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Why Should We Care Whom The President Criticizes?
How scared would you be if I said on this blog that you were a bad person? How about if I blogged, not for The Atlas Society, but for President Obama's reelection campaign?
Much more in the latter than in the former, I imagine, and with good reason: there's not much The Atlas Society could or would do based on my comment -- certainly not by comparison of what's within the power of a U.S. president.
That's why it's troubling that, as Kimberly A. Strassel has written in the Wall Street Journal, President Obama's campaign has publicly identified several of his Republican opponent's donors and suggested that they are not quite reputable. If we could trust that a denunciation by the president was nothing more than an expression of his opinion, then it might breach civility, it might even be defamation, but it would not be fundamentally different from a similar statement by any other candidate.
We have to ask: What destroyers, "leash'd in like hounds," crouch at the president's heels -- and will he employ them?
Among the agencies accountable to the president are the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor. Yesterday, Strassel wrote that these two agencies have both told Frank VanderSloot, who appeared on the campaign's list, that they're going to audit him. It's unknown whether there's a causal connection. But considering that these are the man's first audits, there's at least a basis for suspicion.
And if these two agencies chose a target because he donated to one of the president's opponents, what other agencies might target supporters of Republican Mitt Romney or Libertarian Gary Johnson? There are so many agencies within the executive branch, it's hard to count them -- and their powers are wide-ranging, especially over businessmen, such as VanderSloot.
This isn't just a reason to criticize one president's campaign. It's a reminder of how dangerous the presidency has become.