Editors Note: Printed in Obama's Hometown Newspaper, The Chicago Sun Times Today, October 20th.
BY STEVE HUNTLEY
Have you heard the news? President Obama inherited an economic mess from the Bush administration.
You say that's hardly news? But it's been the message sounded over and over by the White House. Top Obama adviser David Axelrod said on one of the Sunday news shows, "He walked in the door, we had the worst economy since the Great Depression." In San Francisco, Obama talked of being "busy with our mop." White House heavy hitter Rahm Emanuel used the worst-economy-since-the-Depression line on a public TV news show.
You'd think it's October 2008, the final month in the Obama presidential candidacy, rather than October 2009, nine months into the Obama presidency. Yet the Obama White House is in full campaign mode -- maybe because it needs to mask the shortcomings of the Obama presidency.
Take, for example, all the talk of inheriting the worst economy since the 1930s crisis. That came in response to the news that the federal deficit hit $1.4 trillion.
Yet just a few months ago, the Obama camp was singing a little different tune. It was under criticism for the $787 billion stimulus package it bulldozed through Congress on grounds that massive spending was needed to keep the unemployment rate from breaching 8 percent. When joblessness hit 9.5 percent in June, Vice President Joe Biden said, "We misread how bad the economy was."
They inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, or the economy turned out to be worse than they thought. Which is it? It can't be both -- unless your brain is completely addled by the Obama charisma.
Obama is still popular, but polls show the public losing faith in his policies. Another indicator was a ''Saturday Night Live'' skit lampooning Obama for the major accomplishments of his administration -- "jack and squat." If the honeymoon is ending with the American voter, it isn't for obsequious elements of the mainstream media. CNN prostrated itself by fact-checking the ''SNL'' comedy skit.
But that's harmless compared to the virulent campaign against Obama critics carried out by the denizens of MSNBC. Its Obama acolytes seek to demonize opponents of Obama's policies by focusing on most marginal corners of right-wing politics like, for example, the "birthers" who deny Obama is a natural born citizen. The larger scheme is to imply Obama critics are racists.
That's the backdrop to the story of Rush Limbaugh getting booted from a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams. He was smeared on CNN and MSNBC with false accusations of making two racist comments. He is an abrasive critic of Obama, so he must be racist, or so goes the left-wing story line. I wouldn't defend everything Limbaugh has ever said, but lies were used to blacklist him from professional football for his political views.
Recently an MSNBC personality accused the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of lobbying for policies that amount to being "treasonous to this country." Remember how liberals roared in outrage at any hint of their patriotism being questioned for criticizing the Iraq War? Well, it's the left that doesn't shy from attacking the patriotism of those it dislikes. Recall the repulsive Moveon.org "General Betray-us" ad against Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus. Recent opposition to Chicago's Olympic bid was cast as a sign of a lack of patriotism among Obama critics.
The MSNBC blast against the chamber appears to dovetail with what the Politico newspaper reports is a White House and Democratic effort "to marginalize" the business organization. That echoes the administration assault on the Fox News Channel: It says Fox isn't a news organization.
The White House trying to dictate who's a news organization. Democrats out to gut a business group. Obama media allies damning Americans as racist, unpatriotic and treasonous. Is this the America Obama promised when he campaigned to end the cynical and divisive politics of the past?
Editor: I'd given up on buying much less reading the Chicago newspapers because they've been so far in the tank for Obama it's been sickening. So imagine my surpise today when I pick up a leftover newspaper on the commuter train home from the City this evening and see the above article in the Sun Times. I wonder if the Obama Administration is now going to tell the rest of the newspapers around the country to ignore the Chicago Sun-Times because it isn't "real" journalism (read that: So far up Obama's ass they can't see daylight anymore.) If I were Steve Huntley, I'd hire someone to start my car in the morning. Surely the Obama Chicago style political thugs aren't going to like this article ...