Ignatius: Big government “frighteningly impotent”

posted at 12:01 pm on May 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Really? Was the IRS impotent when it blocked hundreds of applications from conservative groups for tax-exempt status over three years while allowing applications from progressive groups to sail through? Was the Department of Justice impotent when it seized the phone records from multiple Associated Press offices over a leak investigation?  Not exactly; the only impotence was in holding people accountable.  David Ignatius explains that the “frighteningly impotent” aspect of the government isn’t the lack of accountability, but, er … the demand for accountability:

At a time when Congress can’t pass a budget and the president can’t win approval of any important legislation, the public is indignant about the threat of an overreaching, all-powerful federal government that uses the IRS and the Justice Department to harass its enemies.

President Obama hasn’t begun to fix the big problem of Washington dysfunction, but he moved Wednesday to respond to public anger and reposition his sinking administration. He fired the acting IRS commissioner, released a blizzard of e-mails on Benghazi and backed a shield law to protect journalists. It was fancy footwork in public-relations terms but not a reaction to what’s really ailing the federal government.

The crippling problem in Washington these days isn’t any organized conspiracy against conservatives, journalists or anyone else. Rather, it’s a federal establishment that’s increasingly paralyzed because of poor management and political second-guessing.

What should frighten the public is not the federal government’s monstrous power but its impotence.

Firing officials has its place in bringing accountability. What’s really needed, as these latest episodes show, is adult supervision of the bureaucracy. This requires senior officials who are properly sensitive to political issues. But such officials have become so afraid of seeming to meddle that mistakes happen.

“Mistakes happen”? It doesn’t appear that either the DoJ or the IRS were making “mistakes,” but taking deliberate action in pursuit of their own goals.  In both cases, laws may have been broken.  Shouldn’t that create some pressure for accountability?

In one sense, though, Ignatius is correct. Both the IRS and AP scandals show that big government means less accountability and more danger to liberty.  In my column for The Fiscal Times, I argue that the IRS scandal in particular teaches that lesson, and that their expansion of power under ObamaCare will teach us even more lessons about it in the future:

Americans who believe that the IRS should enforce its regulations neutrally already have plenty of reason for concern, if not outrage. They should be concerned about the fact that the IRS is about to get a lot more powerful through the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

The law makes the IRS the enforcement agent for the individual mandate and health-plan acceptability, and that power can be perverted for political purposes.  As Byron York points out at the Washington Examiner, the IRS is also in charge of determining eligibility for Obamacare subsidies, which means they will have much more intimate knowledge of our lives than ever before:

“The law authorizes the IRS to share confidential taxpayer information with the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of determining those subsidies,” York reminds us. “In addition, the IRS will keep track of even the smallest changes in Americans’ financial condition. Did you get a raise recently? You’ll need to notify the IRS; it might affect your subsidy status. Have your hours been reduced at work? Notify the IRS. Change jobs? Same.”

Now consider what may happen when all of this intimate detail ends up in the hands of a politicized IRS, as happened over the last three years.  Newt Gingrich asked Monday, “Why would you trust the bureaucracy with your health if you can’t trust the bureaucracy with your politics?”

It’s a good question.  Undoubtedly, it’s one of the questions that a certain-to-be-revitalized Tea Party will be asking, especially since the IRS proved every warning the grassroots conservatives have about the dangers of big government.  This scandal has the potential to deliver a crippling blow to the cult of big government, thanks to the behavior of big government itself.

At Slate, John Dickerson says that Barack Obama may end up being a much better teacher on small-government philosophy than Mitt Romney ever could have hoped to be:

It must get confusing in the IT department at the Associated Press: Are you talking about the hackers who hacked our Twitter account or the Justice Department hackers who hacked our phones? Monday, the Associated Press reported that the Justice Department had secretlyobtained two months of records of phone conversations by its reporters. Meanwhile, theWashington Post revealed that the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups was more widespread than first reported. Someone at the IRS also leaked information about conservative groups to ProPublica. The Environmental Protection Agency may also have made it easier for environmental groups to file Freedom of Information Act requests than conservative organizations.

The Obama administration is doing a far better job making the case for conservatism than Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, or John Boehner ever did. Showing is always better than telling, and when the government overreaches in so many ways it gives support to the conservative argument about the inherently rapacious nature of government. …

If these scandals are indeed affecting the ideological landscape, this is bad news for liberals. It’s not just that the opposite ideology is getting some help from government bunglers, but the media is exacerbating the problem. Liberals believe that there is a role for government to play in mediating market failures, and there are plenty of stories of areas where the safety net is thinning as a result of sequestration—from cancer treatments to Head Start to Meals-on-Wheels—where government should step in. But those stories get lost in the scandal coverage of an administration, making it look like conservatives fundamentally understand something that liberals do not.

It’s not just appearances, but the truth of the behavior of this administration and its expanding bureaucracies.  Big government is not frightening because it’s “impotent,” but because it’s becoming the opposite, and trampling on liberty in direct proportion as to the extent it travels down that road.  The IRS scandal — and to a slightly lesser degree the AP scandal as well — demonstrates that clearly, which is why both are powerful lessons for small-government conservatism.

Update: Fred Bauer reminds conservatives that this issue predated Obama, and it will continue after his presidency comes to an end, too.


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…limp?

KOOLAID2 on May 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Tell the Tea Party groups that the government was impotent. The IRS did a very good job of preventing them from collecting money.

And the State Department put in a lot of hard work making sure the CIA talking points were edited to keep them out of trouble. They weren’t impotent – they had a goal and achieved it.

Likewise, DOJ wanted phone records from the AP, and they got them. Government isn’t impotent at all. They have the power to use force to get whatever they want, and they use their power to do whatever they want.

hawksruleva on May 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM

The Obama administration is doing a far better job making the case for conservatism than Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, or John Boehner ever did. Showing is always better than telling, and when the government overreaches in so many ways it gives support to the conservative argument about the inherently rapacious nature of government. …

…so let’s keep getting RINO’s as candidates!

KOOLAID2 on May 16, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Both the IRS and AP scandals show that big government means less accountability and more danger to liberty.

But Obama just learned this…
Well…
40 years ago..

Electrongod on May 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Just a Reminder:

Richard Nixon Impeachment Article 2, #1:

1.He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

portlandon on May 16, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Q: Name two things Obama is good at.

A: Selling guns and selling smaller government.

petefrt on May 16, 2013 at 12:01 PM

and that their (IRS) expansion of power under ObamaCare will teach us even more lessons about it in the future:

Are we now still willing to accept the IRS policing Obamacare, a tragic idea to begin with, one hardly mentioned by the GOP.
I say defund them and withhold any funds to that agency for purposes of entering and controlling our very lives in our healthcare. The very idea of our “privacy with our doctor” is in jeopardy if this goes forward.

Don L on May 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Mistakes happen? Spilling weed killer on your lawn is a mistake, painting yourself into a corner is a mistake, attaching something upside down is a mistake. Conducting gun running operations and failing to respond to an attack on our embassies, both of which got people killed, is criminal negligence at the least.

Why do libs always act like government is a giant sentient machine sitting in a warehouse somewhere rather than a collection of fallible human beings, I’ve never understood that.

Bishop on May 16, 2013 at 12:03 PM

The IRS scandal — and to a slightly lesser degree the AP scandal as well — demonstrates that clearly, which is why both are powerful lessons for small-government conservatism.

I’d throw in in the Benghazi cover-up scandal too. Government is so big those that should be held accountable are able to lurk behind a shield of alphabet organizations to blame shift every failing from intelligence failures to not even being able to know who gave the orders to stand down from rendering military assistance.

Happy Nomad on May 16, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Finally somebody’s using that word…
Impotent

It is an apt description of this ED POTUS.

mjbrooks3 on May 16, 2013 at 12:03 PM

No, really?

ZachV on May 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Here’s the ultimate measure of big government potency. Add up all three of these scandals and what the government was able to hide and get away with and they likely stole the election.

Does anyone really think that if the election were held next week Obama would still beat Romney? But by suppressing dissent (IRS) and hiding their dereliction (Benghazi) and concealing their illicit actions (AP) the not-so-impotent Obama regime was able to win what in retrospect was a sham election.

Doesn’t sound impotent to me . . .

SoRight on May 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

So has the obama “news” conference started yet?

sandee on May 16, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Why do libs always act like government is a giant sentient machine sitting in a warehouse somewhere rather than a collection of fallible human beings, I’ve never understood that.

Bishop

Because, power and bad things will only happen to the uncredentialed.

chimney sweep on May 16, 2013 at 12:05 PM

SoRight on May 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

…yes!…you have the right handle…for your post!

KOOLAID2 on May 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Big government is always impotent on big matters, those most important. But it’s a stickler for minutiae. That’s how we got this IRS scandal.

The Fathers were right: The best government is one only large enough to do its job, but not so large it becomes an impediment to personal liberty.

Liam on May 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM

This line:


But such officials have become so afraid of seeming to meddle that mistakes happen.

Yes, Ignatius, if only our unelected bureaucratic overlords felt themselves more empowered to “meddle” in our lives. Then we wouldn’t have these problems with our unelected bureaucratic overlords meddling and … oh, wait. Isn’t Government overreach–what Ignatius calls “meddling”–the whole freakin’ point?

This line:


Where was the senior manager who should have stopped IRS employees from writing outrageous questionnaires and search queries targeting “Patriots” and “We the People”? Perhaps that person was wading through congressional messages urging IRS investigations of tax-exempt political groups.

Yes, Ignatius, if only our unelected bureaucratic overlords weren’t so burdened by email they could have … what, precisely?–Too much email is why the IRS targeted conservative groups for a level of scrutiny not applied to progressive groups? How does that even make sense?

This isn’t even coherent. But at least Ignatius does us the service of saying out loud what the political classes themselves would never dare say: STFU!

casuist on May 16, 2013 at 12:08 PM

“Mistakes happen”

yeah right…2008 & 2012…

PatriotRider on May 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Ugh. And the IRS is the agency that wants to run ObamaCare.

Never forget that.

22044 on May 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

I have been frightened since I first heard bho was running for president and what he wanted to do to our Republic. I sure was right on how I felt from the get go on that anti-American. Things are so much worse than I could possibly imagined!
L

letget on May 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Really? Was the IRS impotent when it blocked hundreds of applications from conservative groups for tax-exempt status over three years while allowing applications from progressive groups to sail through? Was the Department of Justice impotent when it seized the phone records from multiple Associated Press offices over a leak investigation? Not exactly; the only impotence was in holding people accountable. David Ignatius explains that the “frighteningly impotent” aspect of the government isn’t the lack of accountability, but, er … the demand for accountability:

Now, now. He just spelled “incompetent” wrong. Let’s revisit with that in mind.

Really? Was the IRS impotent incompetent when it blocked hundreds of applications from conservative groups for tax-exempt status over three years while allowing applications from progressive groups to sail through? Was the Department of Justice impotent incompetent when it seized the phone records from multiple Associated Press offices over a leak investigation? Not exactly; the only impotence incompetence was in holding people accountable. David Ignatius explains that the “frighteningly impotent” aspect of the government isn’t the lack of accountability, but, er … the demand for accountability:

Can the federal government really be this incompetent? Or was it all deliberate, and incompetence is just the excuse?

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM

So, this is what he meant by “fundamentally change America”..?

d1carter on May 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

So is the presser on?

PatriotRider on May 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Read the first part of David’s op-ed. He conveniently left out that the IRS commissioner, while fired, was going to resign in June anyway. Also that Senator Obama, a defender of the shield law, while President, killed the shield law. I’m sick and tired of reporters selectively deciding what to tell you and what not to tell you. I guess the moniker “Washington Compost” is well deserved.

TulsAmerican on May 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Ignatius is a freaking idiot! This administration, from the top on down, has vilified anyone or any group that held an opposing point of view. They were looked upon as threats to the country and were to be treated as such.

The underlings took that message and ran with it.

It isn’t so much the “rogue” agents who need to be fired, WHERE WERE THE MANAGERS?

GarandFan on May 16, 2013 at 12:16 PM


Ugh. And the IRS is the agency that wants to run ObamaCare.

Heighten the contradictions is what our Marxists brothers and sisters used to say, and by this they meant that if the current system is collapsing or set to collapse, make it collapse harder. It is for this reason alone that I would argue that for the IRS to be the enforcer, paymaster, and gate-keeper of ObamaCare is nothing less than brilliant. Think of it as popular education for an entire generation in the experience of the supervision of their lives, their livelihoods, and the most intimate details of what used to be their own private affairs, by an oppressive central state.

casuist on May 16, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Can the federal government really be this incompetent? Or was it all deliberate, and incompetence is just the excuse?

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM

…in 4 years so far…it is AWAYS the excuse…for EVERYTING!…yet…no one is fired!…change of jobs…early fully funded retirements…change of job classifications…etc.
Name one person who has been fired…as in… FIRED?

KOOLAID2 on May 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Was the IRS impotent when it helped steal a US Presidential Election?

slickwillie2001 on May 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Update: Fred Bauer reminds conservatives that this issue predated Obama, and it will continue after his presidency comes to an end, too.

One correction to Fred Bauer’s otherwise good article:

Right now, there is no evidence that such high-level actors did abuse their power in this way; it is possible that only a few rogue individuals abused or misused their authority.

No evidence is a very different thing from insufficient evidence. There is as yet insufficient evidence to prove that this was all deliberate targeting by “high-level actors.” But it’s just inaccurate to claim there is no evidence.

On the contrary, there is a lot of evidence that this can be traced back directly to the White House. The difference between “no evidence” and “insufficient evidence” is the difference between dismissing a case and launching an investigation. That is a big difference.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Was the IRS impotent when it helped steal a US Presidential Election?

slickwillie2001 on May 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

ding

cmsinaz on May 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Not impotent at all. Nixonian? Stanlinesque? Fascist? You betcha. But, hardly impotent.

kingsjester on May 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

I wonder if Big Sis hand anything to do with the IRS persecution of “undesirables”…

d1carter on May 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Rice moving up to the NSA…FUMU principle in full swing…

PatriotRider on May 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Err..I think it’s spelled Incompetent.

BigWyo on May 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

“Frighteningly Impotent.” Until they’re giving it to you in the….

(Would I get banned if I continued?)

CurtZHP on May 16, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Can the federal government really be this incompetent? Or was it all deliberate, and incompetence is just the excuse?

Many, if not most, things the fed does, at the behest of leftists in charge of depts and bureaus is quite deliberate. However, incompetence always seems to rear its ugly head. Its hard to get good henchpeople these days. A result of the liberal hand in federal employment requirements, I suppose.

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Justice Roberts…what a fool…and we will all suffer…

Thanks Champ…

PatriotRider on May 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Was the IRS impotent when it helped steal a US Presidential Election?

slickwillie2001 on May 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

So far, the most impotence I see in DC is in the form of GOP leadership. And that really is truly frightening.

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM

The government is impotent in the sense that it is nearly incapable of accomplishing anything productive. Government is, and always will be, a drag on the economy and a pestilence on the people. Which is why the smaller the government, the better.

Even its necessary functions (some infrastructure and military) are not run efficiently. But if you throw enough money at something then there will always be a bit of money and a few people slipping through the cracks who are capable and self-motivated.

Fenris on May 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Obama & other Socialists LOVE to push the idea that BIG GOVERNMENT is the answer, that it can take care of all of our problems, desires, wants, & woes…yet the Obama administration has done everything they could do to dispel that myth while pushing for even bigger government:

‘Trust Your Government’
Obama: “I will go line-by-line through legislation to eliminate pork spending once I am elected President.”
– His 1st bill he signed into law was the $875 BILLION ‘Stimulus’ Bill that contained over 7,000 pieces of pork.

‘Trust Your Government’
Obama: Orders Holder to step in & drop charges against New Black Panthers for voter intimidation, brandishing weapons at a voting location during the 2008 election…during the campaign Obama posted on his web page the endorsement from the NBPs..until the media noticed/reported it & then he took it down…

‘Trust Your Government’
Obama: Immediately ordered the DOJ not to defend/enforce the DOM LAW, which broke his oath of office to enforce the Rule of Law, because he did not agree with it.

‘Trust Your Government’
Obama: Ordered Holder NOT to detain/arrest/charge/jail/deport any Illegals for ANY crime less than a Felony’, thereby creating a ‘right’ for Illegals that American citizens did/do not evebn have.

‘Trust Your Government’
Obama: Obama allows the Mexican President to speak before Congress, scolding us on how we should not have the right to enforce our Immigration Laws & on how guns flood into his country from the US…THEN…It is EXPOSED that this administration gave thousands of guns and grenades to Mexican Drug Cartels (300+ deaths resulted – and growing)…then targets law-abiding citizens from whom they want to strip ownership of weapons.

‘Trust Your Government’
Obama: Benghaz — refused to provide additional security, even after 2 previous terrorist attacks, rescue mission ordered to Stand Down, abandoning Americans under fire to die, attempted to cover it up to save his re-election bid – STILL covering it up…

‘Trust Your Government’
Obama: KNEW about the IRS scandal that had been going on since 2010, used leaked tax info to attack Koch brothers, used leaked IRS data to attack Romney during the campaign, used the IRS to intimidate/punish/target Conservatives, TEA Party, Jews…hid/covered it all up to protect his 2012 re-election

‘Trust Your Government’
Obama: Wire-tap scandal – another scandal he hid to protect his re-election bid.

‘Trust Your Government’
Obama: Obamacare rammed down the majority of Americans’ throats who opposed it in the wee hours of the morning — ‘Will pay for itself, will pay off deficit, you can keep the insurance you have, will help lower the cost of insurance, & a virtual cornacopia of other LIES…

Progressives / Liberals:
o “Big Government is AWESOME! Trust us – put your money, your trust, & your lives in our hands and we will take care of everything!”
– We put our money in Obama’s hands & we got $6 trillion in new debt, fueled by record-setting deficit spending, in only 4 years.
– We put out trust in Obama’s hands, & the scandals & lies are piling up higher than we can see over…
– Brian Terry, Ambassador Stevens, & 3 other Americans put their lives in his hand…and he continues to belittle &minimize their lives/sacrifice to save his political buttocks…

Comaratively speaking, The TEA Party is extremely MILD compared to Obama, the REAL ‘Extremist’…. Looks like the TEA Party & Conservatives have it right about the need for smaller govt.

easyt65 on May 16, 2013 at 12:31 PM

The government is impotent in the sense that it is nearly incapable of accomplishing anything productive.

Fenris on May 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM

That about covers the topic.

Thread winner!

Liam on May 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Incompetence, nah, its just a matter of priorities.

The Five Year Plans seem to somehow always fail to actually provide jobs, food, and decent education to the comrades. Meanwhile, the re-education camps, psychiatric hospitals, and prisons are bursting at the seams.

So yeah, they can fail to actually do anything about the jobs or economy, but that is only because the REAL priority is making sure that all the comrades fall in line.

But healthcare will be different. There is no way at all that can possibly be used against a reluctant comrade.

Lily on May 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM

The government is impotent in the sense that it is nearly incapable of accomplishing anything productive.

Fenris on May 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM

That about covers the topic.

Thread winner!

Liam on May 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

+1000!!

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM


So far, the most impotence I see in DC is in the form of GOP leadership. And that really is truly frightening.

Ironic, isn’t it? If we had an effective opposition party then the progressives and political classes would be less likely to use the federal government as its private political police force.

Oh, well. You do what you can with what you have. And what we have is a hopelessly compromised and corrupt GOP establishment as anxious to liquidate those noisy and embarrassing Tea Partiers, pro-lifers, social conservatives, and Libertarian upstarts as the progressives. Case in point, some guy named Romney. Just who was that guy? I forget.

casuist on May 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM

At a time when Congress can’t pass a budget and the president can’t win approval of any important legislation

A variation of “but it’s for the children”.

obladioblada on May 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Ignatius: “Release The Squirrels!”

Tsar of Earth on May 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Looks like the TEA Party & Conservatives have it right about the need for smaller govt.

Smaller government, lower taxes, less intrusiveness is what the true GOP used to stand for.

It’s no wonder the Big Gov RINOs in GOP leadership despise the TEA Party.

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM

That about covers the topic.

Thread winner!

Liam on May 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Thank you very much. Now I have to go and accomplish something because I can’t print money. Legally, anyway.

Fenris on May 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Was the IRS a case of incompetence?

H@LL NO! ‘ROGUE’ IRS agents, the vast majority of whom are Obama donors, ‘just happened’ to target Conservatives, TEA Party Members, Pro-Constitutionalists, ‘Patriots’…(and oh yeah, Jewish groups)… ALL of whom are Obama ‘enemies’.

Incompetence? ‘I didn’t know about it’?

Obama’s administration used ‘leaked’ (hand-picked is more like it) personal IRS tax information to publicly attack the Koch brothers in 2010 – which is a case of Obama benefitting PERSONALLY from what the IRS was doing!

During Obama’s re-election campaign, Obama’s campaign co-chair used HAND-PICKED personal IRS tax info to publicly attack Romney. HE!L, HARRY REID even used some of that same Romney cherry-picked personal Romney IRS data when he attacked Romney publicly be declaring Romney had not paid taxes in 10 years..while declaring Romeny needed to release his tax info so everyone could see WHAT HE WAS ALREADY LOOKING AT BECAUSE HE GOT IT FROM THE IRS! Again, Obama personally benefitted from the IRS’ actions!

So don’t tell / sell me this BS about how Obama did not know what the IRS was doing!

easyt65 on May 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM

This maybe the first time since 1776 that we have seen a power based government in full retreat.
1. What has caused it?
2. Up coming 2014 mid term election?
3. Picked on the press?
4. All to many scandals?
5. The bloggers?
Don’t know. Don’t really care. It is a good thing that it is occurring.
I’ve been at this fighting the “Big Gov.” for over 50 years now. Some times with some degree of success.
WARRINGS:
1. THE POWERS will try to keep the scandals separate. this keeps the interest in any one scandal to a below 50% in the public polls. That way they can say “What Difference Does It Make” no one really cares. This also closes the issue that when all the dots are connected, point to the First Tuesday in November 2012.
2. THE POWERES will next change from the “Defend” mode to the “Discovery” mode. This is an attempt to show “How can we be the bad guys if we find the problems”.
3. THE POWERS will put out so many minor controversies as to cloud the real issues.

Now the big concerns. The government often works in “Mysterious Ways” that we some times find difficult to understand and may seem like a scandal but in reality is a government working as it should. If we jump on every controversy then the “THE POWERS” will just stand by and hand out tin foil hats at a major rate and will be able to get away with all of this.

To win back our government we need to stand the line on real scandals, the ones that matter and go for the truth. Not allowing the momentum to be diluted with trivia.

jpcpt03 on May 16, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Minimizing the individual harm Federal employees can and do regularly engage in is hardly helpful. What is clear is that the Federal employees have an enemies list. and it includes anyone that believes in small government and The Constitution as written.

pat on May 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

{{Shhhhh… Ed… let em keep thinking that. Maybe they’ll try to make the govt more powerful by shrinking it…}}

“I’d rather have a weak govt run by devils than a strong govt run by angels.” -Buck Ofama (R-Pennsyltucky)

The problem is we have a stronger govt than ever run men more evil than ever.

Akzed on May 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Presser is now 48 mins late.
Joy.

pambi on May 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Liberals believe that there is a role for government to play in mediating market failures, and there are plenty of stories of areas where the safety net is thinning as a result of sequestration—from cancer treatments to Head Start to Meals-on-Wheels—where government should step in.

Puhleeze. Liberals believe the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT should be more than just a safety net…they believe it should be the gauranteer of ‘heaven on earth’. Also, Liberals don’t believe local and state governments have any responsibilies (“FEDERAL uber alles”). Since so many of them are atheists, the Federal Government IS their religion.

olesparkie on May 16, 2013 at 12:50 PM

The crippling problem in Washington these days isn’t any organized conspiracy against conservatives, journalists or anyone else.

Um, I beg to differ. “Washington” under Obama has declared war on conservatives and other individual Americans. The “journalists” were only concerned when he turned on them, too.

The problem isn’t that they’re impotent. They’re not. They are quite adept at abusing and using governmental, regulatory and bureaucratic power against their perceived enemies.

Fallon on May 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Presser is now 48 mins late.
Joy.

pambi on May 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Proves the point of the article, huh.

Tsar of Earth on May 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM

there’s only one real solution…revolution…and start over. Where’s that Reset Button of Hillary’s?

kirkill on May 16, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Big government is not frightening because it’s “impotent,” but because it’s becoming the opposite, and trampling on liberty in direct proportion as to the extent it travels down that road.

That’s for sure. It’s like Bubba in federal PMITA prison…. he’s not frightening because he’s impotent…. right SEN Edwards?

ted c on May 16, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Salon–

FEBRUARY 26, 2010 5:32AM

Obama, Adult in Charge.

Meh.

socalcon on May 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM

There are a couple of reasons for what has happened. The primary reason is that Pravda, Izvestia, and Tass have refused to hold this administration accountable for anything. Follow the conversation with Alberto Gonzalez, the Bush Administration thought about going after the press but decided not to. Why is that? Because they already had an adversarial press corps they didn’t want to throw fuel on the fire. Obama thought he could get away with anything, and it’s still an open question whether he can or not. The press doesn’t want to hold him accountable for Benghazi, they’ve been holding water for the administration and blaming Fox News and Republicans right along with him. About the only thing that has them exorcised is the AP phone logs and if that can be dealt with, they’ll be right back to being in love again.

Congress hasn’t passed a budget in years and, as a consequence, Obama has gotten increased funding levels for anything he wants to do. AMazing.

bflat879 on May 16, 2013 at 1:15 PM

If we repealed the 16th-Amendment, and ran 98% of the Federal Register through the shredder, government could get back to its enumerated duties, and we would all enjoy more Freedom & Liberty.
Then, we could work on that remaining 2%.

Another Drew on May 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Yes, in the 1st question about the IRS Obama declared although he was told on 22 April by the Inspector General that a report about an IRS investigation was coming out soon, he was not aware of ANY information about the scandal until last Friday, 10 May.

So, after being told by the Inspector General that there is a scandal / potential scandal ‘but I am not going to tell you any details’, Obama did not:
1) Ask if the Inspector General had been included / talked to / given a heads up…
2) Call in lil’ Timmy Tax Cheat Geithner & ask the Sect of the Treasury what was happening in his IRS?

Nope, Obama completely forgot about the warnig the IG just gave him & just waited until the media broke the scandal….

Good freakin’ grief!

easyt65 on May 16, 2013 at 1:24 PM

If government is so frighteningly impotent, please explain why so many people’s lives have been ruined by it. The truth will never be known if all we hear is liars.

savage24 on May 16, 2013 at 1:54 PM

A simple and effective way to improve government accountability: remove sovereign immunity from all civilian non-elected government employees.

Rich H on May 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Obama, Adult Dolt in Charge.

Fixed it.

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Presser is now 48 mins late.
Joy.

pambi on May 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Proves the point of the article, huh.

Yup. Our Imperial President sets his own time, not to be dictated by anyone else.

It’s time when he says its time.

Keep the peasants waiting to remind them of their impotence.

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Update: Fred Bauer reminds conservatives that this issue predated Obama, and it will continue after his presidency comes to an end, too.

Conservatives don’t need any reminding. We’ve been just as hard on ‘compassionate conservatives’ and liberal Republicans when they held the reigns of power as we’ve been on the liberal, progressive and Marxist Democrats.

As for impotence, that’s a problem that the “Not Dan Foster” types like Milbank, Ignatius, Williams, Scheiffer, Blitzer, et al., have when it comes to holding government accountable for the fiascoes they foist on the country, whether Republican or Democrat.

Dusty on May 16, 2013 at 3:02 PM

David Axelrod: “When you’re POTUS theres so much you don’t know below you because the government is so vast.“

Yeah, and I’m sure if government was only half as large, it would be half-vast.

J_Crater on May 16, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Barky sure is powerful at effin’ things up.

viking01 on May 16, 2013 at 3:45 PM

He meant “incompetent.”

NoPain on May 16, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Anybody remember the slogan on candidate Obama’s campaign podium? It was ‘Judgement To Lead”. Hey members of the press, how did that work out? Remember his laughable claim that he had an advantage in foreign affairs because he lived in Indonesia until the was 10 years old? Heck, as a candidate he didn’t even know to put his hand over his heart during the National Anthem. Why? Because he was raised as an Indonesian muslim! Because he was never inculcated in Americanism. Well, that’s not quite correct because once back in Hawaii, “Uncle” Frank Marshall Davis, famous communist and pornographer, inculcated little Barry in Anti-Americanism. I was in Hawaii for several weeks from early Dec. 1964 until the third week of Jan. 1965. It was the most racist place I’d ever seen. If you were not a moneyed tourist, you were effing “houle” (pejorative term) mainland scum. My point is that Obama was trained to hate whites from childhood on. This guy was a train-wreak waiting to happen and we have the vaunted “Fourth Estate” to thank.

SpiderMike on May 16, 2013 at 4:11 PM