Thursday, March 5, 2009
Shades of Richard Nixon: Obama has a White House enemies' list to go after vocal opposition
It's shocking but increasingly true:
The Obama White House has taken a page from Richard Nixon and adopted an enemies' list strategy to go after prominent people who disagree with its policies.
Rick Santelli, Rush Limbaugh and now Jim Cramer. At least that is what Cramer says:
When I come to work each day, whether as a commentator for TheStreet.com or a host of Mad Money With Jim Cramer, I have only one thought in mind: helping people with their money.
I fight to help viewers and readers make and preserve capital. I fight for their 401(k)s, for their 529s and their IRAs. I fight for their annuities and for their life insurance policies. I fight for their profits, trading and investing. And in this horrible market, I fight to keep their losses to a minimum by having some good dividend-yielding stocks from different sectors, some bonds, some gold and some cash.
The lines are drawn pretty clearly: If you can help people make money to be able to retire, enjoy life, pay for college, pay down debt, etc., you are a "good guy," so to speak. If you take the other side of the trade, you are, well, let's say, a less favored fellow. And if you gun for the gigantic investor class that is out there that includes 90 million people in one form or another, whether it be 401(k)s or individual stocks or pension plans, then you are on my enemies list.
Now some, including Rush Limbaugh, would say I am on another enemies list: that of the White House. Limbaugh says there are only a handful of us on it, and if I am on it for defending all of the shareholders out there, then I am in good company. Limbaugh -- whom I do not know personally, but having been in radio myself, know professionally as a genius of the medium -- says, "They're going to shut Cramer up pretty soon, too, but he'll go down with a fight."
The Obama administration, as is the case with many of those of a liberal perspective, are showing their intolerance for differing opinion. I discovered that truth after I quit carrying the Democratic Party line at The Tennessean. The venom from the Left -- from inside the newsroom and from outside -- was shocking, vulgar and disillusioning.
Frank Ritter, who also differed from the liberal elite in writing his column for The Tennessean, received the same reception. We talked about this topic often and shook our heads in disappointment.
Conservatives in turn are willing to listen to the other side, even if they vocally disagree.
An enemies' list in which the White House press secretary publicly goes after those who disagree with the president will backfire. It did on Nixon. Obama will reap the same.
I'm not a Cramer fan. He has given some bad advice in the past. But now he has come to his senses and told investors to beware. That is sound advice amid a market in which Obama has become a big negative for his socialism and the destruction of individualism in this nation.