From the May 19 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:
Loading the player ...
As of this writing, there is no indication that the IRS's inappropriate targeting of conservative political groups has any connection whatsoever to the White House. And some conservative talking heads are even acknowledging as much. But they're not letting that stop them from naming Barack Obama as the culpable party, arguing that the president is responsible due to his preternatural ability to bend the average bureaucrat to his maleficent will from afar.
It all started with RedState founder Erick Erickson, who wrote on May 15 that "Barack Obama never specifically asked that tea party groups and conservatives be targeted." But...
But by both his language and the "always campaigning" attitude of his White House, he certainly sent clear signals to Democrats with the power and ability to fight conservatives to engage as they could. Given his rhetoric against his political opponents, it is no wonder sympathetic Democrats in the Internal Revenue Service harassed and stymied conservative groups and, though little mentioned, pro-Israel Jewish groups and evangelical groups.
"President Obama did not have to tell the IRS specifically to harass conservative, evangelical, and Jewish groups who might oppose him," Erickson observed. "His rhetoric on the campaign trail and in the permanent campaign of the White House operations made clear what he wanted."
Wall Street Journal columnist and editorial board member Kimberley Strassel misrepresented the win-loss record of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in court in order to suggest the Obama administration's environmental rulemaking is frequently illegal.
In an April 9 column, Strassel attempted to smear President Obama's nominee for EPA Administrator, the highly qualified and widely regarded Gina McCarthy, with the accusation that she shared blame for an alleged "embarrassing string of [legal] defeats" suffered by the Obama administration while serving as the senior EPA official in charge of regulating air pollution. From the WSJ:
[C]ritics have also started to take note of the embarrassing string of defeats the courts have recently dealt the agency regarding rules it issued in Mr. Obama's first term. Those judicial slapdowns are making a mockery of former Obama EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's promise in 2009 to restore the agency's "stature" with rulemaking that "stands up in court."
This past year alone has proven a banner year for EPA rebukes[.]
Mrs. McCarthy--who has spent four years as EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation--was nominated precisely because she shares Mrs. Jackson's aggressive view of the EPA's authority. With the administration now looking to push the EPA boundaries even further on climate, expect senators to grill Mrs. McCarthy on why she believes those coming rulemaking procedures will fare any better in court. A number of senators are particularly focused on this question, since it is their authority Mr. Obama is usurping in having the EPA unilaterally implement a climate program.
But Strassel - like influential House Republicans - misrepresents the record of the Obama EPA in court, especially in the area of Clean Air Act rulemaking, which McCarthy oversaw. As opposed to the win-loss record of the Republican EPA under George W. Bush, the Obama administration has been highly successful in defending its Clean Air Act actions in court.
The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel is claiming that newly-minted Interior secretary nominee Sally Jewell is part of the "environmental fringe," suggesting she is hostile to business and was chosen by President Obama to "kill traditional jobs." In fact, she boasts a wealth of business experience, and her support of national parks conservation bolsters a multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry that sustains millions of jobs.
Strassel dismissed Jewell as an "activist" who will "Lock up land, target industries, [and] kill traditional jobs," which she exemplified as mining, logging and farming. Strassel pointed to REI as an example of a company "on the radical extreme" because it has supported rules such as the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which safeguards National Forest lands from road construction and logging, and criticized the National Parks Conservation Association, on whose board Jewell serves, for its "efforts to kill jobs."
But Jewell's conservation efforts have helped support the multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry. According to a 2012 report by the Outdoor Industry Association, an industry trade group, Bureau of Economic Analysis data shows that outdoor recreation generates $646 billion in annual consumer spending, or nearly twice as much as the pharmaceuticals industry. According to the group's analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, outdoor recreation spending directly supports some 6.1 million jobs -- from retail jobs to park rangers to lodging operators -- nearly three times as many as the American Petroleum Institute claimed from the oil and gas industry in 2007:
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberley Strassel claimed that President Obama has "moved the goalposts" by calling for ending the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent of taxpayers -- despite the fact that Obama has advocated for that policy in both his 2012 and 2008 presidential campaigns.
On the November 18 edition of Fox News Sunday, Strassel criticized Obama for supposedly insisting that tax rates on upper-income taxpayers must rise to the level they were during the Clinton administration as part of a deficit reduction plan, stating, "The president has now moved the goalposts and said, 'Well, it isn't just revenue, it has to be a specific kind.' " When host Chris Wallace pointed out that Obama "did mention this once or twice during the campaign," Strassel responded, "Yeah, he did, except for the question is, are you going to stick on what you campaigned on, or are you going to find a compromise in the end?"
As Wallace correctly noted, Obama regularly advocated ending the Bush tax cuts for wealthier taxpayers during the campaign, which contradicts Strassel's assertion that Obama "moved the goalposts." A July 9 USA Today article, for instance, reported that "In a White House ceremony, Obama said lower tax rates should end for Americans making more than $250,000 a year." Obama is continuing to advocate the same position: Politico reported on November 17 that Obama "repeated his call Saturday for Congress to extend the Bush-era middle-class tax cut without delay" and urged Congress not to "hold the middle class hostage while Congress debates tax cuts for the wealthy."
Obama, in fact, has been advocating the end of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy long before the 2012 campaign:
Further, contrary to Strassel's suggestion that Obama's continued advocacy for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy precludes him from reaching "a compromise in the end," Obama has said he's "open to new ideas" if another solution achieves his goals. The Associated Press reported on November 14: "Asked if he viewed it as a deal-breaker if Republicans refused to allow the top tax rate to revert to 39 percent from the current 36 percent, [Obama] said, 'I just want to emphasize I am open to new ideas if the Republican counterparts or some Democrats have a great idea for us to raise revenue, maintain progressivity, make sure the middle class isn't getting hit, reduces our deficit.'"
From the October 13 edition of Fox News' Journal Editorial Report:
Loading the player ...
Following the Obama campaign's ad highlighting Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, right-wing media are hysterically calling the ad an attack on private equity and even "an attack on capitalism" itself. But the ad clearly and specifically targets Romney's own work at Bain Capital -- which Romney and his campaign have repeatedly touted as crucial experience for dealing with the economy -- not private equity or capitalism as a whole.
Frank VanderSloot is an Idaho businessman and a prominent Mitt Romney donor. According to Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, he's also a member of Barack Obama's purported "enemies list."
In a May 10 column, The Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel complained about the scrutiny VanderSloot has come under since the Obama campaign questioned VanderSloot's background. On May 11, Fox jumped on the story, airing five separate segments that denounced attacks on a "private citizen."
But a crucial detail was missing from Strassel's column and the half-hour of airtime that Fox devoted to the story: VanderSloot is a national co-chair for Romney's finance committee. So VanderSloot is not merely a "private citizen," but actually a high-ranking member of Romney's campaign.
Fox's Neil Cavuto even let VanderSloot carry out his responsibilities as national finance co-chair on the air. Toward the end of an interview with Cavuto, VanderSloot said that he plans to "stand up and get more involved in this campaign, and we hope that other people will join us in that. Everybody should get out their checkbooks":
During this segment, Fox did display a hard-to-read screenshot of an Obama campaign website that identified VanderSloot as "the national finance co-chairman of the Romney campaign" -- for about 10 seconds:
Full video of the Fox segments below the jump.
In her Wall Street Journal column, Kimberly Strassel claimed "the public now understands that cap and trade is an economy killer." In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the cap and trade bill passed by the House in 2009 would have had a "modest" impact on GDP and "only a small effect on total employment in the long run."
In her July 9 Wall Street Journal column, Kimberley Strassel falsely claimed that there are "contradictions between" union official Tom Balanoff's testimony in former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial and White House Counsel Greg Craig's investigation into the administration's interaction with Blagojevich. Strassel claimed that Craig's conclusion that Obama "had no contact of communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat" contradicts Balanoff's testimony that Obama had discussed with him his belief that Valerie Jarrett would make a good Senator. However, as Media Matters has noted, this is not a contradiction, as Balanoff was not a member of Blagojevich's staff.
From Strassel's column:
Consider the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, which is sucking in most of the president's Chicago intimates. The threat to the White House isn't that Mr. Obama will be accused of wrongdoing. The threat is that the trial offers evidence for a growing view that Mr. Obama isn't so much "new politics" as a typical Chicago pol.
We've already seen a hint of the threat. Among the many accusations against Mr. Blagojevich is that he sought to sell Mr. Obama's old Senate seat. Mr. Blagojevich appeared particularly interested in naming Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett in return for a cabinet post or a union job.
When the scandal broke after the 2008 election, the incoming administration scrambled to distance itself from its old Chicago crew. Greg Craig, future White House counsel, was tasked with an internal investigation and dutifully reported that "The President-Elect had no contact or communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat." Moreover, the president-elect "did not actively seek" to put Mrs. Jarrett in that post. Nothing to see here, folks.
Nothing to see save top union official Tom Balanoff, who last week took the stand in Chicago. Mr. Balanoff testified under oath that the night prior to the election, he was called by Mr. Obama. "Tom, I want to talk to you with regard to the Senate seat," said the future president. According to Mr. Balanoff's testimony, Mr. Obama laid out two criteria for who he'd like to see get the post--good for Illinois, electable in 2010--and then noted that Mrs. Jarrett certainly met those two criteria. Mr. Balanoff testified that he then assured Mr. Obama he'd "reach out to Gov. Blagojevich."
This is a Barack Obama the White House would prefer the public not see.
The White House, trying to tamp down a scandal, has flatly refused to discuss contradictions between the Balanoff testimony and the Craig report. Its bigger concern should be that the trial begins to cast a new and unflattering light on this administration.
From the June 19 edition of Fox News' Journal Editorial Report:
Loading the player ...
Following the announcement that President Obama agreed to issue an executive order reaffirming that the recently passed health reform bill maintains current law on federal funding for abortion, conservative media continued to falsely claim that the bill contains federal funding for abortion. In fact, the bill bans federal funding for abortion except in cases currently allowed under the Hyde amendment: rape, incest, and conditions that endanger the life of the pregnant woman.
In a Wall Street Journal column, Kim Strassel wrote that Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown "turned his Senate bid into a referendum on President Obama's health plan" and baselessly claimed that "[a] big reason only 25% of Massachusetts voters strongly approve of ObamaCare" is because their own universal health care program "bombed." In fact, a recent poll shows that a majority in Massachusetts support the 2006 state plan; moreover, Brown had argued during the campaign that since the state already passed health reform, it would not benefit from a national plan.
Kimberley Strassel falsely claimed President Obama "decreed" that debate over Sonia Sotomayor "be a discussion primarily about Judge Sotomayor's biography, not her qualifications." In fact, in his speech announcing Sotomayor's nomination, Obama spoke extensively about her qualifications.
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberley Strassel trotted out the oft-repeated falsehood that President Obama is on a "drive to socialize health care," a charge that echoes the baseless attacks conservatives have made against other progressives' health care reform proposals since the 1930s.