Michael Barone

The Obamacare waiver process appears to violate that first rule. Two other recent Obama administration actions appear to violate the second.

One example is the National Labor Relations Board general counsel's action to prevent Boeing from building a $2 billion assembly plant for the 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina, which has a right-to-work law barring compulsory union membership. The NLRB says Boeing has to assemble the planes in non-right-to-work Washington state.

"I don't agree," says William Gould IV, NLRB chairman during the Bill Clinton years. "The Boeing case is unprecedented."

The other example is the Internal Revenue Service's attempt to levy a gift tax on donors to certain 501(c)(4) organizations that just happen to have spent money to elect Republicans.

A gift tax is normally assessed on transfers to children and other heirs that are designed to avoid estate taxes. It has been applied to political donations "rarely, if ever," according to New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom.

"The timing of the agency's moves, as the 2012 election cycle gets underway," continues Strom, is prompting some tax law and campaign finance experts to question whether the IRS could be sending a signal in an effort to curtail big donations."

In a Univision radio interview during the 2010 election cycle, Barack Obama urged Latinos not "to sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're going to punish our enemies and we're going to reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.'"

Punishing enemies and rewarding friends -- politics Chicago style -- seems to be the unfiying principle that helps explain the Obamacare waivers, the NLRB action against Boeing and IRS's gift tax assault on 501(c)(4) donors.

They look like examples of crony capitalism, bailout favoritism and gangster government. One thing they don't look like is the rule of law.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM