The Politics Of Scandal

President Obama faces some perilous times ahead now that his Administration is under fire.

obama-sad

For most of his Presidency, President Obama has managed to avoid the one thing that most recent Presidents have been able to avoid, the political scandal. There have been attempts by Republicans to tie the Administration down on one issue or another,  but in general the narratives that they have relied upon have been either so weak or so convoluted that they never really went anywhere. Over the past two weeks or so, that seems to have changed. The Benghazi story, which has been percolating since the election, seems to have become revived due in no small part to emails that seem to indicate that the State Department was more concerned about drafting talking points that didn’t bring criticism from Congress than ones that were an accurate reflection of what the government knew in the immediate days after the attack on our diplomatic outpost. Last Friday, we learned that a division of the Internal Revenue Service was engaging in a what looks for all the world like politically motivated targeting of applicants for tax-exempt status. Then, earlier this week, it was revealed that the Justice Department had secretly seized the phone records of the Associated Press in connection with the investigation of the alleged leak of classified material.

With the possible exception of the IRS story, which defies an innocent explanation, it’s difficult to call all of these stories a “scandal” largely because it’s unclear whether they belong wrongdoing. Benghazi appears to be a combination of bad decision making beforehand and an effort to engage in some “CYA” work after the fact, which quite honestly is a common thing in government. The seizure of the Associated Press phone records, while it does raise some serious First Amendment issues, appears to have been conducted in a completely legal matter pursuant to relevant Court rules and internal Justice Department rules. The fact that an incident doesn’t raise legal issues, however, isn’t the only factor that goes into creating a Washington scandal. As Alexander Burns and John Harris write today at Politico, scandals often take root most quickly when they become part of a narrative, and that may be the problem that the President is facing in the weeks and months ahead:

No contemporary American politician has benefited more from the power of good storytelling than Barack Obama. He vaulted from obscurity to the presidency on the power of narrative — invoking his biography and personal values to make a larger point about how he would lead the nation.

So presumably no one understands more vividly than Obama and his close aides just how toxic and potentially paralyzing his situation has become this spring, as four distinct ethical and policy controversies have simultaneously converged.

Obama’s critics now have a narrative — a way of connecting four discrete episodes to a larger point about this president’s leadership style and values. In other words, they didn’t merely happen on his watch but were in important ways caused by his watch.

And for the first time, this anti-Obama storyline is being presented in a way that might seem reasonable to people who are not already rabid anti-Obama partisans.

The narrative is personal. The uproars over alleged politicization of the IRS and far-reaching attempts to monitor journalists and their sources have not been linked directly to Obama. But it does not strain credulity to suggest that Obama’s well-known intolerance for leaks, and his regular condemnations of conservative dark-money groups, could have filtered down to subordinates.

The narrative is ideological. For five years, this president has been making the case that a growing and activist government has good intentions and can carry these intentions out with competence. Conservatives have warned that government is dangerous, and even good intentions get bungled in the execution. In different ways, the IRS uproar, the Justice Department leak investigations, the Benghazi tragedy and the misleading attempts to explain it, and the growing problems with implementation of health care reform all bolster the conservative worldview.

(…)

This time, said conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, voters may look with deeper suspicion on Obama and government-growing policies they have previously viewed as benign.

“In the 2010 midterms, there was a successful narrative that said: the middle class is suffering and the problem is government overreach. But that faded [and] now it’s back with a much more sinister over-face,” Holtz-Eakin said, suggesting Obama would suffer to the extent voters consider these scandals and conclude “the tone is set at the top.”

“If you spend most of your time on politics, the tone that’s set throughout the federal agencies really is, politics is paramount,” continued Holtz-Eakin, who heads the nonprofit American Action Forum. “If you think about a generic argument about Obamacare — which happens to be true — is that it’s going to run an enormous amount of American insurance and health care decisions through D.C., that no longer sounds benign.”

Indeed there have already been a number of articles speculating on the consequences that these series of stories coming out of Washington could have on the 2014 elections  both from Politico and from Nate Silver speculating on what impact these various stories may have on the 2014 elections. On some level, of course, it seems far too early to be able to say anything insightful about that with any degree of certainty given that the election is still some 18 months away. At the same time, though, it strikes me that there could be significant political risks for the President going forward if the narrative that is described above takes hold. For one thing, it’s a narrative that has the potential  to serve as a rallying point for a revived Tea Party movement that focuses on the 2014 elections in the same way that it did on the 2010 elections. This would especially seem to be true, as Silver points out, with respect to the IRS story which seems to play write into the worst of the “big government” fears that the Tea Party seeks to stoke among its members. Secondly, all three of these stories seem to carry the potential in them of undercutting the aura of competence that the Obama Administration has successfully been able to build up over the past four years. Benghazi, for example, appears to be mostly a story of missed warnings, inadequate security, and bungled public relations efforts. In the case of the IRS, a group of low and mid level IRS employees were apparently permitted to undertake a program of political targeting without their superiors either knowing or caring. Certainly, President Obama can’t be held personally responsible for all of these things, but the Administration’s efforts to try to distance the White House from them doesn’t seem like it’s going to work either. For most Americans, the President is the person who’s in charge, and an argument from the White House that they had no idea what was going on until they heard about it in the news isn’t likely  to sound very convincing to most voters.

We’re entering a very interesting time now. It’s one that every Presidency has reached at some point when stories about misdeeds or mistakes start to gain the attention of a news media looking for a story. Added into the mix this time is a story, the  seizure of the phone records of the Associated Press, that hits the press in a very personal place. Add into that the always popular “process story” of how the Administration is handling the hits that they’re taking, and it seems fairly certain that Benghazi, the IRS, and the Associated Press are going to be in the news for some time to come. If nothing else, that’s going to derail the President’s agenda for a couple months, and it could have a significant impact on efforts to enact immigration reform and deal with the budget. Depending on how long it lasts, we could find ourselves heading into the end of 2013 without the President having accomplished any of his major objectives. By that point, we’ll be heading into the 2014 elections with the prospect of any major legislation making it through Congress gone out the window. For that reason, the White House better hope that they get beyond these stories sooner rather than later.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ben Wolf says:

    I think the most significant danger (from the Administration’s perspective) is development of a popular push-back against government encroachment of civil liberties. For whatever reason, after twelve years of apathy regarding an all-pervasive Surveillance State, concern over this issue appears to be resonating with Americans. Certainly it seems to have finally motivated the national press to break out of its passivity and slavish behavior toward government officials, at least for the moment.

  2. Robert Levine says:

    “we’ll be heading into the 2014 elections with the prospect of any major legislation making it through Congress gone out the window.”

    I think the prospect of any major legislation making it through Congress was pretty dim to begin with. As someone who supported Obama, I find this disappointing but not surprising. There was no reason to believe that the Republicans in Congress were any more inclined to pass anything that Obama supported after the election than there was before November 2012. Was there any chance that background checks would have gotten through the House, had they survived the Senate? And if this all hurts the chances of immigration reform getting through, that’s likelier to hurt Republicans than Democrats over the long term, and perhaps the short term as well.

    It is a little ironic, though, that the most potentially damaging of these “scandals,” the apparent attempt by some mid-level IRS employees to target conservative-leaning groups, is the one with the least apparent connection to the White House. Most Americans are aware that the government is a pretty big place and that the President is not able to individually supervise every nook and cranny thereof.

  3. Jr says:

    @Ben Wolf: The press only gives a damn because it is happening to them.

    If this had been anyone else, it wouldn’t have been a story.

  4. I’m bored with Obama scandals. Remember when he went to the wrong church? Remember when he knew that guy from the Weatherman? Remember when he fist-bumped his wife? When he wouldn’t release his long-form birth certificate?

    Stem cells….now there’s a REAL controversy.

  5. TheColourfield says:

    “The Benghazi story, which has been percolating since the election, seems to have become revived due in no small part to emails that seem to indicate that the State Department was more concerned about drafting talking points that didn’t bring criticism from Congress than ones that were an accurate reflection of what the government knew in the immediate days after the attack on our diplomatic outpost.”

    Why it’s almost as if Jake Tapper’s story never existed.and Jonathan Karl wasn’t a liar.

    Weak Tea

  6. gVOR08 says:

    For that reason, the White House better hope that they get beyond these stories sooner rather than later.

    Doug, I’m sure you realize that barring major surprises the WH will get beyond these stories. And they’ll get past the next three faux scandals the GOPs come up with. And the next three. But the GOPs can and will keep this up for 3-1/2 years, possibly longer. It’s not like they need anything real to work with.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Youur headline is crap.
    There is no “SCANDAL” here.
    Like all Republicanist propoganda…the closer you look the less there is.
    When you examine the facts as they are known…there is nothing here.
    Fire a couple mid-level IRS guys in Cincy…done.
    Fire Jonathan Karl for shitty and mis-leading reporting…done.
    The AP story…there no there, there.
    Republicanists should just have their 37thvote to repeal Obamacare and call it a day.

  8. Caj says:

    Scandal, smandal! Just one word out of place, just one wrong look is all Republicans need for them to make a scandal out of something, anything! Seeing as they are the most scandalous party ever they know all about scandals. Such short memories Republicans have on so many fronts that it’s ridiculous! Issa throwing a fit over Benghazi when he was one of the motley crew who were for cutting funding for security for places like Benghazi! If mistakes were made over AP phone records or IRS checking on tax exemptions then an investigation will find out who did what & why. But to suggest which I feel the GOP do, is that President Obama personally went down to the AP and IRS and said: here’s what I want you guys to do, is bordering on insanity!!!!! With so many more important things to worry about like getting jobs, this sideshow is getting awfully boring! John Boehner and crew couldn’t stop saying, where are the jobs, where are jobs for months! Now it’s a case of screw the jobs let’s do all can that will make President Obama look incompetent and impeach this guy! Republican Party couldn’t care less about the economy and creating jobs. That should be perfectly clear to the whole country by now. Petty partisan games first and as for the people, who are they? Let them go take a hike!!

  9. Tyrell says:

    Obama evidently p.o. somebody big – probably the oil companies and now all this stuff is coming out. It happened before with Nixon and Watergate – not long after he threatened to investigate the oil companies during the fraudulent gas “shortage” of the early ’70’s.

  10. TheColourfield says:

    @Tyrell:

    Thank God at least one of us had their tinfoil hat on thick enough to solve this case.

    But Maybe (channeling Louis CK) since it was quite likely that Spitzer was brought down after he went after Wall St. , who knows.

    Not like the Koch Bros don’t have enough cash

    /adds tinfoil to hat

  11. stonetools says:

    This is about the 27th time the Obama Presidency has been pronounced dead and buried, starting even before he became President. Bill Clinton was dead buried and scandal plagued this time in 1998 too-then the Democrats gained seats in the 1998 elections.

    ATLANTA (AllPolitics, November 3) — Election ’98 proved to be a huge night for Democrats, as CNN estimates that they will pick up four seats in the House. Any gains would mark the first time the party in control of the White House has gained seats in an off-year election since 1934.

  12. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote:

    The fact that an incident doesn’t raise legal issues, however, isn’t the only factor that goes into creating a Washington scandal. As Alexander Burns and John Harris write today at Politico, scandals often take root most quickly when they become part of a narrative . . .

    This is a euphemistic way of saying “There doesn’t have to be any actual wrongdoing; we can still call it a scandal if enough people are willing to ignore the fact that no wrongdoing occurred.”

    I’m not blaming Doug for having made this observation, but a writer has an obligation not to allow a false understanding to stand. Except for getting the Muslim video issue completely wrong, OTB, and Doug in particular, have been very good at writing in a way that separates light from heat on issues of alleged impropriety. I hope that doesn’t change.

    As for the alleged scandals:

    Benghazi – I think it’s now clear that the WH was focused not on CYA, but on putting out info that would later have to be retracted.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/15/184205387/source-may-have-misled-media-about-key-benghazi-email

    AP phone records – I don’t know how legally obtaining phone records as part of a criminal investigation conducted in full compliance with the law and DOJ rules can become scandalous merely because we’re sympathetic to the holder of those records. We live in a democracy so Congress should simply change the law if it doesn’t want law enforcement to have this power.

    IRS – Can this really be called a presidential scandal if neither the President nor anyone in his administration was involved in it? Doug erroneously called the people involved “subordinates” of the President. They aren’t his subordinates. He can’t fire or reprimand them. While the IRS’s actions appear to have been wrong, there’s simply no evidence or reason to believe the Administration had anything to do with it. That is not a “scandal.”

  13. An Interested Party says:

    It’s rather laughable for anyone to be talking about gloom and doom in regard to the Obama Administration…surely Republicans/conservatives must realize that they jumped the shark on scandal with the Clinton impeachment as well as all the talk about the current President being some sort of evil foreign socialist agent provocateur…they can huff and puff all they want, but they will fail to blow down this particular house…

  14. bill says:

    the scary part is he really doesn’t know what’s going on with any of this, yet he’s our leader. the buck stops elsewhere……as usual.

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Put me down firmly as against any move to impeach any time soon.

    I want these situations to continue to develop fully, more and more and more facts to keep coming forth, for some time.

    I would suggest that people invest in popcorn and other snack stocks, because this promises to be greatly entertaining.

  16. Davebo says:

    @An Interested Party:

    The term is “concern troll”.

    Doug is doing his best. He runs right up to the Jay Tea (Jenos) line but stops just short.

    Cause he’s reasonable donchaknow.

    It doesn’t make him a dick with ears which he’s not. Any libertarian knows dicks don’t have ears.

  17. angelfoot says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I agree with you 100 %, but probably not for the same reasons.

  18. Davebo says:

    @bill:

    That’s why George H. W. Bush lives in Houston just outside the loop.

    “I hereby pardon Casper Weinberger for all the things he didn’t do that I didn’t know about.”

  19. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Davebo: You don’t understand the term “concern troll,” do you? Look it up.

    As angelfoot notes, we agree — but for exactly the opposite reasons. I still think there’s plenty of chances for Obama to get out from under his messes, and I want him to have those opportunities.

    I just have no faith in his ability to do so. I have every confidence that he’ll continue to blunder and flail, and his sycophants will continue to make excuses and lash out to change the subject — all of which I will find tremendously entertaining.

    On the other hand, he could surprise me and actually demonstrate all that wonderful potential that I heard about over and over and over again during the 2008 election, the potential that won him the Nobel Peace Prize.

    So it’s a win-win for me.

    Is that pretty much what you thought, angelfoot? If so, you were totally right. We do want the same thing — Obama to have all the opportunities possible to dig himself out of the hole he’s put himself into.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The narrative is ideological.

    And it’s a Fox news, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck narrative. Call me when that changes.

  21. Red Barchetta says:

    The people at Schulers place are probably sick of me posting this……..but you have to have some fun

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eabefjsJsAQ

  22. C. Clavin says:

    Even Jenos recognizes this is all a bunch of crap.
    For Jenos to recognize anything…it has to be pretty f’ing obvious.

  23. Barry says:

    @Ben Wolf: “I think the most significant danger (from the Administration’s perspective) is development of a popular push-back against government encroachment of civil liberties. For whatever reason, after twelve years of apathy regarding an all-pervasive Surveillance State, concern over this issue appears to be resonating with Americans. Certainly it seems to have finally motivated the national press to break out of its passivity and slavish behavior toward government officials, at least for the moment. ”

    However, that would require the GOP and the Base to push back against the Surveillance State, which they’ll first will never do, beyond some sound bites.

  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: No, Cliffy, the “bunch of crap” is you. This is all very real and very serious. And the more we learn about it, the more real and serious it gets. It was just two people in Cleveland or something. Then it was a few more people and the General Counsel knew about it two years ago.

    And Obama’s response? A couple low-levels have been “disciplined” (no details, of course) and a guy who was going to resign in June resigns halfway through May. Who knows what else will emerge?

    I say keep digging and hold off on any conclusions until we get more of the picture. ‘Cuz we ain’t got anywhere near the whole picture yet.

  25. C. Clavin says:

    Yes Jenos..
    it’s all very, very, serious.
    as is your parties 37th vote to repeal Obamacare.
    buffoons intent on buffoonery.

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Tell me, Cliffy, do you roll a die to determine what you’ll try to pathetically try to change the subject, or do you just blurt out the first thing that oozes into your squirrel-sized brain?

    Because this was a bad choice, because the selfsame IRS at the heart of this current mess is ALSO Obama’s hand-chosen agency to enforce ObamaCare. And the selfsame agency currently being sued for allegedly seizing 60 million medical records illegally.

    Gosh, that really gives me the warm fuzzies about ObamaCare. Doesn’t it warm the cockles of your heart?

  27. JKB says:

    Where are the trainers?

    Had the activity of the IRS employees been sexual advances or joke, they government would have deployed a platoon of sexual harassment trainers with mandatory attendance by all employees.

    So where are the Constitution trainers? Where is the mandatory seminars to ensure these government employees are aware and comply with the very foundation of the laws of the United States? Where is the mandatory training in the rule of law, non-partisan execution of duties, and equality in the provision of government services?

    This is something that President Obama could and should issue orders be conducted without delay. He would signal from the top that this deviancy from the execution of the government employee oath will not be permitted to endure and that his Administration will ensure employees have the proper training to faithfully discharge their duties.

  28. wr says:

    @JKB: “This is something that President Obama could and should issue orders be conducted without delay”

    At which point you and the rest of the howler monkeys would start shrieking that Obama was forcing IRS agents to undergo brainwashing at re-education camps.

    And then you’d start drooling over your guns again.

  29. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: When was the last time you actually reacted to what someone said, and not what you wish they said?

    My calendar doesn’t go back that far.

  30. JKB says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Surely a man of Obama’s eloquence could articulate an argument for job training. Especially in a country that fetishizes education to the point that millions go into crippling debt to continue in institutions of higher learning while pursuing knowledge that is not designed to give them economically-useful skills and increasingly being revealed to offer no reality-based skills either.

    Granted, training employees of the federal government in the Constitution, rule of law and equal treatment of all citizens would be a vocational skill. Such skills are seen as demeaning by the higher ed fetishists, who find any education in ways to do something useful for others suspect.

    I would recommend you stop drooling over your guns. It makes them rust. And really, given your frequent projection of fantasies about doing harm to government officials, you really should consider surrendering your guns to someone else so they are not available should your compulsions become irresistible.

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @JKB: Don’t call me Shirley.

  32. JKB says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    My apologies. I was replying to wr, but apparently hit the wrong reply button.

  33. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: Funny how you call my degrees in Japanese and Physics as “pursuing knowledge that is not designed to give them economically-useful skills”.
    What did you major in and how did you find it so economically useful?

    This meme that our young-uns major in wildly impractical majors is just that, an absolute canard. A huge percentage of undergrads major in stuff like “Business” or “Journalism”, get out, and then find (surprise!) that they don’t get hired even with such “practical” majors.

  34. JKB says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Look around the web. More than a few of the defenders of the Liberal Arts majors will eventually come around to the argument that the degree is not suppose to give you job skills. That it is for “education”, enlightenment, etc. These are fine things but as they aren’t designed to improve your employment prospects, they are not economically-useful.

    It is a fine thing to learn these things, but then why all the bitching about college grads being unemployed or underemployed. If the college education wasn’t designed to improve their employment prospects, then how is the fact they can’t find employment any different than those who didn’t go to college having trouble finding work?

    If college wasn’t to improve their job skills then how can they be underemployed? Having received a college degree that by design offered no improvement of skills useful to employers, the college grad is in the same job skill level they were when they entered college and perhaps at the same level or behind those who didn’t take the “college experience” time away from the workforce.

    I have a degree in Physics and some graduate work. I was employed in a job that required college semester hours in physics and Calculus, I forget how many, to even be considered for employment. Although not any specific degree, but they leaned toward physics and engineering graduates when I started. Standards are lower now.

  35. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos…
    There is a connection between Obamacare, the IRS kerfuffle, the Benghazi nonsense, and the AP…they are all things the Republicanists are trying to use for political theater. Boehner admitted doing so with the Obamacare vote.
    You rabidly and blindly support a party that has nothing to offer.
    Which reminds me of your ad hominem comments.

  36. G.A.Phillips says:

    I’m bored with Obama scandals. Remember when he went to the wrong church? Remember when he knew that guy from the Weatherman? Remember when he fist-bumped his wife? When he wouldn’t release his long-form birth certificate?

    I’m bored with his lying, cheating,spying, traitorous, racist, bigoted, perverted, baby murdering punk *** scandals too…

    Impeach him now!!!! and get all the lying bastards and ******* under oath!!!!

  37. C. Clavin says:

    @ GA Phillips…
    Yes, lets get them under oath…like we did with the 9/11 commission.
    The government officials who were called to testify before the commission included:
    George W. Bush – President; testimony not under oath.
    Dick Cheney – Vice President; testimony not under oath.
    Todays GOP…Republicanist buffoons intent on buffoonery.

  38. G.A.Phillips says:

    Bush? 9/11?Cheney?

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: And thus, with a wave of his hand, Cliffy dismisses the IRS mess because the “wrong” people are making the complaint. And blissfully ignores that the very people who admittedly screwed up in that mess will be ObamaCare’s enforcement arm.

    Do you buy your blinders in bulk, or has one pair lasted you since 2008?

  40. C. Clavin says:

    Really Jenos?
    Is it that the wrong people are making the complaint…or that the people making the complaint are rank hypocrits?
    Reading comprehension…try it.

  41. C. Clavin says:

    You know Jenos…
    You’ve been banging the Benghazi drum since it happened…and every day it looks like less of anything at all.
    And don’t forget Fast and Furious starring Jordana Brewster.
    Aren’t you the least bit embarrased by the idiocy that you spew?
    What was it Gates said about fools like you?
    Y’all have a

    “cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces.”

    Keep ranting though. It only helps your credibility. Not.

  42. C. Clavin says:

    I just noticed that Jenos is parroting Michelle Bachmann.
    Which makes perfect sense.

  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: I’ve been very selective in what about Benghazi I’ve been “banging the drum” about, Cliffy. It’s been about how the Obama administration lied about the nature of the attack, blamed this stupid schlub who made a stupid movie, promised people they’d identify and punish him, then lucked out when it turned out that the schlub was in violation of his parole — so they had a ready-made excuse to toss him in jail.

    That the attack happened so successfully does reflect a certain level of incompetence, but I’m willing to mostly give that a pass under the “shit happens” principle. But the helter-skelter rush to spin it to their political advantage — that reeks like the flop-sweat you give off when you realize you’re getting schooled by (of all people) me.

    Just because you’re cool with some two-bit crook getting blamed for something he had nothing to do with just so some very well-placed people who really ought to know better can cover their asses, doesn’t mean that it’s right.

    Unless you’d like to make the argument that Nakoula really should have taken the blame for Benghazi, just like the Obama administration tried to do. If you want to take a swing at that, be my guest.

  44. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “I’ve been very selective in what about Benghazi I’ve been “banging the drum” about, Cliffy. ”

    That’s true. You haven’t posted a single thing you didn’t think would smear Obama, even as every revelation of fact has proven you wrong. You get a cookie.

  45. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Two simple statements of truth, moron. 1) The Obama administration blamed the video for Benghazi after they KNEW it was a terrorist attack, not yet another incident of “Sudden Jihadi Syndrome.” 2) The Obama administration was promising to identify and punish the filmmaker before they knew who he was and that he was in violation of his probation.

    I breathlessly await your next round of vague generalities and pointless insults. ‘Cuz God knows you ain’t got nothing else.

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The difference between words and deeds:

    Obama’s statements on the IRS mess have used such words as “inexcusable” and “angry” and “will not tolerate” and “hold the responsible parties accountable.”

    His actions so far: to get rid of his acting commissioner a couple of weeks before the guy was going to leave office anyway. And Sarah Hall, Commissioner of the office that actually choked back the requests from conservative groups while the choking was going on, is now heading up the division that will be enforcing ObamaCare. Oh, and the current commissioner is also resigning — after getting the job just 8 days ago.

    Yup, Obama’s really outraged over this one. And he’s doing all he can to make sure that the guilty parties are punished, and it never happens again.

  47. JKB says:

    I just had an interesting realization regarding the IRS scandal. The lead story on the 11 pm news was the IRS scandal and a local Tea party meeting. With local anecdotes about the IRS’s “questions”, such as the IRS asking what the groups members were thinking. A bit of mind reading under penalty of perjury.

    But back to the realization. This IRS scandal is the local post office of scandals. They didn’t localize their harassment. It isn’t just some groups with DC headquarters and Ivy League ring knockers who ended up on the wrong end of Greek week.

    No, the IRS apparently went full Congressional district coverage. Looks like every member of Congress has constituents who have been abused by an overreaching federal bureaucracy. Everybody has an interest and a local color story. This scandal isn’t going to go away, just like they can’t close local post offices because its in people’s neighborhoods.

    It was bad when the “elite” forced the average person to feel they had to interrupt their lives and get involve in politics. That freaked out Washington when they showed up.

    Well, get ready to rumble. This time its personal.

  48. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Hey Stupid,

    What would you have him do? Take a machine gun to the IRS offices and mow down all the employees?

  49. wr says:

    @JKB: “With local anecdotes about the IRS’s “questions”, such as the IRS asking what the groups members were thinking. A bit of mind reading under penalty of perjury. ”

    If they’re asking, it’s not “mind reading.”

  50. John425 says:

    Am soooo looking forward to the TV ad that replays Hillary telling everyone that she had the “right stuff” to respond to the 3AM red phone call at the White House regarding murdered Americans. Cut away to the clip where she testifies “What does it matter?”

  51. wr says:

    @John425: “Am soooo looking forward to the TV ad that replays Hillary telling everyone that she had the “right stuff” to respond to the 3AM red phone call at the White House regarding murdered Americans. Cut away to the clip where she testifies “What does it matter?” ”

    And then her opponent Rand Paul or Marcio Rubio will explain that if he had gotten that call, he would have loaded himself up with automatic weapons and then used the White House teleportation device to transport himself to Benghazi, where he would have single-handedly wiped out the terrorists.

    No? Well, maybe he could explain what he would have done differently. And while he’s at it, he can explain why he had voted to slash funding for embassy and consulate security just months earlier, since he clearly cared so much.

    And then we can all fall on the ground laughing at him. And hey, at you, too.

  52. John425 says:

    wr says: “…slash funding for embassy and consulate security just months earlier,”

    Given that there was sufficient force available to protect the embassy available on call, your Rubio smear is is ludicrous. Perhaps you should examine who within the government told the military rescue teams to “stand down”. One hears that only the President can issue those orders.

    Please join me in ROFLMAO at Democrat clumsiness. Then stand with me in a moment of silence for those Americans who were needlessly sacrificed for “talking points”

  53. anjin-san says:

    Then stand with me in a moment of silence for those Americans who were needlessly sacrificed for “talking points”

    The deaths took place well before the talking points came into existence. There is a cause and effect relationship between the two.

    Four Americans died in a dangerous place that they willingly went to to serve their country. Please stop dancing on their graves.

  54. JKB says:

    @wr: If they’re asking, it’s not “mind reading.”

    I you are replying under penalty of perjury what is on the minds of other, what they are thinking, you are mind reading.

    Reading comprehension is fundamental.