The Obama administration is cleverly and carefully seducing the powers that be in Washington, just as it makes remarkable strides in expanding the power and scope of the federal government.

Just about the only force that stands in the way of a complete capitulation — interestingly and ironically — is the Chinese, who are worried about costs of the Obama spending spree (they want to get paid back someday).

The national media is putty in the hands of Mr. Charisma.

The face for the press is Robert Gibbs, but the man behind the strategy is Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff. Both Emanuel and David Axelrod work the press at a level not seen in Washington since the days of Thomas Jefferson.

I am sure it has not gone unnoticed that Brian Williams of NBC got to spend more quality time with the president and his family “behind the scenes” than most of the congressional leadership will ever see POTUS and company.

Payback for fawning coverage during the election? You betcha. You kind of wonder why George Stephanapoulos even tries to play it straight anymore.

Williams and company, in a desperate search for some solid ratings numbers in the face of a slowing (collapsing?) economy and declining (collapsing?) advertising revenue, seem more than willing to sacrifice any bit of objectivity in order to get Barack the Great in front of their viewers.

If fawning is what it takes, by God, fawning is what we will do!

But the Great Seduction reaches beyond the press and into the ranks of the Republicans.

The latest example comes with the pilfering of Rep. John McHugh, an upstate New York Republican, to be the new Army secretary.

Short story: I once, on behalf of the Speaker, tried to get Mr. McHugh to vote for a budget resolution that he found to be lacking in the necessary departments to keep his constituents happy. Over a drink, he happily and politely told me that his constituents were more important than the Republican leadership, and he then happily voted against the resolution (or not so happily, if memory serves).

My whipping experience notwithstanding, McHugh is a good choice for Army secretary. He is a great guy, and has developed a real expertise in the field. Sadly, he comes from a seat that would have been easily retained had he stayed in Congress, but offers real challenges now that he is gone. But that is all part of the plan.

McHugh was a voice of reason, and now he has gone over to the Obama team.

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) — same thing. He was such a threat that they sent him to China.

Ray LaHood, another reasonable voice for the Republican Party — now a happy member of the Rahm Squad.

We are witnessing the Great Seduction.

In the movie “All the President’s Men,” there was a great scene where “Deep Throat” tells Woodward: “They wanted to run against McGovern. And who are they running against?”

Obama wants to run against Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. And who is he running against, currently?

Not to say that either Obama or Emanuel is the reincarnation of Richard Nixon. But they are equally clever in the game of politics.

If you are wondering why those pesky Republicans keep talking about the debt, consider yourself seduced by the power of Mr. Obama. This is the Great Seduction.