The Wall Street Journal has a story about Democratic dirty tricks against donors to the Romney campaign. It helps explain how citizens are targeted once the President puts them on his public enemies list.
Three weeks ago, Obama's campaign web site publicly named and lambasted eight private citizens for backing Mitt Romney. It accused them of being wealthy and having less-than-reputable records.
One of the men was Frank VanderSloot, the CEO of Melaleuca, Inc. He was accused of being "litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement."
Shortly after that post went live, a Democratic operative named Michael Wolf began asking a local courthouse in Idaho for all documents related to VanderSloot's personal and professional dealings there. Wolf, the Journal reports, was until recently a clerk on the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Now he works for Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS, a company that does opposition research.
The Journal asked Mr. Wolf about why he was digging into VanderSloot and what his relationship with Fusion was. He said he didn't want to talk about it.
When the Journal tried to find out who was paying this company to dig through VanderSloot's records, they wouldn't say. VanderSloot was first targeted earlier this year:
Liberal bloggers and media have since dug into his past, dredging up long-ago Idaho controversies that touched on gay issues. His detractors have spiraled these into accusations that Mr. VanderSloot is a "gay bashing thug." He's become a national political focus of attention, aided by the likes of partisan Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. Bloggers have harassed his children, visiting their social media accounts and asking for interviews and information.
Mr. VanderSloot has said his attackers have misconstrued facts and made false allegations. In February he wrote a long reply, publicly stating that he has "many gay friends whom I love and respect" who should "have the same freedoms and rights as any other individual." The Obama campaign's response, in April, was to single out Mr. VanderSloot and repeat the slurs.
Political donations don't come with a right to privacy, and Mr. VanderSloot might have expected a spotlight. Then again, President Obama, in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting, gave a national address calling for "civility" in politics. Yet rather than condemn those demeaning his opponent's donors, Mr. Obama—the nation's most powerful man—instead publicly named individuals, egging on the attacks. What has followed is the slimy trolling into a citizen's private life.
VanderSloot says that when Obama singled him out on the enemies list, he knew it would mean more pressure. But he says the false accusations and public beatings are no deterrent. He says he may even make another donation.
Nevertheless, this enemies list and the accompanying bullying aren't appropriate. I'd feel much better about this man having to endure what he's going through if it were just coming from well-funded advocates of changing the definition of marriage. Having the president participate in this is wrong.