The Washington Scandal Frenzy
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  • Fred

    Well, when you attain the White House from a third world dictatorship like Chicago, it’s not surprising that you’d tend to run the country like a third world dictatorship.

  • I am not as disturbed as some by the AP phone records story. It may be that the subpoena was overly broad or that the “secret” process employed was not necessary. But there would be no issue if AP had not irresponsibly reported detailed information about covert counter-terrorism operations of the US and three allies. AG Holder said today that this was one of the two or three most serious “leaks” of national security secrets in his professional career and that it endangered Americans.

    It is beyond dispute that the story exposed the identity of a Saudi national being run as a spy by MI-6 and CIA against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Worse, it is likely that details in the story compromised operations by the Saudi and Yemenu intelligence services

  • Stacy Garvey

    I thought Ross Douthat’s take was excellent”

    “But I’m willing to guess this much: Even though an American Civil Liberties Union official described their excessive interest in right-wing groups as “about as constitutionally troubling as it gets,” the bureaucrats in question probably thought they were just doing their patriotic duty, and giving dangerous extremists the treatment they deserved.

    Where might an enterprising, public-spirited I.R.S. agent get the idea that a Tea Party group deserved more scrutiny from the government than the typical band of activists seeking tax-exempt status? Oh, I don’t know: why, maybe from all the prominent voices who spent the first two years of the Obama era worrying that the Tea Party wasn’t just a typically messy expression of citizen activism, but something much darker — an expression of crypto-fascist, crypto-racist rage, part Timothy McVeigh and part Bull Connor, potentially carrying a wave of terrorist violence in its wings.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/12/opinion/sunday/douthat-the-taxman-vs-the-tea-party.html?_r=0

    • qet

      Yes, and it is ironic how the Left believes the Tea Party to be crypto-anything, seeing that the Tea Party operates out in the open for all to see. it is yet another example of the Left’s projection of itself onto its adversary.

  • charlesrwilliams

    Well, now. What about the scandalous first term? Fast and furious, HHS regulations that violate the freedom of religion act, the refusal to faithfully execute the immigration laws or to defend DOMA, blatantly unconstitutional “recess” appointments, selective enforcement of civil rights laws, tax rulings that violate the clear intent and text of the Obamacare law, failure to prosecute the criminal Corzine, crony capitalist deals with politically connected green corporations, threats to insurance companies from HHS, thousands of Obamacare waivers to politically connect corporations, the jailing of Nakoula on a flimsy pretext. These things are, of course, the tip of the iceberg.

  • At the root of all of this is the notion that if you have “good intentions”, nothing should stand in the way of doing “the right thing”. For whatever reason, this notion, which is actually a very old idea that would have been well-understood in the Middle Ages – and feared by the Founding Fathers due to its obvious dictatorial implications – became hugely popular in the 1960s with the “new left”.

    People imbued with this idea literally don’t think they are doing anything wrong: after all, they “mean well”. And their ahistoric enough to not realize that the world is littered with the bleached corpses of those killed in the service of “well-meaning” ideologies.

    • You sound like Robert D. Kaplan in his Warrior Politics. The pagan ethos demanded beneficial results for the polis, the nation, the people. Good intentions were not enough. It the results weren’t good, the intentions were irrelevant.

      • qet

        Morality, not policy, is judged by intentions.

        • I agree. The American political class has been blurring the boundary between morality and policy for 230+ years. They’ve tried to make the Christian personal morality aimed at salvation of the soul into policy for the nation-state, with mixed results because the nation-state demands a different calculus from “making it to heaven.” States don’t go to heaven. They either succeed in protecting and enriching their citizens or they don’t. IMO opinion substituting personal morality criteria for the criteria on which nation-states’ success should be judged is a short trip to policy chaos and ineffectuality on the international stage. Carter and Obama are the closest examples of what happens when you get a president who values goodness in the compassionate, Christian moral sense over effectivity in protecting American national interests.

          • Tom

            Well, the trouble wasn’t that Carter and Obama favored compassionate, Christian morality in foreign policy. The problem is that neither one of them had a clue about how to go about it.

          • I disagree with your first sentence. Carter’s certainly reeked of sanctity. Obama’s has the appearance of it without, as you observe, being very effective. For the last 50 years Democrats have put a lot of apparently compassionate good-hearted initiatives like human rights and fair treatment of foreign populations by their own governments way ahead of American national interests. As you say, they were deliciously ineffective while squandering American political capital.

          • Tom

            Thing is, those things are good to strive for, and, long-term, are in America’s best interests.
            However, going about achieving such things in a moralistic way ends up causing, as you said, the squandering of American political capital for no gain at all.

          • Jim Luebke

            Judeo-Christian ethics (honesty, humility, moderation, etc) are good for bureaucrats who deal with the American public, though.

  • Anthony

    “The IRS scandals, more than the others, telegraph to voters that Democrats can’t be trusted with power….” No, no, no, in our Democratic Republic said behavior does not reflect Donkey or Elephant proclivities but systemic opportunity – Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Public office is a public trust. Perhaps as citizens, we need not only to be more vigilant (sans party) but also more forehanded in our electoral responsibilities and bureaucratic staffing.

    • Jim Luebke

      The only way to keep bureaucrats clear of these kinds of temptation is to reduce the stakes. If we want to stop gross abuses of power, we need to give them less power in the first place.

      The TEA Party was getting extra scrutiny because they’re a direct threat to the perqs of the Credentialed Elite.

      • Anthony

        For me this is not a Tea party issue but more in line with where the public goes wrong. Thanks.

        • Jim Luebke

          The public would do better to remember the principles of the Founders… the best way to limit government corruption is to limit government power.

          • Anthony

            Please, see above.

    • skhpcola

      You have a way with words. A way with words that tends towards sesquipedalianism coupled with faux intellectual insight. Briefly, you improperly use big words to say nothing.

      • Anthony

        Let’s keep this very simple: reads like low grade envy and quite self indulgent like 3-(6×3) = ? you take your posting too seriously. End of this thread acronym.

        • skhpcola

          “Simple” would facilitate understanding your apparent diminished ability to communicate using the English language. And the answer to the math question is “-15.” I regret that innumeracy accompanies your illiteracy.

          • Anthony

            My friend, the answer is in your post; you miss the point. Please rant elsewhere. Thanks.

          • skhpcola

            The answer is in my comment? My condolences on your illiteracy and innumeracy.

  • “The IRS scandals, more than the others, telegraph to voters that Democrats can’t be trusted with power.”
    Well, maybe. Frankly, if the stimulus boondoggle, the green-energy dalliance, the execrable foreign policy screw-ups, Obamacare stampeded thru congress on a party line vote, the vicious hostility to conservatives, the chronic lying about Republicans, and the other myriad transgressions of this administration didn’t make a dent in Americans’ impervious hides, I doubt seriously that the IRS business will make a dent. We Boomers of a certain age think people who behave like Nixon and his dirty tricks troupe will be denounced and run out of office. It just doesn’t happen or Democrats would never be elected to any national public office.

  • Anthony

    Observation: Where the public goes wrong vis-a-vis democratic governance is in its reptilian responses to various unexamined prejudices: ethnic, religious, generational, national origin, occupational, regional, aesthetic, personal, etc. We want to inflame our emotions and not be cautioned by reason. The point here is not to highlight our reptilian behavior but to reveal that constituents in home districts or state get rooked because often we are working off a good deal of frustrated hostility and status quo remains.

    • The trouble with stigmatizing prejudice is that folks forget how useful they can be as shortcuts to avoid a lot of inconclusive rumination. Some, not all, prejudice is based on experience. If my experience with plumbers tells me that a couple of them are dumber than a pallet of bricks, I’m not going to do business with those plumbers under any circumstances. That’s prejudice. But it’s based on experience and it serves to avoid repeats of such things as my ceiling collapsing from water damage due to leaks caused by the plumber’s worthless son. If a banker understands in his greedy little gut that an illegal alien working 3 low-income jobs to support 5 kids, or a woman on welfare with 3 kids is a bad credit risk and all the logic of his universe tells him not to make a mortgage with those individuals, is that prejudice or common sense? The problem with a lot of post-60s policy is that it asks us to ignore common sense and experience in favor of some vague policy goal from which we are not likely to realize any benefit. It was a black day when SCOTUS opted for the prejudicial effect test rather than the prejudicial intent test to presume improper bias where none existed.

      • Anthony

        I think we have a “verbal dispute” rather than a “real dispute” regarding word prejudice and its shortcut functions. I think we differ in what is at issue therefore without clarification we exchange at crosspurposes. Nevertheless, I understand your dimensional use of term.

        • “dimensional use”
          Eh?

          • Anthony

            Corlyss, because I respect your commentaries and you imply clarity (since for all intents and purposes, I am “done” with this Quick Take), “dimensional use” means in this instance (for word prejudice if I recall) that you and I may share same emotional dimension of the word but our understanding of its descriptive dimension may differ.

          • Thanks for the clarification. I thought for a sec there I was trapped in psycho-speak.

  • SLEcoman

    This story is already dated. We now have one minor EPA scandal that fits into the IRS template. EPA required conservative groups to pay for copies of requested documents but provided copies to environmental/progressive groups for free.
    And there are three more EPA activities that deserve more investigation:
    1. Reports that EPA enforcement was different for supporters of liberal/progressive causes than for supporters of conservative causes.
    2. Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s use of her private “Richard Windsor” email account for government business, then claiming the emails don’t have to be provided as a public record.
    3. EPA exposing individuals to fine particulate concentrations 10 TIMES the NAAQS, to test the impact of fine particulate on human health. The EPA is having trouble explaining how this is not a violation of medical ethics while still supporting Lisa Jackson’s testimony before Congress about the immediate deadly effects of inhaling fine particulate concentrations > than the NAAQS.

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