The Corner

Obama, Bulworth, and the Police

Andy McCarthy had a piece up this past Saturday called, “Baltimore is Just the Latest Target in Obama’s Civil Rights Crusade Against Police Departments.” There Andy laid out the technique by which the administration is effectively nationalizing local police forces using alleged civil rights violations as an excuse. Andy noted that this effort would continue under Attorney General Lynch, just as it had under Attorney General Holder, because the real force behind the policy is President Obama. To prove it, Andy harked back to Obama’s alliance with Bill Ayers on crime policy during his state senate years in Illinois.

Obama’s old alliance with Ayers on crime policy is certainly relevant to his administration’s strategies today, but there’s another important connection as well.  Obama pressed for so-called racial profiling legislation for years, and got it through the Illinois legislature just in time to make it a selling point in his run for the U.S. Senate.

Unfortunately, the whole effort was based on a false premise and likely did more to hamper the police and interfere with necessary crime enforcement than to protect civil rights. Obama pushed his racial profiling legislation by activating his alliance with radical clergy like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger. So the strategy that Andy lays out, in which Obama uses questionable civil rights accusations and demagoguery by the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton to effectively nationalize local police forces, was clearly prefigured during Obama’s Chicago years. You can read about Obama’s crime policy and the political strategy behind it toward the end of my 2008 piece, “Barack Obama’s Lost Years.”

As Andy points out, Obama laid the legal groundwork for his efforts to nationalize the police early on in his administration. Clearly, however, he’s waited until these last two years of his presidency to put that policy forcefully into action. And there’s nothing isolated about this pattern. The radicalism of the old Obama has emerged again and again as his own re-election and the final mid-term election of his presidency have passed.  I noted in March that Obama’s newly open antagonism to Israel was fully prefigured during his Illinois political career. And there are plenty more issues on which the radical Obama of the 1990s is closer to the president of today than the man who went before the voters in 2008 and 2012. Looks like Obama’s Bulworth fantasy is finally coming true.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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