Obama Rewards His Enemies and Punishes His Friends
- Bob FertikWant to meet our members? Click 'Join' above!
Unlike other bloggers, I haven't treated each Obama appointment as a litmus test on his administration. But after a series of appointments, a pattern is emerging, and it's not a good one.
Since the beginning of Democracy, the basic rule of politics has been "reward your friends and punish your enemies." George Bush considers it his greatest accomplishment:
“I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process,” Bush said in the interview. “I came to Washington with a set of values, and I’m leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn’t going to sacrifice those values.”
Unfortunately Obama's rule appears to be the opposite: reward your enemies and punish your friends.
Hillary Clinton was Obama's "enemy," at least in raw political terms. So she's getting a big reward: Secretary of State. Rahm Emanuel was a key supporter of Hillary Clinton, even though Emanuel lives in Illinois. So he got a big reward too: Chief of Staff.
Next to John McCain and Sarah Palin, no one campaigned harder against Obama than Joe Lieberman. So Obama rewarded Lieberman with the chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
George Bush did everything he could to elect McCain, including fundraising and the services of Karl Rove and his political assassination squad, who convinced half of red-state voters that Obama isn't a Christian. And despite Obama's overwhelming mandate for change, Bush is cramming last-minute rule changes down Obama's throat. So Obama is rewarding Bush by keeping Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, along with all his neocon deputies.
How many of Obama's progressive friends have been rewarded? Almost none.
The only progressive appointment so far is Melody Barnes as Domestic Policy Advisor. Can you name any previous Domestic Policy Advisor? Neither can I.
Because Obama has rewarded his enemies and punished his friends, his appointments are winning raves from all the wrong people, including Mitch McConnell, David Brooks, Joe Lieberman, Karl Rove, Max Boot, James Baker, Michael Goldfarb, John McCain, Lamar Alexander, Henry Kissinger, Lindsey Graham, Ed Rollins, Condi Rice, and Peggy Noonan. These are the people who supported every horrendous decision by George Bush, especially the disastrous and criminal invasion of Iraq and the massive transfer of wealth from working families to the rich. They should be driven out of politics, not embraced.
A key litmus test for Obama will be whether he decides to investigate the crimes of the Bush administration or cover them up. As a candidate, Obama told Will Bunch, "if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated."
So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing betyween really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.
All of Obama's friends want Bush's crimes to be investigated and prosecuted. The only opponents are Obama's rightwing enemies, including Bill Kristol, the Federalist Society. Will Obama reward his enemies or his friends?