COMMENTARY | The report published in the Wall Street Journal that President Barack Obama has an "enemies list" of people who have committed the lese majeste of contributing money to a Mitt Romney super PAC is disturbing on quite a few levels.
The list includes eight Romney donors, including Frank Vandersloot, the CEO of Melaleuca, strongly suggests that the men have "less-than-reputable records" and that "Quite a few have been on the wrong side of the law, others have made profits at the expense of so many Americans." The enemies list all but asks the question, are they or have they ever been evil capitalist robber barons who have despoiled the poor?
Vandersloot, according to the Weekly Standard, has suffered as a result of his being named on the enemies list, loosing hundreds of customers and having come under investigation by shadowy figures. He has been accused, falsely he maintains, of being anti-gay. This is the equivalent under the Obama administration of being a communist in the 1950s.
The idea of a president having an enemies list in evocative of the worse parts of the Nixon administration, when that president compiled a large list of journalists and other people who believed were out to get him. Nixon was not far wrong, but his list smacked of someone using government power to strike at private citizens for being political opponents.
The Obama enemies list also raises unpleasant memories of Joe McCarthy. The difference is that Sen. McCarthy at least said that he was going after people who he suggested were disloyal to the United States and not just one man.
The utter ruthlessness of a president going after private citizens in such a brazen way goes beyond even Nixon or McCarthy. This is not the behavior of an elected leader of a constitutional republic, who knows that political opposition goes with the job. This is something that a tyrant would do. These men are disloyal to the leader. They are thus enemies of the people.
It is unknown whether Obama has carried out the practice that some past presidents have done in dealing with political opponents, such as sicing the IRS on them. But listing eight men for the sin of giving money to his opponent and, in effect, declaring them to be wolf's heads is bad enough.