There was Benghazi. Also something happened to/with a reporter, and then the Tea Party groused about their IRS paperwork. Now we find out a Hawaiian guy has run off to Hong Kong after telling Americans something they already knew. In a London daily. Okay.
All these are scandals apparently. But aren’t scandals supposed to have something to them? Aren’t they supposed to make me angry? Isn’t there supposed to be a reason for that? I’m not seeing many reasons.
Help me out, guys. What’s the nub of the controversy here? These outrages surely boil down to something. A point? An essence? The heart of a matter? Charles Krauthammer unravels the mystery:
“Horrible customer service.” That’s what the newly fired IRS commissioner averred was the agency’s only sin in singling out conservative political groups for discriminatory treatment.
. . But when the maitre d’ screens patrons for their politics and only conservatives find flies paddle-wheeling through their consomme, the problem is not poor service. It is harassment and invidious discrimination.
Chuck can’t even scare up a compelling metaphor. If a restaurant in Jim Crow-era Alabama were dropping flies in the locals’ soup I’m not sure the DOJ’s Civil Rights lawyers would bother. ‘Asshole’ pretty rarely overlaps with ‘invidious,’ except when you’re hired to play professional victim a la Krauthammer.
Brit Hume listens to DNI Clapper’s weaselspeak, and he bristles:
This administration is in the habit of saying things we already know are not true. It’s a very peculiar way to proceed in dealing with a scandal like this.
There we go! A SCANDAL. Like this:
Look, I happen to think that the NSA program is valid and legitimate. And I don’t think anything that this leaker has said, who is being called a whistle-blower, which I doubt — but I don’t think anything he has said points us in the direction of any specific abuses of any kind. . . But I do not understand why the people in this administration can’t seem to shake hands with the truth.
It’s all perfectly fine, there’s nothing wrong. Until Brit watches the video — then it’s outrageous the way Clapper’s lying about the outrage. *Poof* suddenly there are two scandals. Schroedinger’s cat anybody? First there is a scandal, then there is no scandal, then there is.
Peggy Noonan takes a crack at it.
This Is No Ordinary Scandal
We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate . .
No one’s been buying the earlybird ‘Watergate’ special. Not even Peggy herself. So she did the thing all over again. As for ‘No Ordinary Scandal,’ let me clarify . .
Why This Scandal Is Different
Sometimes when you’re writing part of a column you keep getting close to the meaning of what you want to say but you don’t quite get there, the full formulation of the idea eludes you. Then two days later, relaxing in conversation with friends, the thought comes to you whole, and you think: That’s what I meant to say. That’s what I was trying to get.
. . my friend got to the essence. He wrote, “The left likes to say, ‘Watergate was worse!’ Watergate was bad—don’t get me wrong. But it was elites using the machinery of government to spy on elites. . . . It’s something quite different when elites use the machinery of government against ordinary people. It’s a whole different ball game.”
That’s exactly what I meant.
The victimization of little people. That’s the scandal. Peggy thinks about them about the same time she cocks her head and gazes into the camera lens. Now that it’s clear a few dozen of the sainted averages were barely delayed in their attempts to acquire tax exemptions, Peggy couldn’t be more steadfast. If Bob Crane had suffered this way, a Stalag 13 sitcom wouldn’t have been nearly as funny.
Rush Limbaugh. You can count on Fatso to get right to the point:
The Question is Not Whether the Obama Regime Will Survive, But Will America as Founded Survive the Obama Regime?
. . Do I want somebody in charge of this kind of surveillance who doesn’t like this country as it’s founded? Do I want somebody collecting this kind of data on everybody who is in the middle of trying to transform this country into something the founders never intended it to be? On the other side of this is you would hope that our country and our intelligence agencies are able to determine planned attacks against this country and citizens against this country and uncover those in enough time to thwart them. In that sense, you want this kind of ability. And, by the way, the ability exists. This genie’s not gonna go back in the bottle.
The domestic snooping is necessary and it’s permanent. That narrows the problem a bit.
So in my mind, it does matter who’s in charge of it. It does matter. The political identity of the people who administer something like this matters incredibly. . . The government’s not just this thing sitting there that people run. There are certain kinds of people running it.
It’s a scandal that the President is a Democrat. Fair enough.