There has been a lot of commentary about the scandals enveloping the Obama White House. At the risk of repetition, here are a few more thoughts.
No, strike that. This needs to be repeated, from every possible outlet, until the American people realize the seriousness of what is going on. The chain of scandals relating to the Benghazi coverup, IRS targeting of conservatives, and Department of Justice intrusion into Associated Press journalists’ phone records represent a chilling pattern of behavior by our government. And, that behavior emanates from the tone set at the top.
I am not talking about the increasingly unserious partisanship between Democrats and Republicans. Not only are people sick of it, the pettiness of Washington is becoming a dangerous tranquilizer. President Obama’s flacks (including many in the media) are furiously spinning their own shocking actions into a mere partisan witch hunt by “desperate Republicans.” Move on, nothing to see here, just the usual Washington noise.
Incredibly, many in the GOP are taking the Democrats’ bait and shrinking these scandals into the next campaign pitch. If I get another email from the GOP using these scandals to ask for campaign money, I may unsubscribe. From the Party.
Republicans should jettison the campaign hype, be the adults in the room, and get to the bottom of what the President and his people knew and when they knew it. (If they do, campaign donations will follow.)
This is not a D versus R campaign issue. This is a systematic abuse of power by the most paranoid and politicized White House since Nixon’s. Many of us thought that electing as President a radical leftist with no experience in governing was a disaster waiting to happen.
It’s no longer waiting.
I served as a White House Fellow in the Bush Administration. One of the purposes of the Fellows program is to allow people from outside Washington like me to observe how decisions are made inside Washington. Some of the lessons learned as a Fellow are instructive.
First, the IRS. There is simply no way that a group of low-level IRS employees just decided on their own to start targeting conservatives for audits, tougher questioning, and slow-walked applications for the tax exempt status (that was simultaneously being given to liberal groups). No way. Bureaucrats do not set policy, and they surely do not do so without running everything up the chain of command, multiple times. Obama may not have given the order, but he appointed the officials who did.
And, the IRS targeting fits right in with a President who has expressly stated he intends to “punish his enemies” and, specifically, crush the GOP. Mr. Obama, your Administration got the message and carried it out long enough to help you win in 2012. Mission accomplished.
Benghazi. Again, it is inconceivable the White House was not intimately involved in scrubbing those infamous talking points through twelve drafts, until all the “inconvenient truths” were removed.
Before a President gives any speech, literally dozens of folks wordsmith and check facts, across every agency involved. For a national security story like Benghazi, senior leadership would have signed off on everything. Mistakes do happen; but lies do not happen by accident.
And, in the case of an ambassador assassinated by terrorists, it now appears that everything being said before the November election was not said by accident.
Likewise, the “what difference, at this point, does it make” explanations after the election have been riddled with misstatements, at least until three career State Department officials came forward with (some of) the truth. Heckuva job, Secretary Clinton.
The DOJ’s scrutiny of the Associated Press reporters’ phone records also fits the theme. Ostensibly to investigate leaks that threatened national security, the DOJ’s intrusion into the work, cell, and personal phone records of twenty reporters was done without notice to the AP. Occurring in the Spring of 2012, as election season heated up, the search has already diminished journalists’ capacity to report on the government, according to the head of the AP. There is more to come on this one.
So, let’s review. Your freedoms of speech and association, a free press, and protections against unreasonable searches have been seriously compromised for Obama and his pals to maintain power. Add in the Administration’s attacks on your right to bear arms, freedom of religion, and the basic expectation that our leaders tell the truth, and it’s quite a second term agenda.
For those who still support this President, it’s time to put down the Kool-aid, and start paying attention.
— Cory T. Wilson is a Madison attorney with Heidelberg Steinberger Colmer & Burrow, P.A. Follow Cory on Twitter, @CoryWilsonMS, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.