Quotes of the day

posted at 10:41 pm on May 16, 2013 by Allahpundit

Republicans must guard against the temptation to count on scandal to deliver election victories in 2014 and 2016.

It is a lesson they should have learned in 1998.
 Republicans expected to make large gains in Congress that year but ended up losing five House seats and standing pat in the Senate. The problem was not so much that Republicans “overreached” in pursuing the impeachment of President Clinton, as the conventional wisdom has it. The Republicans that year did not really run on a promise to remove Clinton from office — or on any other agenda. Their strategy was to assume that the scandal would redound to their benefit, and that they merely had to sit back and let victory rain o’er them. It didn’t.

The current lot should not make the same mistake. Democratic scandal does not take the place of a Republican agenda. It does not reform the tax code or reduce the debt or ease regulatory burdens on small business. It cannot substitute for a strategy to replace Obamacare.

***

As Domenech noted this morning:

“Here’s the hard thing Republicans have to do if they don’t want this crisis to go to waste: they have to ignore their id, the temptation of the sugar high of partisan point-scoring. They must willfully set aside Obama’s presence in the fray, leaving the short term personalized attacks on the table, and go after the much bigger prize. Obama isn’t running for office again. Liberalism is. Making this about him is a short term boost to the pleasure center of the conservative brain. Making this about the inherent falsehood of the progressive project will help conservatism win.”…

Republicans must remember that the problem is not Democrats in charge of government, but government itself. The argument falls flat if Republicans revert to “big government conservative” arguments of “put us in charge” and we’ll do better with the same. No they won’t.

Government is the problem. The vastness, complexity, and nefarious encroachment into our personal lives should be fought, not just blamed on the other side.

***

It’s fine if there is at some point political hay to be made out of this — that’s a key part of the adversarial nature of accountability in democratic politics, not a defect within it — but it would be a far better thing for the country if the president were to adopt such an aggressively reformist agenda for the IRS that there would be no hay to be made, no room to get to the right of him on the issue. The important thing is to make sure that the administration does the right thing here, even if it does so only because it is in the president’s political interests. When political incentives produce desirable outcomes, we should let them work. If the president wants to take the lead in this matter, fine: That’s what we have presidents for. That does not mean that Congress steps away from its oversight responsibilities or conducts anything less than a full and deep investigation: That’s why we have separation of powers.

I myself doubt very much that the president or any of his immediate circle had a hand in this — it is in the nature of the Left (and in the nature of political power itself) that no marching orders from the top are necessary. University presidents do not tell hiring committees to discriminate against conservative academics, they just do it. No president or Treasury secretary had to tell the IRS to do this.

In some ways, the received version of events is worse than would be a top-directed cabal of rogue IRS agents acting on orders from political superiors. A corrupt element within an agency can be rooted out, and a criminal conspiracy can be unraveled. When the agency is the criminal conspiracy, then the challenge of reform becomes that much greater.

***

Policy-wonks dismiss scandal because it’s not in their specialty wheelhouse of policy. But governance is not just policy — it is also governance, that is to say, it is also management, and all the requirements of sound management, such as focus to detail, ethics, integrity, and honesty.

Why is it somehow “less” to knock the White House and the Democrats for failing at these things? Are they not important as well?

Policy matters, but so does personnel. And, let’s recall — policy is personnel.

Let’s be honest here: 40% of the voters have no idea what policies are in play in any specific election, and 70% of them don’t know the specifics of policies under consideration. We tend to know broad strokes…

So yes, I do wish to run on scandal, at least partially, because You cannot trust them is a very effective campaign theme, and has won more elections than any policy-based theme.

***

[A]s much as congressional Republicans are enjoying their schadenfreude, they would be well advised to think long and hard about their next steps. Even the most cursory look at opinion polls or focus groups reveals that the public is convinced we have an ineffectual and out-of-touch Congress that spends too much time backbiting, grandstanding, and Monday-morning quarterbacking while the country’s problems fester. Arguably, showboating for the cameras and holding hearings are what Congress does best; the temptation is unavoidable.

Republicans would be much wiser to pursue a third option: Dig up as much damaging information as they can about the Obama administration and leak it to reporters they know will write tough stories that won’t be traced back to the source. That way, the public won’t see the GOP as being obsessed with attacking the other side and playing gotcha at the expense of the big issues facing the country—the ones voters really care about.

***

”The area we have to avoid is to not use the ‘I’ word — impeachment,” said Bolger. “It is far too early for that, and talking about impeachment now means you are not serious about the issue — you are just trying to score political points.”

Bolger’s advice? Use the IRS and AP stories to make a broader point about the differing views the parties have of the role of government. “AP and IRS are what happens when you elect people who worship at the altar of unfettered government,” explained Bolger. “Big, powerful government is not the answer.”

Another Republican consultant, granted anonymity to speak candidly, added that his party has to double track — investigating wrongdoing while also pushing its own positive agenda. ”This is part of my concern about the GOP being the poster child of Washington dysfunction because all we ever do is block legislation, we never pass anything,” the source wrote in an e-mail to The Fix. “We need to deal with immigration, budget, tax reform, etc. etc. while we’re doing this.”

***

Republicans may feel greater effects. Even before these disclosures, congressional Republicans had dramatically escalated their resistance to Obama’s second term. While the House is voting yet again this week to repeal the president’s health care law, Senate Republicans have blocked consideration of Obama’s nominees for Labor secretary and Environmental Protection Agency administrator. As in Clinton’s era, the approaching cycle of investigation, media leak, and hearing-room confrontation over the IRS and Benghazi will deepen a sense of unstinting partisan conflict that will further narrow the space for serious legislative negotiations.

Davis, now director of federal affairs at the Deloitte consulting firm, says one critical difference from the Clinton years is that many GOP leaders still consider deals with Obama on immigration and the debt ceiling to be in the party’s self-interest. But to the extent Republicans believe scandal is bloodying Obama (and thus Democrats for 2014 and 2016), party leaders will face greater pressure not to buttress him with any policy agreements. “This makes it far more challenging for someone … who wants to do deals with a president who is just despised by the base,” says Gillon.

If these investigations ultimately impede deal-making on issues such as immigration, they will imperil Obama’s desire for a legislative legacy and stunt his second term. Yet such a breakdown would also endanger the GOP’s need to expand its unsustainably narrow electoral coalition. Republicans could find that stoking the flames of scandal may sear not only Obama’s hopes but also their own.

***

“These guys are awfully frustrated right now,” Carville said, referring to the GOP. “They’re taking the anger out, and I understand that. I think the White House has just go to live with this for 30 days, get the truth out and you know, just roll with the punches here. They’re down to swinging pretty wildly here.”

He added, “That’s just going to be what we’re going to have to deal with here for the next month and I think the president needs to get ahead of it and probably put a new person in there and find out what happened and report to the American people and it will burn itself out, too. And it will move to the next thing.”

***

Yes, Democrats destroyed Richard Nixon and shook America’s faith in government. But for all that effort, they ended up controlling the White House for just four of the next eighteen years.

To be sure, there were many other consequences, and there were numerous reasons why Republicans continuing winning the White House, despite Nixon’s resignation. But at the end of the day, we’re still left with this: Even the model scenario for ousting a sitting president yielded, at best, mixed results for the party out of power.

But that’s not the point. This isn’t about politics, it’s about the rule of law.

It’s about doing what’s right. It’s about holding powerful people accountable. It’s about preserving liberty. It’s about sending a message to the next administration that we’re watching — that abuses of power won’t be tolerated.

***

Via Mediaite.

***



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Why are the GOP straight up *inventing* State Department e-mails out of thin air? What possible purpose could it serve?

libfreeordie on May 17, 2013 at 7:18 AM

So says the Lib whose administration has provided 94 of 25,000 documents and whose one same Ms Nuland has uttered “do we want Congress knowing we didn’t heed warnings”….golf clap.

hillsoftx on May 17, 2013 at 8:20 AM

libfreeordie on May 17, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Gibber all you want, bubi.

You have NO credibility around here.

But I do see you constantly defending yourself. That tells me a lot, because I have seen you so many times and for so long.

The people here who rise against you aren’t at fault, no matter what you think of your pitiful self.

We rise against you because YOU ARE YOU.

End of story there, whether you like it or not.

Liam on May 17, 2013 at 8:23 AM

Scum or otherwise, there is nothing ‘pure’ about a liberal.

While I agree with you in full, I find liberals to always be tainted somehow.

+100 to you

Liam on May 17, 2013 at 7:54 AM

tainted” “pure scum”? haha I know what you mean, though. :)

This is the kind of immoral, unintentionally comedic mental case who should be only ignored or mocked here:

I’m probably more christian than anyone here.

HotAirLib on May 16, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Unspiritual d-bags like HAL are like the Jews who thought they were more Jewish & closer to God than Jesus Himself while they were pressuring Pilate to crucify Him.

Anti-Control on May 17, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Republicans must guard against the temptation to count on scandal to deliver election victories in 2014 and 2016.

Perhaps you confuse a mere political scandal with clear evidence of widespread oppressive intimidation and law breaking by an calloused all powerful government with a “mere” scandal?

The idiots understand fear easily enough. Therefore, it is the GOP’s role to help them to start shaking deep inside over this abuse that our forefather’s knew would come from only from our own government.
Follow the Chicago way and double down on this perfect opportunity to rid our nation of the evil called Godless liberalism as government. It is anything but “just a scandal.” It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Don L on May 17, 2013 at 8:27 AM

the IRS should be sued in the most public manner possible.

BuckeyeSam on May 17, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Oh, how that would educate the people. Not gonna happen.

Saltysam on May 17, 2013 at 8:29 AM

***

“These guys are awfully frustrated right now,” Carville said, referring to the GOP. “They’re taking the anger out, and I understand that. I think the White House has just go to live with this for 30 days, get the truth out and you know, just roll with the punches here. They’re down to swinging pretty wildly here.”

Why do I suspect that if he were around in 1941, that he’d be directing the Zeros to their targets? What total lack of moral character.

Don L on May 17, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Historically speaking, now would be about the right time for Obama and company to stage a false flag operation/Reichstag fire episode. Hopefully he or Jarrett and company won’t go after Michelle, for whom I am feeling some small amount of sympathy.
I think that I put my tinfoil hat on a bit too tight today.

justltl on May 17, 2013 at 8:37 AM

No, they are not decent people. They are either defending the actions this administration has taken or even gloating over the fact that they so effectively subdued the TP and are getting away with it.

I used to think that some of the comments about reeducation camps and such nonsense were the stuff of tin foil brigades. Fun to joke about, but far-fetched. These days, I just don’t know. I think they’re capable of anything.

hawkdriver on May 17, 2013 at 6:37 AM

To successfully implement a working Gulag system geography is a consideration?

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 8:39 AM

libfreeordie on May 17, 2013 at 7:09 AM

Hold on tight to that thread. I’m sure it’ll support your weight.

http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2013/05/14/The-White-House-s-New-Game-The-Benghazi-Emails-Were-Doctored

NotCoach on May 17, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Oh, how that would educate the people. Not gonna happen.

Saltysam on May 17, 2013 at 8:29 AM

I disagree: this is just starting. The GOP is just getting on top of this issue, and the media is just now getting around to paying attention to it. Sekulow has 15 to 25 clients already. People–small businesses and individuals–are now coming out of the woodwork in addition to these tea party groups.

Look, liberals (see that Jon Stewart video) are exasperated by all this. I’m sure that liberals like some of the Morning Joe panels are just p*ssed that the IRS got caught. But non-ideologues will not go for seeing individuals, businesses, and legitimate charities harrassed by the IRS. I really do think that this is a solid 60% outrage issue, with another 10% to 20% knowing it’s dead wrong but not voicing an opinion because–whatever their issue–they can’t side with conservatives. That leaves the crazy 20% who who believe the only problem is that the IRS got caught.

BuckeyeSam on May 17, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Why do I suspect that if he were around in 1941, that he’d be directing the Zeros to their targets? What total lack of moral character.

Don L on May 17, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Yep, and I admit I find it very cute when they project that deficiency onto Repubs, as though we are just as amoral as they are.

They are extremely stupid when it comes to understanding their own psychology, let alone when it comes to understanding how others’ minds work.

Anti-Control on May 17, 2013 at 8:43 AM

NotCoach on May 17, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Yeah, I was going to say that I’d read that almost as soon as libs were dancing on tables, that lame WH effort had already been debunked by the very emails they distributed.

BuckeyeSam on May 17, 2013 at 8:43 AM

the IRS should be sued in the most public manner possible.

BuckeyeSam on May 17, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Oh, how that would educate the people. Not gonna happen.

Saltysam on May 17, 2013 at 8:29 AM

There are a few class action suits against the IRS in the works. The number of lawsuits will likely increase as more information comes forward…

“Earlier this morning, several members of the Kentucky 9/12 Project, the Richmond Tea Party, and Ohio Liberty met with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) in Washington, DC, to discuss plans for civil suits against the IRS for the admitted intimidation and targeting they received after applying for tax exempt status…”

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/05/16/some-conservatives-targeted-by-irs-say-they-plan-on-filing-civil-suit-against-irs/

And there’s one class action filed for theft of records

“What happens when a fundamentally flawed entitlement program that threatens to usurp one sixth of the U.S. economy runs up against a scandal involving the government’s second most powerful enforcement agency? The answer is a class-action lawsuit filed by a California HMO alleging that 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by the IRS.

Healthcare IT News (via Courthouse News Service) writes that an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in the Golden State is bringing the action against 15 IRS agents. “The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data….”

http://libertyunyielding.com/2013/05/15/class-action-lawsuit-filed-against-irs-over-theft-of-60-million-medical-records/

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Ok well try again:

Old Country Boy on May 17, 2013 at 9:11 AM

It still doesn’t work. Go to mi site or Instapundit to get the link.

Old Country Boy on May 17, 2013 at 9:11 AM

They are extremely stupid when it comes to understanding their own psychology, let alone when it comes to understanding how others’ minds work.

Anti-Control on May 17, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Agreed…These are the actions of the Self-Centered.

The problem is that many old school liberals are in utter denial as to the hijacking of their agenda by Progressive Totalitarian Leftists (Operating using the tools of Fascism).

These old school liberals cling to their denial because the cognitive dissonance is too painful psychologically,intellectually and emotionally.

I spent some time reading and commenting at some liberal blogs during the 07′ – 08′ primary season…and it was evident the generational and ideological divide between conventional Bluedogs and Progressives.

I did this because I was curious to see how Obama’s divide and conquer strategy within his own party was effecting the Bluedogs v Progressives.

At the time I was completing a political series and was adding the responsive activity of New Media into the work…So it was research really to add heft to the series.

This became especially clear with the old school feminists who supported Hillary Clinton and then were divided ideologically with the media treatment of Sarah Palin. Some are disillusioned by the revelation of their corrupt fallen heroine Hillary Clinton.
Personally I have little sympathy but I understand it.

What I saw was that many of these old school liberal folks assumed a kind of protective psychological helmet that blinded them to what they knew was a clear Fascist agenda working within their midst…They became the most confused lot I’ve ever seen.

I got booted off a lot of blogs…My crime was using logic and asking questions about the obvious shifts in politics/philosophy that became fluid to meet whatever objective was necessary. All politicians have feet of Clay.

It was interesting…Quite the education.

When I was an undergraduate in the mid-1980′s we had a great government professor…He was an excellent rhetorician. He warned us about Socialist/Fascism and the mechanics of it’s implementation. There is little difference in either philosophy or mechanic since both tenets achieve the same goal…Totalitarianism.

What I learned both as a student in college…and in life is that Fascism can creep into any culture when people get lazy.

The sheeple citizenry become content with Bread & Circuses.

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Ok well try again:

Old Country Boy on May 17, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Here ya go…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/15/a-fascinating-map-of-the-worlds-most-and-least-racially-tolerant-countries/

WAPO also has a link for another map on ethnic diversity.

According to their conclusions the US is in the middle when it comes to ethnic diversity because the wealthier the nation the less ethnically diverse.

I find this conclusion spurious…likely due to the definition of ethnicity they are using since most of the countries in Africa and the Middle East are deemed more ethnically diverse than the US.

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Why are the GOP straight up *inventing* State Department e-mails out of thin air? What possible purpose could it serve?

libfreeordie on May 17, 2013 at 7:18 AM

…new name!…dumbphuckordie !

KOOLAID2 on May 17, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Anti-Control on May 17, 2013 at 5:09 AM

Because it’s target practice… allowing us to sharpen our skills on their strawman corpses before engaging in dialog that really matters… with our friends and relatives that don’t know any of this is going on, but were still Democrat supporters.

I know that the debating practice spent with these morons have made me a better debater with those who do matter. Without them constantly falling on my sword, I wouldn’t know how to handle my “rapier wit” to most effect.

Just speaking for myself, I’d like to thank the trolls here on HotAir… you have made me SOOO much more informed on my conservative worldview and effective in communicate it with others. Because of you, I have been feeding articles and viewpoints to my conservative friends, and helped them prepare their debating skills. You have made me so much more effective… as a person, as an informed citizen, as a patriot of this nation… and sealed the fate of your own party! On behalf of conservatives, thank you for your ceaseless stupidity in defending your corrupt ideology! Thank you for your support!

Liberals, please keep posting your drivel, as it only makes us better…

dominigan on May 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM

BuckeyeSam on May 17, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Well, I don’t disagree with you on your point that suits will happen. I guess I differ on a matter of degree when you say “in the the most public manner possible“.

You and I both know, the press and the television media will chase diversionary “Breaking News” as soon as possible and the continuing suits will find space on page 17 in the ho-hum columns, soon after they cobble together a couple of obscure, off-the-record sources and headline a “Bush may have done it too some experts say”. Then the GOP will run to the next television camera and save us from steroids-in-high-school-football-causing-the-tea-party-attitudes-that-have-prevented-Congress-from-getting-anything-done, dancing to the tune that the liberal media plays.

Business as usual as soon as possible.

Saltysam on May 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM

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