As a presidential candidate in 2008, Mr. Obama posed for a New York Times photo while prominently holding a copy of The Post-American World written by Time-Warner-CNN-HBO spokesman Fareed Zakaria. So I doubt that he would lose any sleep over the notion that “Scandals costing us American exceptionalism,” which is the headline atop Glenn Reynolds’ latest column in USA Today:
“Who can you trust?” That’s the title of a pretty good album, but it’s also the question for our age. One of the underpinnings of successful representative government is that voters feel they can trust their representatives, and those in the bureaucracy to whom power is delegated, to follow the law. That trust in government officials’ willingness to follow the law is the foundation for a sense that the law is legitimate, so that citizens feel a duty to follow the law as well.
But that trust has taken a big hit lately. Over the weekend, the IRS scandal hit the 100th day since the IRS admitted targeting conservative groups during the 2012 election year. Yet the IRS is still being charged with stonewalling Congressional investigators. IRS official Lois Lerner, of course, has already taken the Fifth rather than testify about what went on.
Meanwhile, new revelations of NSA lawbreaking have come out. As the Washington Post reported, the NSA violated privacy rules thousands of times per year. It appears that despite assurances that there was no domestic spying program, the NSA was, in fact, hoovering up vast numbers of phone calls, emails, etc. in order to spy on Americans. (New White House talking point: Hey, it’s not a domestic spying program, it’s just a program that does a lot of domestic spying!)
Back in June, President Obama told us that if you trust Congress, you can trust the NSA. That wasn’t all that reassuring, considering how few Americans trust Congress. And, in fact, it appears that Congressional overseers either didn’t know what was going on, or went along with the lawbreaking. (Last week we also saw the conclusion to the Bradley Manning trial, where we discovered that Bradley Manning’s most damaging revelation was that our national-security establishment was willing to put dangerous secrets in the hands of . . . a guy like Bradley Manning).
Meanwhile, the Benghazi scandal — successfully pushed off past the 2012 elections by scapegoating an obscure YouTube filmmaker — is looking worse and worse. Although government officials blamed the video the administration in fact knew that Al Qaeda was involved from the beginning.
Glenn’s just getting started rounding up the Obama scandals, so read the whole thing, to coin an Insta-phrase.
And then check out Rob Long at Ricochet, who reports, “BREAKING: Corrupt Congressman Doesn’t Like TV Show About Corrupt Congressman:”
In an op-ed published Monday in Maine’s Portland Press Herald, Frank gives his scorching review of “House of Cards,” saying the Netflix series “demeans the democratic process in ways that are unfair, inaccurate, and if they were to be believed by a substantial number of the public, deeply unfortunate.”
The lead of the show, played with ferocious gusto by Kevin Spacey, is a corrupt Democratic congressman. And apparently, Barney Frank finds this portrayal to be unrealistic:
The retired 16-term congressman, 73, says he’s “never met anyone in a position of power in Congress” who resembles Kevin Spacey’s character on the popular show. Spacey plays a corrupt, fictional Democratic House majority whip.
Never met anyone? Anyone?
Perhaps the show simply hits too close to home for Frank.