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Here are three stories from the last week as an example of Obama's machine politics.

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The Machine in Action

Here are three stories from the last week as an example of Obama’s machine politics.

The subtitle of my new book To Save America is Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine.

A reporter recently challenged me about that term to describe the Left, specifically the accusation that they are a “machine.” 

He asked if all governing wasn’t about assembling a machine to hold onto power and if I was simply trying to demonize what is normal behavior in politics. 

My answer was that he is confusing the assembling of a coalition of different groups with mutual (or at least, non-conflicting) goals with the building of a machine that uses dishonesty, corruption, intimidation, and government power to make itself stronger so it can steamroll over the will of the American people.

Had this reporter asked me this same question today, I would have pointed him to three stories from the last week as an example of this behavior from the Left.

One of these two Democrats is lying…neither is being honest.

Last week, Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak defeated incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. 

However, what should have been a good week for Sestak quickly turned uncomfortable as questions reemerged about an admission he made that someone in the Obama administration offered him a job in exchange for him not running against Specter.
Such an offer would be a felony, as it is using Executive branch funds for explicitly political purposes.

Given the gravity of this accusation, one would think that Sestak and the White House would come out forcefully to reassert or deny the charge, respectively. 

However, on this Sunday’s talk shows, Sestak and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs could not have been more evasive.  

Check out this video compilation to see the contortions they go through to avoid answering the question. 

President Obama courted Sen. Specter to switch party affiliation from Republican to Democrat back in April 2009 and publicly backed him in the primary.  Rep. Sestak thus ran as someone who was not beholden to the Democratic political machine and would provide fresh blood to the Senate. 

How quickly things change.  Notice in those interviews that Sestak keeps clinging to his narrow admission that “he was asked a question and he felt compelled to answer it honestly.” 

If he really was offered a job, Sestak’s evasiveness may not technically be lying, but he shouldn’t deceive himself to believe he is being honest.  Welcome to the machine, Joe.  

Corrupting the brave and courageous

Another example of the machine in action comes from a story in the New York Times about the government employee pensions that are bankrupting cities and states across the country.

The story is as much sad as it is enraging because it shows how machine politics can corrupt everything and everyone within its reach.

The article details how government employees, including police and firefighters, are encouraged to game the pension system to achieve extraordinarily high payouts in retirement.  They do this by racking up overtime pay in their final year that the pension formula then uses as a base salary from which to determine their pension. 

The article quotes a police officer who retired at age 44 earning $74,000 a year and now, three years later, draws a pension of over $100,000 a year.  He claims he has done nothing wrong, that the ability to retire after 20 years with a high pension was the only reason why he joined the police force, and that he “held up [his] end of the bargain.” 
There is a certain logic to this, and explains why government employee unions are going to fight so hard against the reforms we need.  Indeed, it is hard to say to police and firefighters, who risk their life to protect the public, that we now have to change the terms of the contracts they signed. 

However, that logic does not justify abusing the rules of the pension system to achieve higher payouts than were intended.  Nor does it justify the actions of those union bosses and shortsighted, dishonest politicians who, in order to expand their political power, set up a system that encouraged corruption and promised something they knew could not be delivered. 

This sad reality, where civil servants have been corrupted into being the bane of taxpayers, is the direct result of the secular-socialist machine’s deliberate strategy to use our tax dollars to expand its power. 

The anger that police, firefighters, teachers and other government employees will no doubt feel as states around the country engage in pension reform should be directed at those who lied to them, not those trying to clean up the mess the machine politicians have left behind. 
Intimidation tactics of the machine

Finally, a recent Fortune story by Nina Easton illustrates the depths to which the secular-socialist machine will go to intimidate its opponents.

Easton lives next door to Greg Baer, the deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America.  She writes about watching 14 busloads of protesters from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an important Obama ally, unload in front of Baer’s house with placards and bullhorns and march up to his front steps, screaming and chanting in rage over the supposed “greed” of banks.

Trapped inside the house was Baer’s 14-year-old son, who was home alone, hiding terrified in the bathroom.  When Baer arrived, he called the police and pushed through the protesters to find his son.  When the police arrived they refused to arrest anyone because they feared it might “incite” the mob.  The protesters eventually moved on to the next family on their hit list. 

This thuggish display was a raw intimidation tactic.  The message the SEIU was sending to their opponents was simple – oppose us and we’ll come after your family.  Nothing is off limits. Yet, it is the Tea Party protests that are breathlessly covered as potentially violent. 

To Save America

Stopping the secular-socialist machine is going to be an enormous struggle.  This outrageous protest at a private home is just a preview of the depths to which the Left will sink to hold onto power. 

I wrote To Save America  to arm citizens with the facts about the radical goals of the Left and the way they operate as well as to provide conservative solutions to America’s most pressing challenges. 

My core message in To Save America is simple – our most powerful weapon is the truth.  Free people telling the truth have changed history and can do so again.  It will take courage to tell the truth, to insist 2+2=4, and stand up to the machine of the Left.  But if we do, I am certain that we can reclaim America from the secular-socialist machine and replace the failing laws, bureaucracies and institutions that are hurting our country so that America will remain the most safe, prosperous and free nation on earth.

Your friend,

Newt

Newt’s Quick Links:

• To Save America is also available as an audiobook, narrated by Callista and me.  You can buy it here.

• In response to the growing threat to faith’s role in civil society, Archbishop Chaput addresses issues from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stance on abortion and to the separation of church and state. Watch a special video series from his appearance on the Hoover Institution’s "Uncommon Knowledge" at ReAL’s website, torenewamerica.com.

•Sign up for The Americano´s First Annual Hispanic Forum. Space is limited, so register today! http://theamericano.com/forum2010/

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Written By

Mr. Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine, Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works and Winning the Future (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

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