Jonathan Alter: Obama has miraculously remained free of scandal
posted at 8:15 pm on October 30, 2011 by Tina Korbe
In a fawning opinion piece for Bloomberg, author and columnist Jonathan Alter writes glowingly of “The Obama Miracle” — the supposed lack of scandal in the White House under Obama’s purportedly upstanding leadership. Alter’s analysis approaches the absurd, but at least mercifully stops short of the worshipful psalms that could pass for parody of some Esquire opinion writers.
Alter writes, apparently without irony:
For starters, the tone is always set at the top. Obama puts a premium on personal integrity, and with a few exceptions (Tim Geithner’s tax problems in 2009) his administration tends to fire first and ask questions later. The best known example is Shirley Sherrod, the Agriculture Department official who was mistakenly fired by her boss over a miscommunication that led higher-ups to believe — wrongly — that she had made inappropriate racially tinged remarks. In several other cases, the decision to give staffers accused of wrongdoing the boot was made within hours, taking the air out of any possible uproar. …
Yes, that describes Obama’s strategy as it relates to Fast and Furious exactly: Fire first, ask questions later. That’s why he continues to stand by Eric Holder, despite demands for his resignation from prominent members of Congress: He wants to “take the air out of any possible uproar” with a quick handling of the situation.
So, how does Alter explain Holder, caught with his pants around his ankles yet still retaining a privileged position within the Obama administration? He doesn’t. In fact, the words “Fast and Furious” don’t appear in the entire article. Alter pays lip service to Solyndra, but also fails to mention LightSquared, CLASS or an early Obama DOJ disgrace — the failure to prosecute several New Black Panther Party members for voter intimidation because of what whistleblower J. Christian Adams has characterized as a racial discrimination agenda within the Justice Department.
Alter does introduce an important and valid point, however. He suggests the appearance of a problem-free administration might be partially a product of a media that rarely scrounges for scandals these days. Plenty among “the chattering classes” would rather chatter than report, Alter writes. He doesn’t offer kudos to the journalists who dug up the scandals that have surfaced because, again, Alter doesn’t mention those scandals.
Instead of marveling at the Obama miracle, maybe Alter ought to do a little reporting himself.