PRESIDENT OBAMA fires the acting (interim) head of the IRS, appoints Daniel I. Erfel from the OMB, but that’s scene as “damage control.” What would Ronald Reagan have done? Whatever it was it would have been enough. After all, he got away with Iran-Contra. George W. Bush got away with secret torture chambers and lying about WMDs in Iraq. But unlike Chris Matthews who sees racism everywhere, it’s not about that.
Bill Clinton wasn’t black and he went through worse, with William Rehnquist setting up the judicial skids to get ready for impeachment before the “hicks from the sticks” even arrived, before Clinton won the election. Republicans feel entitled and think any Democrat is illegitimate in the White House.
This is not news. It’s just taken a longer time for the swoon to wear off.
To counter the frothing hyenas, a few develops.
Represented in part by the New York Times story by Peter Baker, and Politico’s own headlines, one of Politico’s founders, Mike Allen, slipped in with a fact:
WEST WING MINDMELD “” BACK ON OFFENSE: After suffering hits from Beltway elites for missteps in handling “the perfect storm” of controversies, the West Wing got its mojo back … with the resignation of the acting IRS Commissioner, release of Benghazi emails (coupled with backgrounder and finding a way to address AP controversy by renewing prospects for media shield legislation). Look for the West Wing today to shift focus from Benghazi talking points to substantive high ground by pushing Rs on embassy security. West Wing watchers caution that there’s a long way to go, but see WW on stronger footing. WWers are clear-eyed that these issues may linger, and there will always be distractions, but see key priorities like immigration reform staying on track. Tomorrow, POTUS will talk jobs in Baltimore.
We also learned on Thursday that former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, co-chairmen of the Accountability Review Board, have asked Rep. Darrell Issa for a chance to speak publicly to the House Oversight Committee.
In a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa exclusively obtained by CNN, the co-chairmen behind an independent review of September’s deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, expressed irritation over the House Oversight Committee chairman’s portrayal of their work and requested he call a public hearing at which they can testify. “The public deserves to hear your questions and our answers,” wrote former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, co-chairmen of the Accountability Review Board that was convened to investigate the September 11th attack. – Pickering, Mullen challenge Issa to let them testify in public
Rep. Darrel Issa, according to Pickering, said he “might want to take me up some time in the future,” but now could only hear testimony in private, because he didn’t want to create “some sort of stage show.”
A “stage show” is exactly what we witnessed on Wednesday. It’s just that Mr. Issa wants to script, direct and stage Pickering and Mullen’s testimony. It shows you just how dumb Issa is, because Mullen and Pickering have been around Washington for decades and know this ploy.
As for the AP secret dragnet debacle, that remains a serious issue, President Obama has no intention of apologizing for his control fetish. It’s the first line in the Presidents Club pledge and he’s going to stick to it.
Someone should tell Ezra Klein it goes beyond whether the DOJ had the legal right to do what they did, which begins with notifying the media outlet first, the AP in this instance, who would then have a chance to have it adjudicated by a judge. That’s what decides if the government is in bounds to seize phone records and press information. But the Obama administration didn’t in this case, something that Klein doesn’t appreciate, because what he does has nothing to do with keeping Pres. Obama accountable.
Now Senator Schumer will introduce a media shield law. Republicans balked, while the first reaction of journalists was to laugh out loud.
“It is a blatantly political move,” said Sonny Albarado, president of the Society of Professional Journalists. “I don’t know why anyone would think that this would appease those of us who are outraged. I think it is curious that the administration pushed for this the day after”“the day after!”“it got a black eye for secretly going around obtaining journalists’ work product.”
[…] “When I heard this came out of the White House, I went, “˜Yeah, so?'” said Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the Journalism School at the University of Maryland and someone who has pushed for a federal shield law for years. “They think, “˜Oh well, we threw this bone to them before and it sort of kept them happy.’ Give me a break. This doesn’t pass the smell test.”
Journalists take the First Amendment seriously, even if President Obama obviously does not, because the job is to hold politicians and our government accountable, which can require a judge and serious adjudication of the First Amendment, not a band-aid from politicians to cover their asses.
Rush Limbaugh on his show Thursday made a point of saying it might feel good to get Obama, but there are more important things worth having, beginning with making the Democratic party ideology toxic for the elections to come.
The National Review Online wants much more.
Congress should investigate. And though the AP story has angered some progressives, and the IRS story some vulnerable Democrats, it will fall on the Republicans to lead the way. We urge them to do so with vigor, but also with a keen sense of the limits of political scandal. Republicans must guard against the temptation to count on scandal to deliver election victories in 2014 and 2016.
By driving into the 2014 and 2016 narrative, the NRO actually believes they’re fooling people. A congressional investigation is exactly what they want to drive the 2014 election cycle in the hopes it will put them over the top in the Senate, giving them control of Congress.
That’s something for the Obama administration to take very seriously, even if in the last two years of his second term Republicans will have just enough time to disgust Americans and ruin their chances in 2016. They won’t lay a glove on Barack Obama.
I just can’t help but think that if a Republican president would have caught Osama bin Laden, he wouldn’t be experiencing the frothing hyena effect that President Obama is now.
Ronald Reagan sold arms to hostages to fund an illegal army in Nicaragua, and he was hailed a hero when he left office.
If you’re a Democrat it’s humiliate, investigate, impeach.
But, seriously, impeach Barack Obama?
It finishes a very bad couple of weeks on a note of raucous hilarity.
Prepare for the “comeback.”