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KUHNER: A gangster regime
Question of the Day
President Obama is presiding over one of the most corrupt administrations in American history.
Mr. Obama continues to try to pass government-run health care against increasing resistance in Congress and in opposition to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans. Many Democrats, especially the more fiscally conservative Blue Dogs, are revolting against Obamacare. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, lacks the votes - so far - to ram the bill through Congress.
The White House has told Democrats it will do anything to pass the legislation - mostly because this would be a boon to Mr. Obama's legacy. No other progressive president - Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton - was able to achieve the seminal goal of liberal governance: nationalized health care.
Yet Mr. Obama's overweening ambition is driving his administration toward rampant corruption, criminality and abuse of power. The accusations by former Rep. Eric Massa, New York Democrat, provide a window into the thuggish atmosphere pervading the administration.
Mr. Massa is an unscrupulous politician and a pervert. What else can one say about a man who admits to sexually propositioning a male staffer at a wedding party after his wife leaves, sick with the flu? He has admitted to "tickling" other male staff members. Press reports state that Mr. Massa's aides have complained about being groped by the former congressman. The House Ethics Committee is investigating the scandal. Mr. Massa has resigned his seat.
The issue, however, is not Mr. Massa's conduct - deplorable and bizarre as it was. He is gone, and his 15 minutes of fame are over. But the Chicago political machine remains. Mr. Massa's charges against White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel threaten the very basis of Mr. Obama's regime. This is why the liberal media are determined to destroy the former congressman's credibility. They are hoping enough leaks about sexual harassment and homosexual conduct will divert public attention away from Mr. Emanuel's conduct.
Mr. Massa has accused Mr. Emanuel of confronting him naked in the House gym showers, berating the then-congressman for voting against Mr. Obama's budget. Mr. Massa also claims that union leaders - backed by the White House - approached him and threatened to deny him campaign funding if he opposed Obamacare. If true, that is bribery and intimidation - and also extremely vulgar. Mr. Emanuel is at the heart of a cynical White House effort to buy votes and institutionalize bribery in order to ram through a deeply unpopular bill.
The entire health care "reform" process has been marked by scandal and massive corruption - the "Louisiana Purchase," the $300 million in extra Medicaid funds to acquire the vote of Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat; the "Cornhusker Kickback," the $100 million offered to pick up the costs of Medicaid expansion for Nebraska to get Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson's support; the $5 billion set-aside to pay for Florida's Medicare exemption to win over Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson; and the special deals given to influential labor unions on high-cost, so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans.
The administration is now targeting key House Democrats. It is practicing the "Chicago way": First use bribery, and if that fails, then try bullying.
Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah, who previously voted against the health care bill, was made an offer he couldn't refuse: His brother Scott has been nominated to a federal judgeship. This is a blatant quid pro quo.
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan of West Virginia, a fence-sitter who is not sure how he will vote, has been given a real incentive to support Obamacare. The Justice Department has just announced it has called off its ethics investigation of the troubled congressman - a remarkable coincidence.
Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, a pro-life Democrat who opposes the bill's federal funding of abortion, is suddenly facing a possible ethics investigation over the use of a low-rent apartment in the District supplied by a Christian group. Democratic congressional leaders were aware of Mr. Stupak's living arrangements before; it has only now become an issue of concern. It is the proverbial gun to the head.
Mr. Obama's abuse of power goes beyond health care reform. Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania Democrat, has accused the administration of offering him a high-ranking government job in exchange for not running against Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. If that is true, the White House committed a serious crime. It is illegal to use the power of the federal government to directly interfere with or determine the outcome of an election.
This is why Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is calling for an official investigation into the matter.
"While the White House may think this is politics as usual, what is spectacularly unusual is when a candidate - a U.S. congressman, no less - freely acknowledges such a proposal," Mr. Issa said. "Almost always, candidates keep quiet about such deals, and for good reason - they are against the law."
Every successful socialist revolutionary has had a right-hand man to do his dirty work, someone not afraid to crack heads and get into the gutter, while the leader - supposedly standing above the fray - articulates a vision of economic justice and social harmony. Vladimir Lenin had Josef Stalin. Fidel Castro had his brother, Raul. Mr. Obama has Mr. Emanuel.
The central lesson of the 20th century is that utopianism leads to gangsterism. Mr. Obama is trying desperately to impose his progressive- socialist revolution. The more resistance he meets, the more determined he becomes - and the more he needs to rely on political thugs such as Mr. Emanuel. Mr. Obama, who promisedto reform Washington, is instead leading more like a gangster than a statesman.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the daily radio host of "The Kuhner Show" on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570.com) from noon until 3 p.m.
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