Hyper–Partisanship disguised as High–Mindedness
He warned us. He campaigned on “fundamentally changing America,” as though we were hungering for a Liberal dystopia looking more like George Orwell’s 1984 than Frank Capra’s Mr Smith Goes to Washington. And yet, the political right also warned us. “He’s not qualified – he’s never run anything, other than for office.”
Benghazi, by itself, is nothing more than an episode of utter incompetence from start to finish, except, of course, that four good Americans died as a result. If that was all that happened, cover-up and all, it would just be a shameful blemish on a presidency. But Benghazi isn’t “by itself.” It came out that the IRS had been targeting conservative groups for harassment if they applied for 501(c)4 status as a non-profit organization, and auditing conservative individuals if they dare speak out against the administration’s agenda. And now, it seems, Justice has seized the phone records of over a hundred reporters and editors on the pretext of finding a leaker of classified information.
President Obama, who always considers himself to be the smartest guy in the room, has employed the Sergeant Schultz (“I know nothing!”) defense to all of this. And that’s entirely possible as he doesn’t seem to like anything about actual governing. He likes to go around informing the people about the superiority of his agenda and the demonic intentions of his adversaries. Paying attention to what his minions are doing, in his name, in the tone that he has set, doesn’t show up on his “To Do” list.
Take Benghazi. He was informed of the attack at a regularly scheduled meeting within an hour of Washington finding out that our mission in Benghazi was under attack (not “demonstration”). He instructed SecDef Panetta to handle the situation, finished the meeting, retired to the Residence, and flew to Las Vegas for a campaign event the next morning. No one handling the attack in Washington heard from the president again that night. No one in Libya heard from the president until they returned stateside. His first public reaction, the next morning – and for the next two weeks or so – placed the blame on a video, which appeared nowhere in the accounts from Libya (now he says that he called it “terrorism” from the start). State Department, for their part, also pointed to the video for as long as they could, and then decided that finding out who was responsible was pointless, or as Secretary Clinton so sensitively put it, “What difference, at this point, does it make?!” Defense, for its part, claimed that they didn’t have enough real-time intel to put troops in harm’s way (ignoring the fact that that’s exactly what Special Ops does – find out what’s going on and handle it), and then switched to, “We didn’t have assets in-place close enough to be effective” (begging the question as to why we didn’t have assets in place in one of the most volatile and dangerous places on Earth).
Our “post-partisan” leader of “the most open and transparent government in American history” has shown himself incapable of either. He is anything but “post-partisan.” To Team Obama, everything is about politics – hacking and clawing to the top and destroying any opposition. They simply ignored the 52% of those polled that were appalled by ObamaCare and rammed it through Congress without a single Republican vote. The Democrats took over one-sixth of the American economy because they could. Whenever opposition occurs, the White House responds, not with reasoned issue-based argument, rather with ad hominem attacks against those with the temerity to raise objections. All politics all the time.
The politicization of the Internal Revenue Service is horrific. It’s the kind of thing we used to accuse the Soviets of doing to dissenters. It’s absolutely … well … Orwellian. Of conservative groups, the IRS demanded donor rolls, membership lists, data on all contributions, names of volunteers, the contents of all speeches made by members, Facebook posts, minutes of all meetings, and copies of all materials handed out at gatherings. Among its questions: What are you thinking about? Did you ever think of running for office? Do you ever contact political figures? What are you reading? Liberal groups got their 501(c)4 status within 60 days. This was no coincidence or statistical anomaly, it was too finely targeted. This wasn’t the work of two lowly Cincinnati functionaries, it was too methodical and orchestrated. This was a result of the venomous tone set in the White House as to how the opposition is to be treated. The IRS Commissioner’s response to Congress – Sergeant Schultz.
That brings us to Justice Department’s scooping up of Associated Press phone records, which probably will turn out to be little more than a case of overreach, based on a legitimate query. The story we’re hearing is that an AP story about a CIA operation in Yemen that blocked an al Qaeda plan to explode a bomb on a plane headed for America. The story was published last May 7. It apparently contained classified information, and someone with an impressive pay grade demanded the leaker be found. In response, DoJ took the records of twenty of AP’s phone lines, used by over one hundred reporters and editors. This is not a search for a leaker, this is intimidation. A search for a leak would look at the byline reporter’s phone lines … this is Chicago-style warning to AP not to run unapproved stories and to sources not to talk to reporters. AG Holder’s response to Congress – Sergeant Schultz.
Nobody in this administration seems to know anything about anything that’s going on. If you complain about it, you’ll get audited (or worse). They all solemnly claim to take “responsibility” for their department, but no penalty is ever paid (assuming they can find somebody to pin it on). Benghazi? Four DoS officials were place on paid administrative leave, soon to return to duty in lower-profile jobs (at the same pay). IRS? The acting head has been “fired,” leaving office when he was going to leave anyway (also, Sarah Hall Ingram, the IRS officer in charge of the tax exempt section, has been placed in charge of ObamaCare enforcement). Justice? We’re still waiting to hear about Fast and Furious, Black Panther voter intimidation, and now, I guess, Associated Press.
What’s clear in all of this, is the tone set at the top – as it always is – is one of intimidation, bullying, obfuscation and politicization. The president doesn’t have to pass down instructions on how to do this, he sets the tone and those under him replicate it with impunity. Government has become a tree of the poisonous fruit.
 Title art by AP/EagleWatch.