Obama White House intimidation of writers like Bob Woodward over sequestration will come as no surprise to Detroit, where the administration’s bullying tactics were legend in the auto bailouts of GM and Chrysler.
Call it the Chicago Way.
I reported for National Review – and Frank Beckmann for his radio show – in 2009 of White House Auto Task Force intimidation of Wall Street bondholders who resisted the administration’s illegal efforts to move its Big Labor allies to the front of the line ahead of secured debt holders.
“One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight,” lawyer Tom Lauria, representing Perella Weindberg told Beckmann in March, 2009. Lauria later disclosed that the brass knuckles belonged to Auto Task Force leader Steve Rattner.
Take da deal or we break yer legs.
As with Woodward, this White House does not treat kindly those that refuse to give the president his way. In the case of Wall Street bondholders, presidential intervention from a man who controls the IRS and SEC is intimidation enough as Obama unloaded on them publicly, accusing them of being “speculators” out to destroy an American industrial icon.
Lauria’s account of private pressure also conveyed White House confidence in its lapdog press corps (“the full force of the White House press corps”) to press the president’s agenda.
Thanks to White House tactics, the UAW ultimately made out like a bandit in the Chrysler deal, winning 55 percent of the company while bondholders were forced to take 29 cents on the dollar – gutting the savings of their police and teacher cpensions clients.
Business Insider reported that its “sources, who represent creditors to Chrysler, say they were taken aback by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration employed. One person described the administration as the most shocking ‘end justifies the means’ group they have ever encountered. . . . Both were voters for Obama in the last election.”
The president campaigned on “hope.” He’s governed on “the ends justifies the means.”