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Scandal

By From the March 2014 issue

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There are none so blind as those who see things his way. Here’s a classic formulation, as presented by the New Yorker’s David Remnick toward the end of an epic profile of the president on the eve of the State of the Union Address. “Obama has every right to claim a long list of victories since he took office: ending two wars; an economic rescue, no matter how imperfect; strong Supreme Court nominations; a lack of major scandal…” You’ve got to love that, written with a straight face. Evidently, it must depend on what the meaning of “major” is. 

So let’s think of them as “minor” scandals. Obamacare, which has left more people without coverage than it has signed on, all of it premised on a huge presidential lie, is on course to drag U.S. health care down to third-world levels. It’s already managed to corrupt Romneycare and make it more unworkable (see p. 18). Surely community organizer Obama is familiar with the term “economic sabotage.” It was not regarded as a minor matter.

The IRS’s police state-like harassment of Tea Party groups was an unprecedented political action on behalf of an incumbent administration. Our Presswatch columnist, the Wall Street Journal’s unassailable James Taranto, has noted that the IRS’s behavior calls into question the legitimacy of Obama’s re-election. Now we see that the Justice Department’s “investigation” of the IRS might as well have been commissioned by Vladimir Putin (see p. 20). Nothing to write home about, Mr. Remnick?

At least in the case of the IRS, the administration is cynically pretending the fix is not in. When it comes to Benghazi (see p. 24), it’s done nothing to bring anyone to justice, whatever its initial promises. It lied to the victim’s families and it lied to the world and to the American people. An America that ceases to defend its own ceases to be America. A political leadership that thinks only of saving its sorry skin drags our country down still further. It does not even see the irony that all the evidence we need of its desperate cowardice we already have on video. Good luck dealing with this minor scandal in your next campaign, Madame Secretary Clinton. Maybe in a plea bargain you’ll let the world know where your boss was that night. Sorry, if historically keeping tabs of that sort has been a touchy subject. 

If the last decades of liberalism have taught us anything, it’s that shrugging off scandal has been a mainstay of those most involved in it. Not just the principals, but also their defenders, apologists, and the press that covers for them. Can their defenses be penetrated? 

In Mr. Remnick’s case, we think there is a way to get inside his blinders. His magazine prides itself on its sketch art. More than one of his covers has depicted the president in a playful manner, in contrast to its cover treatments of Bush-Cheney and Romney in various states of depravity. So if oral or literary argument mean nothing to him, he will have to pay attention to the loving treatment his hero-president receives on our cover this month. Inspired by the late, very great Jeff MacNelly’s loving tribute to Jimmy Carter, which appeared on the cover of our February 1981 issue, Yogi Love has executed a defining official portrait. Perhaps Mr. Remnick would like to reprint it, before we donate it to the White House and to the Obama Presidential Library? 

I’m no art critic, but I do interpret Mr. Love’s drawing to mean that as Mr. Obama peers out into the future, he’s terrified that his entire rule will be adjudged a scandal. 

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About the Author
Wlady Pleszczynski is editorial director of The American Spectator and the editor of AmSpec Online.