Friday, July 26, 2013

The "Phony Scandal" Scandal

Now that the President has decided to pivot to economics for the umpteenth time, the brain trust that is the White House has determined that one of the reasons Congress has not done its job to authorize more stimulus is because it is distracted by "phony scandals". Of course, those using this rehearsed terminology do not refer to anything specific, but we can safely conclude, I think, that they're referring to Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, NSA datamining and the unsubstantiated "co-conspirator" investigation into James Rosen.

Fast and Furious? No, I think they dodged that bullet already and that controversy has faded into unfortunate irrelevance. The insanely poor track record of the Department of Energy making venture capital investments into green energy initiatives? I'm sorry, how is that scandalous? The fact that Hassan Nadal, the accused assassin at Ft. Hood, remains on the government payroll? Please! That would have happened under any administration. That Harry Reid invoked an obscure Senate budget loophole to insure that Obamacare would only have to pass with a simple majority? Tactics, my friend, tactics. That Harry Reid actually spoke on the floor of the Senate and accused a presidential nominee of not having paid any income tax for ten years? Geez, you'd think with his unfettered access to IRS records, he'd at least made a shot at releasing accurate information.

The bottom line is that none of these matters are phony or unworthy of deeper review. If these matters had occurred under George Bush's watch, we'd be riveted to C-SPAN right now as the impeachment hearings would be well underway. But more offensive is the fraudulent outrage expressed by the President when the scandals in the opening paragraph were brought to light, and his complete separation from them now. Did he not pledge to leave no stone unturned to bring the killers of Amb. Stevens to justice? Did he not express disgust that the IRS must operate apolitically in all circumstances? Has he not promised to run the most transparent presidency in US history?

The fact is that the only thing phony about these scandals was the faux outrage expressed by the President when they were unfolding. Clearly, he didn't mean a single word of it. Purportedly, actions speak louder than words, and there has been no action on his part to find and prosecute those responsible for them. Benghazi - all the fault of an amateur filmmaker who offended Muslim sensibilities. The IRS - a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati acting on their own authority. James Rosen - well, we never actually intended to bring any charges against him. Falsehoods. Of course, if you keep yelling "phony" often enough, it will be repeated by E.J. Dionne, Eugene Robinson, Juan Williams, Chris Matthews, Dana Milbank, Charles Blow and you know the rest of that story.

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