Column on Obama and Special Interests

Obama & Special Interests

Tibor R. Machan

In his weekend radio address of February 28, 2009, President Obama once
again talked about how he isn’t captive to any special interest group. As
he put it, "The system we have now might work for the powerful and
well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I
don’t. I work for the American people," Obama declared. "I didn’t come
here to do the same thing we’ve been doing or to take small steps forward,
I came to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it
went to the polls in November."

Commenting on the $787 billion spending bill he insists on calling an
“economic stimulus package” —despite the fact that no one knows now
whether the funds will in fact stimulate any kind of economic growth—Mr.
Obama said "I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests
and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I
know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak." Then he added a flat out
threat: "My message to them is this: So am I."

Yet consider this for just a moment. Who are all these (mean, vicious)
special interests? And who are all the (honorable, virtuous) American
people? Lo and behold they are the very same citizens of the country! Yes
these special interest groups are composed of Americans who are
represented by experts at approaching the government for various types of
support. They are farmers, artists, merchants small and large, teachers,
steel workers, auto workers, bankers, brokers, dentists, doctors, and so
on and so forth. That is who all these nasty, vicious special interest
groups are made up of, the same folks who are so noble and innocent, The

The plain, unadorned fact is that so long as the various governments
across the country, municipal, country, state, or federal—it makes no
difference—have funds to dole out, there will be experts with the skill to
navigate the corridors of power with the aim of bringing home to their
clients what the government has to offer. Millions and millions of
Americans—the American People—are among these greedy special interest

Now I cannot for a moment believe that President Obama is unaware of what
I just wrote! He has been in government, he has taught law, he is familiar
with all kinds of theories of public affairs—he didn’t just step off some
Martian spaceship without a clue as to how it goes with all this public
affairs stuff. He knows well and good that everyone is out there trying to
get the goodies, let us not be naïve. And to attempt to convince his
audiences across the country that there is some large mass of citizens who
are The People, standing over against all those gangs who are the special
interest groups, is totally disingenuous, President Obama knows better, so
why is he talking like this?

Maybe our new president is simply making an attempt at plain old
demagoguery, pretending that there are some few really nasty folks out
there who have managed to capture the government, the politicians and the
bureaucracy, while the rest of us innocent, vulnerable citizens are being
abused by these few. But that cannot be right—as I said, Mr. Obama wasn’t
born yesterday. He has been in the thick of politics for years; he knows
the underlying system that makes the game possible—tax people as far as
you can without them revolting, then make it appear you are giving back
what you took from them with your special understanding of the people’s
needs. Of course, as this process unfolds, the politicians and their
supporters—yes, Mr. Obama is supported by a lot of special interest
groups—work diligently to get in on the take.

Maybe a man such as Mr. Obama can convinced himself that he is above this
game, that his intentions are all commendable and that only his critics
are evil monsters. But I don’t believe this is true and even doubt that
every moment of the day he can deceive himself to believe it either.

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11 Responses to Column on Obama and Special Interests

  1. Unknown says:

    How true what a great report

  2. Jake says:

    Obama is specifically referring to the cartel of international banks and other international mega-corporations which have maintained a stranglehold over the world economy for many decades. He is pretending to be against them while in fact, he is completely dominated by them. Just examine the people whom he has appointed to the key economics positions in his administration. Geithner, Summers, Rubin, Volcker — he is surrounded by characters who represent this cartel. After all, he got to where he is only because he is a good little puppet for these very same interests.

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