So, say I’m a low-level worker at the Internal Revenue Service (I know – just bear with me for a minute), and I am directed to inordinately scrutinize or illegally target nonprofit groups with which I happen to be politically opposed, or to create materials to be used in that effort. What happens?
I’ll tell you what happens: I refuse to do it, job or no job, and I go to the press.
I can say this because I have left jobs due to moral conflicts, although I realize it may be difficult for some to criticize an individual who chooses their livelihood in such an instance.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he would recuse himself from an investigation into the Department of Justice having secretly obtained the phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors, ostensibly in an effort to discover who in the DOJ had previously leaked confidential information to the AP. Holder initially claimed that this involved an issue of national security. Both the stated purpose and the methods appear dubious on their face and have raised serious questions of legality.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the White House had no knowledge of the investigation.
Which is convenient, if not even remotely believable.
No doubt that at this point, many are fielding mental images of Sgt. Schultz from the “Hogan’s Heroes” television series, and his signature claim of “I know nothing! I see nothing!” It also bears mentioning that President Ronald Reagan’s failure to recall one contentious exchange is still legendary amongst liberals, while such utterances have practically become a mantra with this administration.
The depth and breadth of this president’s professed ignorance has long since surpassed implausibility. Americans may dismiss this sort of thing as evasive political maneuvering once or twice, but given recent crises and the ensuing scandals, even the most disengaged citizens are naturally asking themselves what use a president who has no idea what his State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, Treasury and Justice Department are doing at any given time might conceivably be.
The power of the cult of Obama cannot be underestimated; indeed, many Americans and even members of the press are still wedded to the messianic fantasy character sold to us in 2008. Unfortunately for Obama, he may have made more enemies than he can effectively handle. Whether it was ideology or narcissistic audacity, Obama has now alienated both the intelligence community via Benghazi and the press via the AP debacle. He also stands to lose the trust of potentially millions of Americans via the emerging IRS scandal.
Right now, since the press has been instrumental in shielding this president, important questions linger with regard to the AP leak phenomenon in particular. Were members of the press simply as naïve and conceited as Jack Reed (who somehow believed that he would be exempt from the heavy hand of the Bolsheviks) and are receiving their long-overdue wake-up call? Will they buy the DOJ spin and forgive Obama if something resembling contrition is demonstrated? While some journalists are cutting Jay Carney a quite a bit less slack than, say, a week ago, it is still too early to determine what their long-term deportment will be.
On May 5, Obama urged an audience to “reject these voices” that warn against government tyranny. Yet in February, Rep. Maxine Waters declared in a televised interview that “the president has put in place an organization” with “information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before.” Earlier this month, a former FBI counterterrorism agent claimed on CNN that Americans can be reasonably certain that all electronic communications, public and private, are being monitored by the Obama administration.
If you factor in the IRS, AP and Benghazi controversies, rejecting voices that warn against government tyranny becomes a damn tall order.
Apparently playing to those still mired in gullibility and delusion, Obama continues to express the same feigned outrage over each emerging scandal that he demonstrated on Sept. 12, 2012. Concerning Benghazi alone, lies told by members of the administration that have been revealed as such are literally innumerable. The White House continues to downplay the Benghazi hearings, however, and contends that they are politically motivated; this week, Obama called them a “sideshow.” As the damning evidence comes to light with regard to the IRS and AP investigations, no doubt he will lend circus appellations to these as well.
Although I take it as given that Obama is a committed Marxist and a dangerous megalomaniac, and believe it is an imperative that we either remove him or find a way to hold his administration in abeyance for the next three years, let us be fair. Liberties taken by the previous administration that expanded presidential powers were of great concern to observers and experts across the political spectrum. Why? Because people of conscience who understood our form of governance knew that such expansions were inherently dangerous. The overall expansion of government has been insidious and incremental; Obama is just a symptom of the greater malady.
None of the Obama administration’s abuses happened in a vacuum, and we aren’t simply dealing with a handful of government employees who chose to stay silent and keep their jobs. It is a well-established culture of cavalier elitism and bureaucracy that facilitated these activities. While many of the power players here are dedicated leftists, this culture of accepting the cultivation of megalithic, paternalistic government transcends party.
It also transcends the crimes of the Obama administration, because without this culture in place, the Obama White House would never have been able to operate.