosure, Hull's ship sunk as swiftly as Howard Dean's after his "I Have a Scream" speech earlier that year in Iowa. Although Axelrod has denied involvement in leaking the story, the Tribune reporter who broke it would later concede that Team Obama had ''worked aggressively behind the scenes'' to get the story out.
This, of course, is only half the story. Having successfully disgraced Hull, the Tribune went to work on Obama's opponent in the general election, Republican Jack Ryan. Ryan was formidable. A Wall Street multi-millionaire with an MBA and JD from Harvard, he retired from Goldman Sachs while still in his forties to teach at an inner-city Chicago parochial school.
Ryan too was divorced and endured a bitter child custody battle five years before the 2004 election. The Tribune's attorney filed a petition to get these records unsealed over Ryan's objections. "What dad wouldn't try to keep information about your child, that might be detrimental to the world knowing, private?" asked Ryan of the Tribune. The Tribune could not care less. Its attorneys prevailed upon California Judge Robert Schnider to unseal portions of the Ryans' divorce file.
"Ryan file a bombshell" read the Tribune headline after the unsealing. "Republican U.S. Senate nominee Jack Ryan's ex-wife, TV actress Jeri Ryan, accused him of taking her to sex clubs in New York and Paris," read the story's opening paragraph, "where he tried to coerce her into having sex with him in front of strangers, according to records released Monday from the couple's California divorce file."
At the time of the filing Ryan had labeled the charges "ridiculous" and accused his wife of trying to libel him with what he called "smut," but in 2004, with Obamamania gearing up, the Tribune had little interest in the truth. Ryan's career died with the revelation, and Obama was on his way to Boston for the DNC keynote speech that would propel him to political stardom.
Bottom line: even if Trump is bluffing, Obama deserves the anxiety.