A nudge from Ben Boychuk about The Politico’s Behind the Curtain by Allen and Vandehei who are discussing “Why the GOP thinks it could blow it” which is all about conservatives letting their outrage get away with them. They have their little list, including comparisons to Nixon, calls for impeachment, and we also see the insistence that one or all of the three current scandals are the biggest political scandals ever, and it is natural that we have our conservative cries from the heart over the direction that President Obama has taken our government and the nation. But,
It is important to remember that there is no evidence any of the specific controversies directly link to President Obama himself. No one knows what the various congressional probes will turn up, but until there is a direct connection to the president, the best Republicans can probably do is use the three episodes to illustrate what they see as the dangerous reach — and pervasive incompetence — of the Obama government.
If we howl too much no one pays attention to the details in the cacophony. Blood lust is ugly. Impeachment is not going to happen given the composition of the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are banking on the GOP going overboard – especially with women and minorities. One top Democratic aide, getting ready for combat, emailed that Republicans are likely to come off as “a bunch of white guys hammering away.” “Wonder how they will be if Hillary or Susan Rice testifies?” the aide asked. “Republicans are fully capable of taking an issue that should have valid questions asked, and turning it into another Whitewater investigation that goes way off the cliff. They could wind up making Hillary a sympathetic figure.”
No one is going to pardon us while we gloat at the comeuppance of Obama & Co. Kim Strassel’s point about the IRS scandal plays in all of them: “The IRS Scandal Started at the Top” , but how it started there is is more about politics than about the kind of corruption necessary to bring down the regime.
President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an “independent” agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.
But that’s not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
Therefore, even with the deaths in Benghazi and that subsequent ludicrous cover-up, the enemy was not Al Qaeda. Following Stephen Hayes’ (wonderful) reporting at the Weekly Standard, that is clear. We are the enemies, conservatives are. Here’s Strassel again,
The president derided “tea baggers.” Vice President Joe Biden compared them to “terrorists.” In more than a dozen speeches Mr. Obama raised the specter that these groups represented nefarious interests that were perverting elections. “Nobody knows who’s paying for these ads,” he warned. “We don’t know where this money is coming from,” he intoned.
In case the IRS missed his point, he raised the threat of illegality: “All around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates . . . And they don’t have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation.”
Foreign powers controlling the Tea Party movement. That’s a good one. And people believe him, enough people believe him, people who work in our government and really ought to know better believe him. Except there are so many of them. Each government employee with a job to protect and the whole conservative crowd calling for smaller government easily becomes the enemy.
Perhaps also instructive is yesterday’s RedandBlue debate, “Can Barack Obama survive scandals?” by Ben Boychuck and his friend, Joel Mathis. Mr. Mathis says that second-term presidents are always scandal-plagued; political enemies are always out to find dirt and these issues, especially Benghazi, are being blown out of proportion. Boychuk responds that the question in the scandals is “What did he know and when did he know it?” and offers scant hope that we will ever find out. But he says it doesn’t really matter. Here’s why,
Congress should get to the bottom of what these federal agencies did, find out who knew what, learn whether people broke the law and decide whether laws should change. But let’s face it: Our federal government is simply too massive for one man to control. The remedy isn’t necessarily to replace the president, or to impose new “accountability” rules on the bureaucracy, or even to jail a few overzealous officials — satisfying as that would be.
The answer is to shrink the size and scope of government. Who’s up for that?
Many conservatives are and have been up for that but the great desideratum is the the general public sees the necessity of reining in government. There really isn’t a hope of impeaching the president. I would say especially not this president, but really, with an elected Senate and media-based politics, you would need to have evidence of the president’s administration selling guns to drug dealers… oh, wait. No, you would need video evidence of the president whispering conspiratorial concessions to the Russian president… hmmm. I suspect even if it were true that the president had the Justice Department bugging phones in the Congress, somehow you would need to be able to prove evil intent, that the president elected because he is a vague bundle of good intentions was actually not. For some of us, that would be a logical denouement, but it is simply not going to play to the barely interested spectators that constitute most of America.
But we might be able to convince them that if government is too big, too unwieldy for even a marvel like Barack Obama to manage and control, then we ought to do something about the size and bloat of government. What we cannot do is allow these scandals to be turned to an argument for more regulation and more inspectors, for watchdogs on our watchdogs, commissions to watch the departments that watch us. Enough already. We don’t have time to gloat. We have to make the bigger argument and it is nothing personal.