The Spectacle Blog

The Presidential Punisher

By on 10.15.13 | 10:59AM

We can’t say we weren’t warned.

In 2009, the president of the United States “joked” about auditing his political enemies.

Also in 2009, a senior White House official told the president’s supporters, “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.”

In 2010 President Obama exhorted supporters to “punish our enemies.”

In my lifetime I have not seen such malicious public rhetoric from a sitting president directed against his political opposition. 

And, sadly, the federal bureaucracy—overloaded with leftists with better job security than your average tenured college professor—heard the president’s punitive and vengeful message and acted on it.

If the House of Representatives exercises its constitutional powers over government spending, then Americans must suffer. In fact, the government must spend its resources to make sure that Americans suffer—money to block access to war memorials and other monuments (even though many of those monuments were kept open during the 1995 shutdown), evict private citizens from their homes and close private businesses, and even—in a stupendously petty act—block motorists from even looking at Mount Rushmore. 

In fact, the pettiness abounds: A jogger, out for his regular run through the woods of Valley Forge, returned to the trailhead to find police waiting for him with their lights flashing. He received a $100 ticket. Did it cost more to leave the trail open or to employ police to write the ticket? 

In McLean, Virginia, in a locally operated park leased from the federal government, the lacrosse fields were closed off by order of the president, shutting down the youth lacrosse league. The league had paid $5,000 to the local park district for the use of the park, but the president has to make the public feel pain, so damn the kids. Fortunately the league fought back and filed a federal suit. The court ruled in its favor and forced the president to open the park. Score at least one win against the Presidential Punisher…for now. 

But for sheer vengeance and malice, nothing can match Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's decision to delay death benefits to families of the fallen, even though Congress unanimously passed (and the president signed) the “Pay Our Military Act” that required the government provide “pay and allowances” to members of the military even during the government slowdown. Hagel ignored this law at the expense of families suffering in their hour of greatest pain and need.

Inexcusable, but not surprising. Let’s consider the Obama administration’s previous attacks on dissenting Americans:

  • The IRS audited the president’s political enemies, including Dr. Ben Carson after he gave a galvanizing speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.
  • The IRS conducted (and is still conducting) a multi-year intimidation campaign against Tea Party and conservative groups.
  • The IRS unlawfully disclosed confidential taxpayer information to friendly liberal publications.
  • The IRS unlawfully colluded with the Federal Election Commission for partisan political purposes.
  • The administration has become notorious for unprecedented levels of prosecutions against “leakers” while sanctioning pre-election leaks that made the president look tough on terror.
  • The administration has threatened and silenced whistleblowers on scandals ranging from Benghazi to Fast and Furious.

That’s a partial list of outrages by our Presidential Punisher and his willing accomplices in the leftist federal bureaucracy. If a Republican president behaved the same way, the left would be in the streets, the media would call for impeachment, and independent prosecutors would be crippling government with subpoena after subpoena.

But to this president? These are all “phony scandals.” 

What is not “phony” is the rage and disgust building across America. This weekend veterans tore down President Obama’s punitive walls blocking war memorials and deposited the barricades in front of the White House. This simple, peaceful act of civil disobedience is a warning to the administration.

Americans have reached their limit.

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