Does President Barack Obama have an enemies list? If he does it wouldn't be the first time a president felt compelled to call out his political opponents, by name, in front of the American people. The most famous example of course is the list compiled by Richard Nixon's White House, which was notoriously paranoid about bad press and hypersensitive to criticism.
There have been others, with Obama just the latest U.S. chief executive to set himself up as the "white hat" against the "back hats" who are opposed to his agenda. Yet the current president has taken things to a new level, aided by political allies who are using the Internet to spread the word far and wide.
Who, for example, had ever heard of Charles and David Koch before the White House pinned a bull's eye to their backs and made them political enemies No. 1A and 1B? Or Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho businessman whose only "offense" besides giving generously in support of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's presidential ambitions is to have a wife who may have made a donation in support of a ballot measure seeking to define marriage as being between a man and a woman?
As public philanthropists engaged in the war of ideas, it is fair to talk about the Kochs in the political arena just as it is fair to talk about George Soros and other wealthy individuals who fund the activities of the American left. This does not, however, excuse, justify, or legitimize leaks from senior government officials about their confidential tax records or any of the other lies and half-truths that have been told about them and their activities by administration officials, Democrats on Capitol Hill, and assorted left-wing political groups.
VanderSloot is a different matter. He is a private citizen whose political profile is, at best, limited, certainly not national. He is certainly not on par with the Kochs, Soros, or the other "big names" in the financial and business community. His political contributions are an exercise of his rights to free speech under the Constitution's First Amendment. The Obama campaign's identification of him as "'litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement," as the Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel reported, was crass, despicable, and an effort to intimidate him and others like him who would rather the president not win election to a second term.
Unfortunately it didn't stop there. As Strassel reported, a Democratic operative working for a firm specializing in opposition research attempted to obtain all records dealing with VanderSloot's divorces—a favorite Obama campaign tactic—presumably in an effort to uncover information that might be personally or professional injurious.
Therein lies the lesson. Come out against Obama, write a big check, and the political operatives who support the president will come after you, digging into your professional background and your private affairs. Call it "donor suppression" or "donor intimidation" or what ever you like, it's an odious development and one that should be condemned by the leaders of both political parties, including the president. If that's what Obama has to do to win, if he's willing to condone that kind of activity to stay in office, then maybe we all need to think good and hard about whether or not he can be trusted to wield the levers of power available to the president of the United States.