James Taranto, Noah Rothman, Ace, and, as you’ll see, Steve Hayes: Lots of righties are asking this question after O tossed it into his snooze of a speech. And it’s not just O. Remember, Carney sneered about pretend scandals yesterday too in his skirmish with Scarborough on “Morning Joe.” This is, it seems, an official White House talking point, adopted by The One himself. Somehow, after five years and several thousand “pivots” to stupid and/or dangerous left-wing agenda wishlist items, the White House has decided that all it really wants to talk about is the economy and it’s damned tired of being distracted from doing so, don’tcha know.
So, which scandals — plural — are phony? Benghazi is, certainly. The left’s been insisting since before Chris Stevens was laid to rest that there’s zero sign of government malfeasance here, despite the fact that State ignored numerous warnings that the consulate was operating in one of the most dangerous places on earth with only a skeleton security crew to protect it. The IRS scandal’s also phony, despite the fact that Carney himself called it “outrageous” (as Taranto notes), because even though targeting conservative groups was improper, it was mostly career government employees who did it and so that makes it kinda sorta non-scandalous. The “harvesting journalists’ phone records to hunt for leakers” scandal is phony because there are national security interests at stake and Holder tried to be as non-invasive as possible and everyone at the DOJ is really conscientious blah blah.
That’s what makes them individually phony. What makes them collectively phony, and the real reason the White House is so dismissive about all this, is that none of them have been directly tied to Obama himself. That’s the sine qua non of a “scandal” for O and his lackeys and it’s perfectly in keeping with the cult of personality that got him elected in 2008. If The One’s hands are clean then how much dirt can there really be? What the people who staff his government do is on them. The sole exception to this is the NSA revelations because (a) there’s no way for O to feign ignorance on that and (b) the general public, including liberals and Democrats, has plenty of skin in the game when it comes to domestic surveillance. That’s why Obama and Carney keep calling for a “national conversation” on the NSA (while doing everything they can to prevent it) rather than waving anxieties away as “phony” trumped-up Republican nonsense. Anything that can be linked to The One is a “legitimate concern.” Anything that can’t? Meh. Move on, wingnuts.