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Roger L. Simon thinks Benghazi is a very serious story.
… The Benghazi scandal is more disturbing than just lying about a terror attack to get reelected. And that’s pretty disturbing, considering the lies were made directly to the families of the victims. (cf. Hillary Clinton telling Charles Woods, one of the dead SEALS’ father, they were going to get the guy who made that video and revenge his son’s death.)
The Benghazi scandal, in all probability, would not have happened if the administration and/or the State Department took the War on Terror seriously or even, dare I say it, put the words terrorism and Islamic together in a sentence. But that would break a thousand narratives in the mind of Barack Obama, from his childhood with Frank Marshall Davis until now and back.
So now he is riding the whirlwind. The question is, will he carry us (and Western Civ) with him?
In a long winded piece for the Journal’s Best of the Web, James Taranto agrees, but goes further into the other scandals.
Democracy is in peril: That is an emerging theme of the liberal left’s response to the Obama scandals. The argument misses the point, no doubt deliberately. What we are witnessing now is not a crisis of democracy but a crisis of authority. The administrative state, in thrall to a decadent cultural elite, has lost the consent of the governed.
“After a week of scandal obsession during which the nation’s capital and the media virtually ignored the problems most voters care about–jobs, incomes, growth, opportunity, education–it’s worth asking if there is something especially flawed about our democracy,” declares the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne.
He goes through a partisan litany of complaints–”a radicalization of conservative politics, over-the-top mistrust of President Obama on the right, high-tech gerrymandering in the House and a Senate snarled by non-constitutional super-majority requirements”–but makes no mention of the abuses of power by the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department. He does hint at Benghazi, in his concluding paragraph, but only to pooh-pooh it:
Since World War II, bouts of economic growth have allowed democracies to buy their way out of trouble. One can hope this will happen again–and soon. In the meantime, politicians might contemplate their obligations to stewardship of the democratic ideal. They could begin by pondering what an unemployed 28-year-old makes of a ruling elite that expends so much energy feuding over how bureaucrats rewrote a set of talking points.
But if the purpose of that rewriting was, as it appears to have been, to deceive voters and bolster the president’s re-election prospects, then it was a subversion of democracy.
And the IRS scandal was a subversion of democracy on a massive scale. The most fearsome and coercive arm of the administrative state embarked on a systematic effort to suppress citizen dissent against the party in power. Thomas Friedman is famous for musing that he wishes America could be China for a day. It turns out we’ve been China for a while. …
Some of the grown-ups in the media are getting the message. Eugene Robinson at WaPo and Howard Fineman at HuffPo have weighed in. Here’s the money grafs from Robinson.
The Obama administration has no business rummaging through journalists’ phone records, perusing their e-mails and tracking their movements in an attempt to keep them from gathering news. This heavy-handed business isn’t chilling, it’s just plain cold.
It also may well be unconstitutional. In my reading, the First Amendment prohibition against “abridging the freedom . . . of the press” should rule out secretly obtaining two months’ worth of the personal and professional phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors, including calls to and from the main AP phone number at the House press gallery in the Capitol. Yet this is what the Justice Department did.
The unwarranted snooping, which was revealed last week, would be troubling enough if it were an isolated incident. But it is part of a pattern that threatens to redefine investigative reporting as criminal behavior. …
And from Howard Fineman.
So far, voters don’t seem to be abandoning President Barack Obama over controversies gripping the Beltway world. But White House aides are tempting fate with their reluctant, piecemeal and contradictory disclosures of what they knew and when they knew it, especially about a report on the Internal Revenue Service’s 18-month effort to target tea party and other conservative groups for special scrutiny.
The aides either have forgotten or are unable to implement the basic lesson of scandal control in Washington: Get the full story out — all of it — as fast as you can before your critics accuse you of a cover-up or worse.
It’s been only a week since the president told the world that he had learned about the “outrageous” actions of the IRS’ Cincinnati office from “news reports” on May 10. We now know that those reports stemmed from a disclosure the administration had planned and that, in fact, “senior officials” in the White House knew the essence of a damning inspector general’s report on the matter as early as April 24.
From the start, the White House’s response on this potentially explosive matter has been grudging at best and, in retrospect, ignorant or arrogant or both. …
Jennifer Rubin says the public is getting the message about Benghazi.
The spin that the American people aren’t interested in Benghazi or that it’s only Republicans who think something is fishy isn’t faring too well in a plethora of … polls.
The GOP figures on all these are off the charts (vs. the administration). But independents are much more like GOP voters than Dems. In some cases, they view the president more harshly.
The newest Post/ABC poll finds: “Last year’s deadly attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, is shaping up as a real political problem for President Obama, with concern extending well beyond the conservative base. More than half of Americans say his administration is trying to cover up the facts of the attack.” Asked if the White House is engaged in a cover-up, 56 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents say yes. …
And Ms. Rubin shows how the media are turning against the miscreants.
The Obama administration has a particularly ineffective and ham-handed approach to the media. It has launched an unprecedented attack on journalists, going so far as to label James Rosen’s ordinary newsgathering as criminal. It sought from its first days in office to delegitimize Fox News and limit its press access. It has evaded, delivered half-truths (and smaller fractions) and tried to frustrate mainstream reporters. But as the White House is falling down around its ears, the administration calls in lefty journalists for a private meeting. This is the distillation of “you’re either with us or against us.”
The strategy is not going so well. Mainstream reporters are lashing out at Jay Carney in the briefing room, while the reporting is generally hard-hitting on the full range of White House scandals. And a chunk of left-of-center pundits is scathing. Dan Pfeiffer’s outing on Sunday was generally panned and earned the White House another four Pinocchios.
Ryan Lizza has added to the reporting on the Rosen case, explaining:
Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who is prosecuting the case, has seized records associated with two phone numbers at the White House, at least five numbers associated with Fox News, and one that has the same area code and exchange as Rosen’s personal-cell-phone number (the last four numbers are redacted).
In all, Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, has seized records associated with over thirty different phone numbers. ..