FARGO, ND, June 10, 2013 — It is time to update our Obama scandals user handbook. The original handbook was created just a month ago to explain the multitude of scandals then oozing from the Obama Administration, but so fecund has this administration been in breeding scandal, and so much more interesting have the old scandals become, that the older handbook seems a relic of some distant, more innocent age.
Scandal fatigue may cause the serious old breaches of public trust, the ones we were talking about in May, to be ignored as old news in light of newer revelations. Justice delayed is justice denied. The new Democratic tactic is to decry GOP overreach. Republicans respond by pulling back for fear that the Democrats might make the charge stick.
The “old news syndrome” and reflexive pullback must be avoided at all cost. We won’t fix the conditions that have caused these scandals by looking politely away, as when an unsightly leper crosses our path. This calls for unflinching, brutal, clinical honesty. It is not pleasant, but let us pull out our handbook and remind ourselves what is at stake. Here are the updates.
Benghazi remains the most serious scandal. Four Americans were murdered by radical Islamists connected to al Qaeda. The administration left them to die when Lieutenant Colonel Gibson was ordered to stand down rather than attempt a rescue mission. Nobody will disclose who gave Colonel Gibson that order. Colonel David Hunt claims that the only person authorized to give that order is the president.
United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice was sent on all five Sunday talk shows to push a false narrative about an anti-Muslim film. The film-maker remains imprisoned. Nobody will answer who ordered Rice to push the video narrative.
President Obama just appointed Rice as his National Security Advisor. This does not require senate confirmation, inoculating Rice from testifying about Benghazi as part of confirmation hearings. Rice remains accused of covering for Obama and Hillary Clinton. Clinton can be compelled to testify again, but committee Republicans may fear the political risks.
Fast and Furious remains serious. The botched gunrunning sting led to the murder of border agent Brian Terry. No new information has surfaced, so the same question Attorney General Eric Holder refused to answer last time still applies. Nobody in the administration will say who ordered the program. Holder has refused to resign.
IRS abuses come next, and plenty of new information exists. What is known is that the IRS abused conservatives and other individuals considered enemies of an administration unable to distinguish political opposition from criminality.
Originally the targeting was blamed on two low level employees in Cincinnati who were not low level at all. Now 88 employees nationwide are ensnared, and the original Cincinnati employees are claiming they acted under orders from Washington. Former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman visited the White House 157 times, far more than any cabinet member. Obama supporters insist these visits were to discuss implementing Obamacare and never about targeting political opponents.
IRS employee Lois Lerner created a firestorm when she incorrectly issued an opening statement before invoking her Fifth Amendment privilege. South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy immediately pointed out Lerner’s mistake, and panel Chairman Darrell Issa of California has to decide whether to call her back to testify again. The issue will be if he can handle the political heat, since Democrats have decided to dredge up non-issues from four decades ago to intimidate Issa. Lerner is on paid administrative leave. She has refused to resign, and nobody in Washington knows how to fire her.
The IRS is in further unrelated trouble after being caught wasting $50 million on pleasure junkets disguised as legitimate conferences. The expenditures could be more, but the IRS lost their receipts. This is an exact replica of the GSA scandal, where nobody was held accountable.
The AP scandal initially appeared to be a non-scandal. The White House seized telephone records of AP reporters, citing national security. The White House also monitored Fox News reporter James Rosen, even tracking his parents.
Where this becomes a scandal is with Eric Holder insisting he never intended to prosecute Rosen, who was performing normal reporter functions. The problem with Holder’s claim is that to obtain a warrant, he had to tell a judge that Rosen was a potential criminal. Either Holder lied to the judge or the public. Even more troubling is Holder going judge shopping until his warrant was granted. Two judges rejected Holder’s argument, but the third one complied.
The administration declared war on Fox News upon taking office, since they consider FNC an enemy. Other FNC employees have also been monitored.
A new scandal involving the NSA may be overblown. The administration was data mining phone company, ISP, and credit card company records. The program has existed since 2006, and the administration is again citing national security as a justification. Obama insists that nobody in the White House is listening in on private citizens’ telephone calls.
While Libertarians are enraged, data mining is useful in the war on terror. However, listening to phone calls would cross the line. Obama has a credibility problem based on the other scandals. Initial reports cited Verizon. One day later, like the IRS scandal, many more organizations were ensnared. If this went beyond data mining into eavesdropping, this scandal would escalate significantly. As of now, it seems to be a distraction from Benghazi and the other serious scandals.
No new information has developed in the last month with regards to possible abuses by the EPA or HHS. At EPA, Lisa Jackson remains accused of using a fake email account to hide correspondence. This is on top of Solyndra and other fraudulent green investments. At HHS, Kathleen Sebelius is insisting that her fundraising for Obamacare is legal, while legal experts are contradicting her.
The last scandal remains the entire Obama record, which gets worse by the minute. His nomination of Samantha Power to be the new United Nations Ambassador has sparked outrage. She does require senate confirmation, and may be one of the only people connected with Obama to ever be forced to answer questions. Her husband is environmental Czar Cass Sunstein, which could lead back to EPA questions. That remains speculative at this time since Power is known more for advocating destructive policies on the foreign side rather than the domestic.
Another updated Obama scandals user handbook will be produced as needed. At the rate the Obama administration is going, that could be at any minute.