Axelrod: How could Obama know what his underlings were doing when the government's so big?

Via NRO, I flagged this in the last thread but it needs its own post. How desperate are O’s cronies that they’re now willing to dance on this rhetorical and ideological landmine in the name of protecting him? Conn Carroll flags this passage from Politico’s piece today about the dangerous new narrative developing for The One:

The uproars over alleged politicization of the IRS and far-reaching attempts to monitor journalists and their sources have not been linked directly to Obama. But it does not strain credulity to suggest that Obama’s well-known intolerance for leaks, and his regular condemnations of conservative dark-money groups, could have filtered down to subordinates.

The narrative is ideological. For five years, this president has been making the case that a growing and activist government has good intentions and can carry these intentions out with competence. Conservatives have warned that government is dangerous, and even good intentions get bungled in the execution. In different ways, the IRS uproar, the Justice Department leak investigations, the Benghazi tragedy and the misleading attempts to explain it, and the growing problems with implementation of health care reform all bolster the conservative worldview.

John Dickerson argues that right now Obama’s making the case for conservatism better than Romney ever did. All of which is fine, but obvious: Of course an explosion of government scandal will tend to vindicate a worldview that’s suspicious of government. What’s significant about Axelrod’s defense of O is that he’s pointing to the size of government as a structural reason for why scandal might proliferate, which is downright Reaganesque as a critique of the federal leviathan. The bigger the government gets, the less accountability there’ll be. That’s conservatism 101.

The perverse twist is that he’s using that logic to exculpate Obama. Try to get your mind around that. A guy who helped O win two presidential elections by arguing that government needs to do more, especially for health insurance (which will soon be partly under the jurisdiction of the IRS, natch), is now trying to absolve Obama of responsibility for his underlings’ malfeasance by suggesting that … no one can really control a government this big. Obama’s off the hook, thanks to his dogged efforts to make the country even more ungovernable than it already is. Say what you will about Ax but let no man question the elephantine size of his balls.

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Jazz Shaw 7:31 PM on October 02, 2022