Punishing Enemies and Rewarding Friends

Marcus Ebenhack

A Barack Obama campaign speech is generally long on soaring, stylistic rhetoric but woefully short on much resembling substance. Yet there is one campaign promise Mr. Obama has delivered on in spades. Before the 2010 midterm elections Mr. Obama, speaking to a Latino group, in an effort to rally support for Democrats famously encouraged them to help "punish our enemies and reward our friends." Never mind that Mr. Obama had placed Latinos on the back burner for the first two years of his presidency - two years in which his party held majorities in both the Senate and House. He needed them now.

Mr. Obama's proclivity for rewarding his friends is legion; billions in Department of Energy loan subsidies to green energy cronies, untold Obamacare waivers to union buddies and Nancy Pelosi constituents, stacking the NLRB with unconstitutional recess appointments of union stooges, and suing Boeing for building a plant in a right to work state.You get the picture.

And when it comes to punishing enemies, Mr. Obama is no piker either.   He is not above sacking Inspectors General with the temerity to cross him.  In June of 2009 IG Gerald Walpin was forced from his position for applying a little too much "transparency" to Obama friend and supporter Kevin Johnson, the Mayor of Sacramento, for misuse of government funds.  In fact, countless IG position have gone unfilled during Mr. Obama's tenure. It would appear he isn't quite the fan of transparency or government efficiency he would have us believe.

On the strength of the Tea Party wave, Mr. Obama's Democrats took a WWF style beat down in the 2010 mid-terms but he is not one to forget.  As we are now learning, it wasn't long after this that the IRS began targeting conservative organizations for added scrutiny, harassment and in some cases criminal leaks of private information. This effectively sidelined the majority of these organizations throughout his 2012 re-election bid.

In fact, when it comes to rewarding friends and punishing enemies, I would say we've finally found something that Mr. Obama is good at.  To demonstrate just how good it can be to be a "friend" of Barack's or just how bad it can be to be an "enemy" let's look at two examples.

John Corzine, former Democratic Governor of New Jersey, CEO of MF Global and big time Obama campaign bundler is completely overlooked by Obama's Department of Justice after a billion dollars of customer funds "go missing" from his shop.  Not to worry though, this minor setback didn't stop Mr. Corzine from bundling over half a million dollars for Obama in the 2012 election cycle.  It's good to have friends. 

Meanwhile Jesse Jackson Jr. is looking at doing four years in the big house, his wife 18 months and having their homes in both Chicago and Washington D.C seized by the feds for spending a mere $750,000 in campaign booty and filing false tax returns.

Perhaps if Jesse Sr. hadn't made the unforgivable mistake of using a slang reference to wanting to cut off Obama's testicles, to paraphrase NPR, on a hot microphone on national television then Jesse Jr. and his wife might not be facing financial ruin and looking forward to spending their nights at Club Fed instead of their tony mansions.

Mel Brooks really nailed it when he said "It's good to be the king."


A Barack Obama campaign speech is generally long on soaring, stylistic rhetoric but woefully short on much resembling substance. Yet there is one campaign promise Mr. Obama has delivered on in spades. Before the 2010 midterm elections Mr. Obama, speaking to a Latino group, in an effort to rally support for Democrats famously encouraged them to help "punish our enemies and reward our friends." Never mind that Mr. Obama had placed Latinos on the back burner for the first two years of his presidency - two years in which his party held majorities in both the Senate and House. He needed them now.

Mr. Obama's proclivity for rewarding his friends is legion; billions in Department of Energy loan subsidies to green energy cronies, untold Obamacare waivers to union buddies and Nancy Pelosi constituents, stacking the NLRB with unconstitutional recess appointments of union stooges, and suing Boeing for building a plant in a right to work state.You get the picture.

And when it comes to punishing enemies, Mr. Obama is no piker either.   He is not above sacking Inspectors General with the temerity to cross him.  In June of 2009 IG Gerald Walpin was forced from his position for applying a little too much "transparency" to Obama friend and supporter Kevin Johnson, the Mayor of Sacramento, for misuse of government funds.  In fact, countless IG position have gone unfilled during Mr. Obama's tenure. It would appear he isn't quite the fan of transparency or government efficiency he would have us believe.

On the strength of the Tea Party wave, Mr. Obama's Democrats took a WWF style beat down in the 2010 mid-terms but he is not one to forget.  As we are now learning, it wasn't long after this that the IRS began targeting conservative organizations for added scrutiny, harassment and in some cases criminal leaks of private information. This effectively sidelined the majority of these organizations throughout his 2012 re-election bid.

In fact, when it comes to rewarding friends and punishing enemies, I would say we've finally found something that Mr. Obama is good at.  To demonstrate just how good it can be to be a "friend" of Barack's or just how bad it can be to be an "enemy" let's look at two examples.

John Corzine, former Democratic Governor of New Jersey, CEO of MF Global and big time Obama campaign bundler is completely overlooked by Obama's Department of Justice after a billion dollars of customer funds "go missing" from his shop.  Not to worry though, this minor setback didn't stop Mr. Corzine from bundling over half a million dollars for Obama in the 2012 election cycle.  It's good to have friends. 

Meanwhile Jesse Jackson Jr. is looking at doing four years in the big house, his wife 18 months and having their homes in both Chicago and Washington D.C seized by the feds for spending a mere $750,000 in campaign booty and filing false tax returns.

Perhaps if Jesse Sr. hadn't made the unforgivable mistake of using a slang reference to wanting to cut off Obama's testicles, to paraphrase NPR, on a hot microphone on national television then Jesse Jr. and his wife might not be facing financial ruin and looking forward to spending their nights at Club Fed instead of their tony mansions.

Mel Brooks really nailed it when he said "It's good to be the king."