Quotes of the day

posted at 10:41 pm on May 21, 2013 by Allahpundit

Monday’s revelation amounts to the fifth iteration of the Obama administration’s account of events, after initially saying that the White House had first learned of the controversy from the press…

Carney pushed back at reporters frustrated with the shifting narrative. “I said that I didn’t know (these details) until Friday, but I’m getting this information to you now,” he said.

Republicans instantly took issue with the latest White House timeline.

“I can’t wait until tomorrow’s version of events,” tweeted Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.

***

Carney wasn’t the only one peddling the wrong story — one that easily and instantly could have been corrected by Ruemmler herself or, perhaps, others in the White House Counsel’s Office who might have been working on the matter of the IG report.

Instead, another top White House aide gave me the same song and dance last week after Carney did…

With two winning presidential campaigns built on successful grassroots fundraising, with a former White House counsel (in 2010-11) who is one of the Democrats’ leading experts on campaign law (Bob Bauer), with former top campaign officials having been ensconced as staffers in the White House (David Axelrod, who left for the reelection campaign in early 2011, and Dan Pfeiffer among others), it’s hard to imagine that the Obama inner circle was oblivious to the issue of what the IRS was doing in Cincinnati.

***

Knowing the consequences that would befall the Obama administration if the White House or Obama’s reelection campaign knew in real time that the IRS was targeting conservatives, I desperately want to believe Pfeiffer. I’ve known him for years. I like him. He’s never lied to me.

But Pfeiffer is part of an institution that has demonstrated an inability and/or unwillingness to tell the full truth about the IRS scandal and a spate of other controversies. The White House can’t be trusted

In politics, as in life, when you constantly change your story, even on small matters, you sow doubt about your credibility and competence.

In different ways, each of the so-called Obama scandals revolve around the issue of trust (as I wrote here, here, here, here, and here). The president’s greatest asset is his credibility. If this pattern of spinning and shifting stories continues, it could become a liability.

***

First they came for Fox News, and they did not speak out—because they were not Fox News. Then they came for government whistleblowers, and they did not speak out—because they were not government whistleblowers. Then they came for the maker of a YouTube video, and—okay, we know how this story ends. But how did we get here?…

It’s instructive to go back to the dawn of Hope and Change. It was 2009, and the new administration decided it was appropriate to use the prestige of the White House to viciously attack a news organization—Fox News—and the journalists who work there. Remember, President Obama had barely been in office and had enjoyed the most laudatory press of any new president in modern history. Yet even one outlet that allowed dissent or criticism of the president was one too many. This should have been a red flag to everyone, regardless of what they thought of Fox News. The math was simple: if the administration would abuse its power to try and intimidate one media outlet, what made anyone think they weren’t next?

Trashing reporters comes easy in Obama-land. Behind the scenes, Obama-centric Democratic operatives brand any reporter who questions the administration as a closet conservative, because what other explanation could there be for a reporter critically reporting on the government?

***

There’s really no reason for the press to suggest that the recent slew of scandals involving the Obama administration — Benghazi, the AP phone-record seizure, the snooping in James Rosen’s e-mail, the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, and so on — are a confusing jumble. There is a very clear thread running through all of the administration’s actions…

All of these actions involve an effort to control information.

Some parts of this administration focus on preventing information that is contrary to the administration’s agenda from getting out, or hindering its distribution, and making sure that the only information that goes out supports the perspective of the administration. Other parts leak confidential information designed to attack the reputations of those holding perspectives the administration opposes (NOM, the nine conservative groups) or other whistleblowers (ATF agent Dodson).

***

Moral authority entails a moral hazard: the temptation to abuse political and cultural power. Today’s liberal left conceives of itself as being on the side of all that is good, right and reasonable. It caricatures the right as racist, extremist, greedy, dishonest, fanatically religious, prone to violence–and dangerous because, through the Republican Party, it has maintained parity in the political arena. Of the 10 presidential elections since Watergate, each party won 5; and voters haven’t entrusted the Democrats with full control of government for more than two years since the Carter era.

If ordinary politics are a battle between good and evil, then winning becomes an overriding moral imperative. The end justifies the means: Journalists shade or conceal the truth in the service of a “larger truth.” Government restricts political speech in the name of promoting democracy. Administrative agencies perpetrate injustice in the name of “social justice.” That’s how IRS agents could think it was their patriotic duty to help fix an election for the party in power…

If Obama is no savior, neither is he the devil. He is but a man who, through a combination of ambition, talent, character and luck, became the central figure in the left’s crisis of authority. That crisis had been building for decades, seems to be reaching a culmination now, and will be resolved we know not how, except that we expect the process to be convulsive.

***

I didn’t understand it all back then, but I understand it now. Once there were old bosses. Now there are new bosses. And shopkeepers still keep their mouths shut. Tavern owners still keep their mouths shut.

Even billionaires keep their mouths shut.

One hard-working billionaire whose children own the Chicago Cubs dared to open his mouth. Joe Ricketts considered funding a political group critical of Obama before last year’s campaign. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, made it clear that if the Cubs wanted City Hall’s approval to refurbish decrepit Wrigley Field, Ricketts better back off.

It happened. He backed off. It was sickening. But it was and is Chicago.

And now — with the IRS used as political muscle and the Obama administration keeping that secret until after the president was elected — America understands it too.

***

***

“I think in order for government to gain its trust back, someone needs to be fired, someone needs to be held responsible, and, if it’s criminal, someone needs to go to jail.”



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