Some Surprising Twists & Turns in ‘Pay-to-Play’ Story
By Michael Collins Piper
Republican critics of President-elect Barack Obama are enthusiastically shouting “gotcha” in the wake of allegations that Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) was secretly trying to sell Obama’s vacant Senate seat. However, there are much bigger long-term policy implications at work behind the scenes.
The truth is that Illinois politics—particularly in Obama’s home base of Chicago—have long been known as a cauldron of venal political corruption with a handful of powerful secret interests directing the course of events. Even if Obama has “clean hands,” the thread of corruption surrounding the governor and other Democratic power brokers may start to unravel, implicating many close Obama associates.
Already, Obama’s newly appointed chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is being implicated in the context of the bizarre Senate seat-for-sale tragicomedy.
The Watergate affair, which came to light as a result of a break-in by operatives linked to the Republican Nixon administration, snowballed into a more-wide-ranging series of scandals involving influence peddling, obstruction of justice, bribery, illegal campaign contributions, etc, netting a host of GOP figures and ultimately bringing down Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew.
Although an argument can be made that there was a secret agenda behind the Watergate affair—that it was effectively a coup d’etat designed to topple Nixon (who was intent on cleaning house in official Washington and redirecting U.S. foreign policy against the long-standing “special relationship” with Israel)—the fact is that the scandal did entwine the president and prevent him from acting as he wished, and kept Nixon at bay for the two years following the 1972 election (which Nixon won by a landslide) until he was forced out of office.
The ongoing revelations in Illinois may well have a similar impact on the new Obama administration, keeping the president on edge, essentially destabilized. This is precisely what happened with the so-called “Whitewater” scandal that enveloped Bill and Hillary Clinton from virtually the first days of his administration, ultimately leading—through a tangled series of events—to the Monica Lewinsky mess, involving Bill Clinton’s illicit affair with a White House intern.
Despite the common (and quite inaccurate) perception—particularly by Clinton’s many “conservative” critics—that somehow the “liberal media” lionized Clinton during his presidency, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the truth is that throughout his presidency, Clinton was very much under fire from the mass media in America.
The record demonstrates that it was that media—which is controlled by Jewish families and financial networks sympathetic to Israel—which played such a large part in promoting public knowledge of the scandals surrounding the Clintons.
The January 4, 1999 issue of The Nation featured a revealing article by Michael Tomasky which examined this phenomenon in quite revealing detail. Tomasky pointed out that it was actually The New York Times—the flagship “liberal” newspaper—which played a substantial part in leaking many damaging revelations from the long-running investigation of President Clinton and Hillary Clinton by Special Prosecutor Ken Starr. Tomasky wrote:
“At every crucial turn and pivot, the Times’ editorial page has marched in lockstep with the prosecutor and his cheering section.”
“Why is this worth remarking on?” asked Tomasky. Because, he pointed out, “on national matters, [the Times’ editorial] page serves as more of an ideological Baedeker, instructing the country’s elite as to what constitutes responsible liberal opinion.”
In other words, The New York Times—voice of the pro-Israel elite—was telling its readers that it was “okay” to support Ken Starr’s maneuvering against Clinton. And so the question, then, was why one of America’s most liberal presidents would be the target of the editorial wrath of the very liberal NewYork Times.
The answer it was that it was because Bill Clinton was perceived to be insufficiently supportive of the demands of Israel. In fact, the Lewinsky scandal forced the president into retreat as far as pushing Israel was concerned—much to the delight of Israel’s Likud.
A journalist specializing in media critique, Michael Collins Piper is the author of The High Priests of War, The New Jerusalem, Dirty Secrets, The Judas Goats, The Golem, Target Traficant and My First Days in the White House All are available from AFP.
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(Issue # 52, December 29, 2008)