The most important American political story of the last week or so is the one about the Dinesh D’Souza case. I do hear there was some speech given by an eminent somebody, and an outbreak of amazingly original and strategically astute thinking by moderate Republicans on immigration policy, but I call ‘em the way I see ‘em.

In an essay that deserves more attention, Jim Lakely of the Heartland Institute showed how the D’Souza case reveals a pattern of selective enforcement, disproportionate response, and in a word, government persecution of political opponents, and he laid out ten other serious instances of such persecution.

Some might dismiss his piece, The Unceasing Political Thuggery of Obama’s Gangster Government, as another instance of conservative red-meat punditry. It is that, sure, but I would advice a closer look. For given the nearly nine months after the IRS scandal, with no signs of serious reckoning for any of the major players, with little indication of legacy media (MSM) interest, and indeed with new (and open!) calls for tighter IRS control of conservative groups, not simply from liberal activists and bloggers, but from major leaders like Senator Schumer, the signs increasingly suggest his headline might be correct.

RTWT, but here’s a key graph, one that the history buffs can have fun with:

Never in the history of this country have we seen such a broad and coordinated abuse of the government’s power to threaten criminal prosecution and ruin the lives and livelihoods of people the president and his party see as political “enemies.” None of the victims above did anything that even smelled like a criminal act (except, perhaps, D’Souza) before the state came crashing down with the inevitable and purposeful result of ruining their lives. ...putting those dissenters through the government’s paces was the whole point. …As columnist Mark Steyn has often noted, the process is the punishment.

Never? The Nixon administration is the first obvious point of comparison, but those who really know the history of our nation’s presidency and federal bureaucracy might be able to point to other worse instances of such “broad and coordinated abuse” for the sake of intimidating and demoralizing one’s critics.

But stop. Is that really the sort of question we should be asking? So long as facts are forcing us to conclude that our present administration has moved at least near or into the group of worst administrations for political thuggery in our history, isn’t the real question about us? About why we are tolerating this?


The most frightening and dismaying thing here is the ongoing silence of the moderates, and the similar silence of the ethical liberals.

Some of that is due to media malpractice:the outlets they tune into simply do not report items like this, or do so in way that makes them utterly ignorable.

Still, it is a sick-making sound.

For their silence is making the Democratic Party a party that refuses to forthrightly criticize, discipline, and eventually disown its members who call for or engage in this Chicago-style political intimidation,

or its members who are cavalier about violating the Constitution’s most basic provisions,

or its members who regularly and unashamedly employ deception.

And yes, the current Democratic Party is one that has disturbing pattern of appointing and tolerating persons who have little or no moral compass.

Bob Filner and Anthony Weiner represent only one kind of such rottenness, and not the worst kind, despite the astounding fact that the obviousness of their amorality was tolerated by nearly all of the Democrat operatives around them for as long as those cretins looked to remain power players.

What is worse is when such inability to detect and denounce a proclivity for vice is accompanied by an inability to detect and denounce a proclivity for viciousness towards others. And not just towards opponents. Here is Hugh Hewitt’s personal reflection (from around May 2013) about certain patterns of federal bureaucracy staffing, for what it’s worth:

I have spent 23 years representing clients before various federal agencies, and the vast majority of federal officials I have dealt with have been just like those I worked with during my time as a general counsel in two federal agencies, and as a staff lawyer the White House Counsel’s office and DOJ –superb public servants of the highest ethics and significant competence.

I continue that law practice before an alphabet soup of agencies, as do my partners, but things have changed, and they have changed at every level of the federal government. Indifference combined with arrogance and sometimes pure spite used to be very, very rare, but increasingly it seeps out of almost every agency, and the very good employees struggle to undo the work of the worst.

By their appointees, and their appointees’ appointees, you will know them.

This is not your grandfather’s, or even your father’s, Democratic Party. I say it is one in an ethical free-fall.

William Galston, in his magisterial 1991 work of democratic theory, Liberal Purposes, said that one of the virtues specific to liberalism must be patience-the ability to accept, and work within the constraints on action imposed by social diversity and constitutional institutions.  It’s sad to have to admit that the application of this to liberals in our day has simply become laughable. The lion’s share of Galston’s fellow liberals, and especially the ones in positions of power, openly reject that. 

In the words of one young Democrat appointee (head of the Texas division of Enroll America) Christopher Tarango to a James O’Keefe undercover plant, authorizing him to do an illegal action:  Look, I like where your head’s at, you’re going by what we call Rule No. 17, Rule No. 17 is — and I told you is — do whatever it f***ing takes.  Details from the November reporting on this particular story (merely one of many hundreds of similar ones under Obama’s regime) here.

The foulest and most revealing word there is we.  


Regardless of whether you accept the broad picture I am sketching, it is an undeniable fact that the actions of the Democratic Party’s government agents and appointees are sowing a dangerous sort of fear and suspicion throughout the nation. The increasing appearance of a systematic program of intimidating critics is a serious problem, and is so regardless of whether conservative citizens are becoming too alarmed or not by what perhaps conceivably could be more of a set of unrelated or loosely-related instances than evidence of some master-plan.

How many more apparent persecutions are we before a serious movement for a tax “strike,” done by means of millions of citizen vowing payment-slowdown, gets underway?  That could cripple our nation, and tempt Obama into draconian response. And with what arguments could responsible conservatives hold it back? Without even being allowed to know, due to Democratic congressional obstruction, the facts about the initial IRS scandal?

And yet, our moderates-so-called, who say they are oh-so against the encouragement of “extremism,” and who absurdly locate it in things like Arizona Republicans saying they are tired of John McCain, well… …they remain silent.

And yet, those of our liberals who still assure us that, yes, they are bound by what Jesus says about the Golden Rule, or by what Kant says about morals, or by what the grand frameworks of Deliberative Democracy or Political Liberalism call for, well…

…they also remain silent.


That is why the example of Alan Dershowitz, who a few days ago said the prosecution of Dinesh D’Souza smelled to high heaven, is so refreshing and edifying:

This is clearly a case of selective prosecution for one of the most common things done during elections...

Hey, maybe it isn’t “clearly” such a case. And of course, it does seem D’Souza is guilty of the charges, although admittedly in the matter of an election where the candidate he donated to had absolutely no chance. But Dershowitz knows that appearances matter, and he knows where the real danger at present lies. D’Souza and his actions are unimportant, compared to those of his persecutors.

Liberals, moderates, watch Mr. Dershowitz, and see how it’s done.  Jonathan Turley also.  Keep America out of dangerous waters on these kinds of issues, and for God’s sake, start speaking up!

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