Barack Obama isn’t the first U.S. president to conjure up scapegoats to serve his political ends. The Roosevelts, both Teddy and Franklin, were masters at the game. TR decided the trusts were an enemy of the people and busted the likes of Standard Oil and Northern Securities, which controlled the railroads in the northwest. FDR demonized just about anyone who had money.
When President Harry Truman’s push for oil in 1945 prompted him to claim all resources on the U.S. continental shelf, he unleashed a global race for the seas that led the United Nations to create rules for asserting territory.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who called a Democratic state senator an “arrogant S.O.B.” this week, joins a distinguished and bipartisan line of politicians who have employed the term. It may help him too.
A leading Republican complaint during the partial government shutdown was that President Barack Obama had delayed implementation of the Affordable Care Act for businesses but not individuals. Many party strategists argued that its protest should have been focused on delaying rather than defunding the law.