Friday, August 17, 2012

Extortion and the Obama Campaign, Perfect Together

We're not lawyers, but this letter from the Obama campaign to the Romney campaign feels uncomfortably close to extortion.

The key passage from the letter is:

"...if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more--neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign."

The letter is signed by Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, but it may as well be signed "Tony Soprano."

Again, we're not lawyers, but our trusty friend Wikipedia defines the criminal offence of extortion as follows:

"Extortion (also called blackmail, shakedown, outwresting, and exaction) is a criminal offence of unlawfully obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. ...  The actual obtainment of money or property is not required to commit the offense. ... Exaction refers not only to extortion or the unlawful demanding and obtaining of something through force, but additionally, in its formal definition, means the infliction of something such as pain and suffering or making somebody endure something unpleasant."

It sure sounds like the Obama campaign is explicitly trying to obtain property (i.e. Romney's tax returns) through coercion by making Romney "suffer" or "endure something unpleasant" (i.e. constantly answering questions about his tax returns instead of his plan for the economy, not to mention the public insinuation that he's a tax cheat). 

This side show is the perfect encapsulation of the Obama campaign - remain tellingly silent on substantive issues (economy, jobs, entitlements, etc.) while creating a media circus around non-substantive issues like what tax deductions Romney might have made in 2007. 

It's unbecoming of a President, and should be insulting to each and every American who looks to that office for leadership, only to get showered with shallow excuses and hollow, populist rhetoric. 


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