Current Scandals in Perspective
Let’s not over-state the significance of this week’s emerging scandals in Washington.
The history of Western civilization is a story of the rise of the standing of the individual against the coercive power of the state. From Socrates‘ poison hemlock, to the Magna Carta, to the French Revolution, to the American Constitutional Convention “we the people” gained ascendency. More recently the power of the state under Soviet and Maoist communism failed to subjugate the people despite killing millions in trying. The next to fail, Insha’Allah, will be Barack Obama.
Until now the behavior of the Obama administration has been met by a shrug by the media and most of the public.
— Money has always had an influence in government. Wall Street donates millions to the campaigns of Obama, Shumer, and other Democrats. The banks don’t get broken up. Hedge fund managers have their incomes taxed at capital gains rates. Jon Corzine steals million from his depositors with impunity. That’s bad, but that’s the way it has always been.
— Politically connected people have always benefited from government contracts. Obama’s “green energy” constituents have seen their donations followed by contracts and favorable treatment such as Solyndra. It is not unusual that Diane Feinstein’s husband would get the contract to sell surplus Post Office facilities and the contract for building California’s High Speed Rail. That’s worse than normal, but that’s the way that it has always been.
— The people really don’t need to bother themselves with the details of what we are doing abroad. Reckless behavior by the State Department in Benghazi; no response during the attack; lies about what happened; a desultory investigation. That’s worse than normal, but that’s the way it has always been.
But, as they say on Wall Street (at least my broker does), this time it is different.
— The supposedly independent, non-political Internal Revenue Service – which is to be the primary enforcer of Obamacare’s mandates – has been caught red-handed singling out conservatives for illegally intrusive audits, passing tax return information to liberal groups to use in attacking a Republican presidential candidate, and lying to Congress about their behavior. Eric Erickson has an excellent post describing the connection between the encouragements of a ruler and the misdeeds of subordinates. This is not the way it has always been – maybe similar to some Nixonian transgressions, but never this pervasive.
— The Justice Department has finally riled up the pliant main stream media by secretly collecting months of phone data from 100 Associated Press journalists and managers to find a leak. After years of accepting a White House press secretary whose main virtue is a plausible ability to plead ignorance, an avalanche of media groups – even Rachel Maddow – are crying foul. This is not the way it has always been – the ‘Plumbers” of Watergate fame were formed to plug National Security Council leaks, but generally reporters have been off limits for such intimidation.
For the paranoid Constitutional small government advocates on the Right, their time has come. The federal take-over of one sixth of the economy in Obamacare, or at least the IRS’ role in it, is back in play. And the 2014 elections promise to be a repeat of the 2010 tsunami with the righteous wrath of the Tea Party energized. Up with the individual; down with the coercion of the state. Let the march of history resume.
This week’s video is an assessment of ObamaCare’s implementation by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and one of the original major sponsors of the bill, shortly before he announced that he was not running for reelection in 2014.