President Barack Obama and his liberal supporters have made it very clear their philosophy of government is that it is their way or the highway. Now it seems they want people to understand the highway may be a very bumpy, hazardous road.
Fine. We Americans are accustomed to rough and tumble politics. And many people, perhaps even a majority, seem to believe the more bruises suffered by anyone who dares question Obama, the better.
But for well over two centuries, with some very serious lapses - slavery chief among them - we as a people have been trying to make progress toward what the nation's founders hoped for: a country in which, regardless of abuses by majorities that shift back and forth, everyone is guaranteed certain liberties and more than token influence over policy.
Now, even some leaders in Obama's own Democrat Party are beginning to wonder whether, in part through use of laws enacted under his Republican predecessor, the president has veered away from America's foundational ideals.
Consider news during just the past couple of weeks:
- Obama's Justice Department has harassed the Associated Press by seizing about two months' worth of telephone records for scores of reporters and editors - including information on their personal phones.
- The Internal Revenue Service has been caught bullying organizations with conservative political leanings.
- It has been established the Obama administration lied to the American people about the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya last fall - then intimidated government employees who wanted to tell the truth.
-Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' shakedown of health care companies has been revealed. Sebelius has sought millions of dollars in donations from them to fund part of the new health care law - Obamacare. That is a blatant breach of ethics and, quite likely, illegal.
-Earlier, Sebelius' department made it clear to health care companies that any disagreeing publicly with Obamacare could face retaliation.
There's a pattern here: Go along with us, or you may regret it.
A far-from-subtle policy of rewarding friends and punishing enemies has emerged. Last year, for example, the Competitive Enterprise Institute reported the Environmental Protection Agency routinely waived fees often charged to organizations seeking information, such as documents, when "green" energy groups were involved. But when conservative groups sought information, the fees were charged.
Not that misbehavior by the EPA should come as any surprise. Remember, this is the agency that is attempting to block coal mines by rescinding government permits granted years ago.
Obama is fully aware the "green" community supports action such as waste of hundreds of billions of dollars on "alternative" energy projects. Again, though, there's discrimination. At the same time that waste was going on, the administration was cutting funds to find ways to burn coal more cleanly.
Just this week, the AP reported the Obama administration has been harsh in fining industries such as oil and power companies whose activities accidentally kill birds, including some protected species. Yet since Obama became president, not one wind farm has been punished because it killed protected species such as golden eagles. More than 573,000 birds are killed by wind farms every year.
Obama has used our tax dollars to buy tens of millions of friends, through programs ranging from "cash for clunkers" to Obamacare. Incidentally, he also supported tax breaks for the biggest, richest corporations. Many Americans simply adore him and believe the more he can do to punish his political foes, the better.
But in doing just that, Obama is trampling on basic liberties with gall not seen since Richard Nixon compiled his enemies list. There's a big difference, though: Nixon didn't get away with it.
Editor's note:?This opinion was written by Mike Myer, executive editor of The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, a sister Ogden newspaper of the Salem News.