July 16th, 2012

Obama’s campaign m.o.

[NOTE: I’ve been referring lately to Obama’s history of nasty and underhanded campaigning, but I thought it would be a good idea to recycle a portion of a post I wrote in October of 2008 that explains the phenomenon in greater detail. I think it takes on even greater significance now.]

…[A] pattern with Obama [is to use] the press…as surrogates to do his dirty work and allow him to maintain plausible deniability…I refer to how Obama got his start in national politics…[involving] his political rival Blair Hull…Obama’s campaign was directly involved in what the press did to torpedo Hull’s chances…[unfortunately the link, to a NY Times article that appeared in April of 2007, is broken]:

[Obama’s campaign manager] Axelrod is known for operating in this gray area, part idealist, part hired muscle. It is difficult to discuss Axelrod in certain circles in Chicago without the matter of the Blair Hull divorce papers coming up. As the 2004 Senate primary neared, it was clear that it was a contest between two people: the millionaire liberal, Hull, who was leading in the polls, and Obama, who had built an impressive grass-roots campaign. About a month before the vote, The Chicago Tribune revealed, near the bottom of a long profile of Hull, that during a divorce proceeding, Hull’s second wife filed for an order of protection. In the following few days, the matter erupted into a full-fledged scandal that ended up destroying the Hull campaign and handing Obama an easy primary victory. The Tribune reporter who wrote the original piece later acknowledged in print that the Obama camp had “worked aggressively behind the scenes” to push the story. But there are those in Chicago who believe that Axelrod had an even more significant role — that he leaked the initial story.

And then there’s the matter of Obama’s next opponent, Jack Ryan, to whom the same thing happened. I must be careful here; there is documentation that Obama’s staff pushed and promoted the Hull revelations by the press, but there is no evidence so far of the same involvement occurring with the Ryan outing. However, unless it’s a strange coincidence…it is mighty suspicious; Obama’s staff certainly had the tools, the connections, the motivation, and the experience.

Here’s a discussion of Axelrod’s modus operandi, which may sound familiar:

What kind of campaign can we expect from Axelrod in the general election? Overtly positive themes and public posturing complemented by covertly delievered and mercilessly negative “stiletto” attacks against key people around John McCain that are not directly traceable to Axelrod. The model for this strategy is the previous Obama senatorial campaign in Illinois, where Obama’s two most formidible, centimillionaire, rivals, Democrat Blair Hull and Republican Jack Ryan were personally destroyed in the primaries when salacious details from their sealed divorce records were mysteriously leaked to the media, which then pressured for their full release, notably in the pages of the Chicago Tribune.

I wrote all of the above in 2008. But I would like to add that now, in 2012, Axelrod is still a top aide and strategist for Obama’s campaign. Axelrod has been one of the constants for Obama’s entire political life, having met him twenty years ago during Obama’s early post-Harvard days in Chicago:

Axelrod’s ties with Obama reach back more than a decade. Axelrod met Obama in 1992 when Obama so impressed Betty Lou Saltzmann, a woman from Chicago’s “lakefront liberal crowd,” during a black voter registration drive he ran that she then introduced the two. Obama also consulted Axelrod before he delivered an 2002 anti-war speech and asked him to read drafts of his book, The Audacity of Hope.

By the way, I want to make it crystal clear that this is not a case of “if only Stalin knew.” Whatever dirty tricks Axelrod’s up to are executed with the knowledge and approval of Obama, and represent a goodly part of the reason Axelrod is so invaluable to him.

One of the hallmarks of Obama’s presidency has been the persistence in his life of a small group of close and trusted advisers such as Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, who’ve both known him approximately the same amount of time. My impression is that Obama trusts almost no one else, except Eric Holder and Michelle Obama.

[NOTE: See also this.]

3 Responses to “Obama’s campaign m.o.”

  1. Rose Says:

    There is also the recent report of Obama’s operatives actively trying to get into divorce records of Obama donors. It’s what they do.

    This kind of thing – dirty, strong-arm campaigning – was a factor in bringing Gray davis down in California. What wasn’t apparent in one election, becomes apparent once the pattern emerges. And Obama’s pattern shows a nasty one-trick pony.

    It’s not about how good he is, but about destroying his opponent.

  2. Occam's Beard Says:

    Let’s face it, Obama’s a cheap shot artist.

    Everyone who’s ever played football knows one. The guy who makes the late (or lateish) hits, hits someone who’s irretrievably on his way out of bounds anyway, the guy who rings the bell of the guy playing over him with a forearm to the head when the play goes the other way, that sort of thing.

  3. parker Says:

    I’m going to come right out and say it:

    BHO is an enemy of the very concept of America. With every breath he seeks to degrade life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He is a totalitarian dictator wannabe. He is an affirmative action, narcissistic sociopath. In a sane society he would be shuck and jiving in the south side of Chicago for spare change, not the resident of the Oval Office.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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