Amid all the turmoil surrounding the economy, a few days ago there was an interesting news release. The release read: "Law enforcement sources have said that President-elect Barack Obama has been the target of more threats than any President-elect in history."
What's most telling about this release is that this information would never have been released without Obama deciding that he wanted it released. Law enforcement would never issue such a press release on their own. It would not be in their interest to do so. But Obama obviously felt it was in his political interest to do so. And so he ordered it to be disseminated.
Even amid a financial crisis, it seems that Obama can't help but continue to play the kind of cheap politics reminiscent of Richard Nixon. In this case, before he is even inaugurated he is looking for brie and sympathy.
But even Nixon never stooped to the level of trying to play on public sympathy by using threats of bodily harm against him,threats everyone knows are mostly insignificant since 99.99% of them come from harmless but deluded crackpots who pose no real threat at all. Which is not to say each threat shouldn't be investigated by the Secret Service and the lunatics arrested. After all it is a federal crime to make such threats. But it is telling and very much in character that Obama would want that information released when no President before him thought it mattered much.
But releasing that information gave him the political pretense to do his scheduled TV interview with Barbara Walters and play the tin hero, making sure the subject was brought up and then showing that he is oblivious to the mounting threats and danger around him, showing the world that he is not afraid, that he is a person of courage who will do his job despite the threats. That is pretty much what he said. Whatta guy. Even before taking office Obama thinks that being President is all about him. I wonder if it gave Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann goosebumps.
Another aspect of how cheap a political play this really was, is the unintentionally revealing use of the word"more". The release said Obama has received "more" threats than any other President-elect in history, What that word tells us is what we already knew. That every other President-elect in history received threats like these from the usual collection of unhinged lunatics around the country. They always do.
But none of them, not Bush, not Clinton, not Bush 41, not Reagan, not Carter, none of them decided to use these threats for PR or political purposes by releasing news of them to the public. Not saying anything in the face of these lunatic threats is real courage. Instead Obama decided to prey on public sympathy by having that information released and in the process went one step further by playing the race card while at the same time being able to say "who me"?
Because " more threats than any President in history" translates into only one thing -- "because I'm black". (Actually half black) And everyone, including Obama, knows it.
In wanting to play hero before he even takes the oath of office, Obama seems to have no problem with suggesting to people that despite the fact that the country elected the first person of color in history to the Presidency, we are still a racist society and he is still a victim of that racism even though he happens to have been elected President of the United States. Again, whatta guy.
Underhanded Nixonian politics is not new for Obama. What is new is that he is playing it as President-elect.
One always hopes, politics being the dirty business that it is, that once a politician gets elected they stop being a politician and start being a statesman. Very few rise to that level and Obama, Mr. Change, is no exception.
Except to use threats against him, most of them meaningless, for his own political use is somewhat lower than any President has gone before. No President before him felt it necessary to release information about threats against them. Law enforcement would never do it on their own. Obama instructing them do it so he can play Braveheart is just more political games at a time when that is the last thing the country needs.
Whatever time Obama spent with his advisers discussing this and then making the decision to go ahead and issue the press release was time wasted.
The one bright spot so far is that he is appointing capable people to fill his administration. One can only hope that when it comes to actually governing, he does what he knows how to do best - get out of the way and allow people who actually know what they are doing to formulate and follow through on policy. And so far it looks like he may be doing just that while he handles being the front man and doing what he does best. Nothing.
For those who havent seemed to be able to find any of the articles related to these stories about the rise in threats to Obama, here is one from the Associated Press. The release was also read on CNN and was talked about as mentioned in the interview Barbara Walters did with Obama.
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