The brute force Chicago politics of the Obama White House

Drudge highlighted a story about Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon.  The point of the story is that he’s not a guy who can be easily intimidated.  That’s good.  We like people with backbone.

What fascinated me about the article is it’s unembarrassed descriptions of the crude, brute force tactics the President and his staff use:

“Rahm does not yell at me,” DeFazio said, “because he knows that I yell back.”

[snip]

Obama himself has taken notice.

“Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother,” Obama told DeFazio during a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic Caucus, according to members afterward.

Yelling?  Keeping score?  It’s more like a bad episode of The Godfather than it is a description of the highest office in the land.

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Comments

  1. Gringo says

    Keeping score: like you say, the Chicago way.
    The link to DeFazio says that he was only one of two Democrats to vote against the bailout. Defazio did it from a “progressive” prospective; the other was a blue dog. While I may not agree with all of  DeFazio’s stands, I tip my hat to him for voting against the bailout.

  2. says

    Alphas Look Out For Group
    Before you can understand what an alpha is, you first need to understand something about the nature of power. Namely: Power is granted to you by the group. You don’t have power unless other people give it to you.

    Here’s the catch, the group gives you power on the condition that you look out for their needs. That’s the deal. You get extra power to serve them. If you violate this trust then you will be stripped of your power by the group.

    That simple point is the biggest stumbling block for people who want to be leaders but are not cut out for it. Such people are incapable (or unwilling) to look out for anyone’s interest except their own. And that brings us to the next point.
     
    Guess what the next point is, followers of Bookworm.

  3. suek says

    I read the second article first – which is about clothes of the Chicago thugs of yore.  Obviously clothes make the man only in a superficial sense.  We need to remember that!   The first article raises the question of whether clothing influences behavior.
     
    Hmmmm.  Maybe.  But maybe only if you assume that the “proper” clothing of the thugs was a means of camouflage…
     
    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/12/18/when-heros-wore-khakis/
     
    Which prompted this article:
     
    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/12/18/when-bad-guys-wore-suits/
     
    Which has only to do with this article of Book’s if you consider that just because someone has all the trappings of civilization doesn’t mean the person is him/herself civilized…

  4. Mike Devx says

     
    > “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother,” Obama told DeFazio

    I’d have sighed heavily, and pronounced, “President Obama.  *Everyone* keeps score.  Everyone.  You’re simply no exception, for all the implied threats you couch your words with.  We’re all keeping score. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some *real* business to attend to.  Sir.”

  5. Gringo says

    BrianE :   He’s channeling LBJ.
    He is trying to do an LBJ in pushing, cajoling, doing anything to persuade a legislator to vote his way, but with decidedly different results. LBJ had extensive experience as Majority Leader in the Senate in getting votes to be cast his way.  He was a master of the craft.  Comparing Obama to LBJ in this regard would be like comparing  a middle school basketball player to Kobe Bryant.

  6. Mike Devx says

    When you’re the President, and you have a bill that you believe you’re going to have to pass – on a party line vote – I think it’s supposed to work this way:  You get together early with your leaders in Congress and you come up with something that is likely to satisfy enough members to pass.  If the bill is difficult – and a health care bill is *notoriously* difficult – you get as close as you can and then you start planning how to beat some heads of resistant Congressmen to force them on board.  (LBJ was a master at this.)
     
    But the key is a coordinated strategy between the President’s people and the key higher-ups in Congress who have to shepherd the bill through from start to finish.  A key part of this is that the Executive and Legislative powers can trust each other throughout the process.   The Obama Administration violated that trust repeatedly, kept changing the game midstream – as they ALWAYS do – and appear to have lost all trust with either the Reid wing or the Pelosi wing in either House.  In particular you have to love the secret deal the Administration struck with pharmaceutical companies – a deal everyone on all sides of the argument likes.  That kind of a secret end-around that undercuts your supporters on the Hill is a betrayal, pure and simple.
     
    In other words, Obama has totally screwed up the process of passing this bill.  He and his Adminstration truly are the Keystone Kops.  Over and over they demonstrate this.
     
    For which we can all be thankful.  All these things above are about process; which may make you think I *favor* the bill.  God, no, I’m utterly opposed to it.  But I wanted to point out how terrifying it would be for us if the Obama Administration were competent AND had control of both Houses, as they do.   The Obama-ites seek mainly control and power – at the expense of EVERYONE else.  Luckily, in this case, it is at the expense of the Democrats on the Hill.  They’re waking up to that reality out there in leftist America, too.  We’ve seen it all along, now they’re beginning to see it.
     
    A vast new health care bureaucracy that the Democrats could CONTROL is irresistable to Pelosi and Reid, so there is still a danger that this monstrosity of a bill could pass.  This bureaucracy, with its unaccountable bureaucrats, wild cost overruns,  inefficiency, its uncaring cold hand making life and death decisions for your family and loved ones… the steady decline year after year of health care quality, and the steady decline in our standard of living itself (coupled with steady ballooning debt that no one will ever be able to pay for…  what a mess.  The only thing that allows this bill to pass is that raw power and control that the people at the top of government get to exert over every aspect of our lives, and raw power and control are what Obama, Pelosi and Reid really love.  There in lies the danger, and the continued popular revolt of our conservative Tea Party movement, and perhaps a new popular revolt on the left as well – which appears to be starting – is what may save us.
     

  7. Mike Devx says

    Crap.  When I wrote:
    >  In particular you have to love the secret deal the Administration struck with pharmaceutical companies – a deal everyone on all sides of the argument likes.
    I meant to write that everyone on all sides abhors it, not that everyone likes it…

  8. BrianE says

    suek,

    I’m always a little leary of ‘they’re all against me stories’, though due to recent events and the coziness of government officials to Goldman I’m coming to the conclusion that their is a financial cabal and it includes democrats and republicans.

    The question is what to do about it. Most investors understand that they have no control over the markets (and suspect that some folks do to some extent) and we’re just along for the ride, to pick up the crumbs so to speak.

    As to Armstrong’s claims, here’s an interview that answers a few questions, but leaves many more unanswered. Armstrong reminds me of my favorite follicle challenged democrat, James Traficant.

    http://www.derivativesstrategy.com/magazine/archive/2000/1000fea2.asp

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