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Belmont Club

The Poisoned Chalice

May 17th, 2013 - 9:30 pm

Perhaps the most incisive comment on the Obama administration’s plague of scandals comes from the National Journal. It argues that the scandals will hurt the Republicans “by enraging the base and strengthening the faction least willing to compromise with Obama, the IRS and Benghazi affairs could hurt a GOP shot at the presidency.”

In other words the scandals could so damage trust in the system among some conservatives that they’ll simply opt out of the party game. Sickened by the slow motion, kid-gloves complicity and apparent incompetence of the establishment GOP, a critical mass of Republican supporters may just stay home, like a viewer who’s finally decided that the sport of wrestling is rigged and not worth watching.

This will impede “deal making” according to the National Journal; and deprive the GOP of the juice to put together the coalition necessary to take their turn at the trough. Once they permanently exit the game then by default only the Democrats will keep the field.

There is another danger facing Republicans which the National Journal doesn’t directly address. It can be described thus: if the scandals go too far at unearthing the administration’s rot then even the most craven Republicans will be compelled to do something about it. Like a man in a saloon card game who’s caught someone cheating at cards either they call him out and take what comes or pretend the game is still honest. It’s either ignore the cheating or get ready to clear leather.

What the scandals have done to Washington is taken the former process of horse-trading  perilously close to a zero-sum game. Each new revelation bolsters the belief that the administration has already done precisely what the Republicans don’t want to do: gone for for big brass ring.  Gone for world domination. There are a lot of suggestive indicators. They’ve politicized the IRS, Treasury, Justice — maybe even the defense department.  Maybe they’ve already opted for the zero sum game — with themselves as the winners.

The sheer apocalyptic implication of that possibility gives  stories which offer an excuse for inaction a curious attractiveness: “We made mistakes, but without malice”. How one hopes that’s true. These stories allow everyone to hope, permit everyone to delay the irreparable breach. It permits one to plausibly think it is all a  misunderstanding, like the man finding someone in bed with his wife or discovering a murder in progress. Because if it is real then all ways run ill.

The key problem for the Republican Party — and also for conservatives of a whole — is deciding what they’re seeing.  Whether it the dreaded Incoming over the Pole everyone has watched the radar for all these years or whether is it a flock of birds, a  false positive that will clear up momentarily.

The game theoretic of this dilemma is well trodden. Launch on warning, launch on attack, assured second strike. One thing’s for sure: the Republicans won’t launch on warning.

Prudence will probably stay the hand of conservatives and let things limp along for awhile. It will take more, perhaps much more to establish the belief they are actually under attack.

This is as it should be, for the issues are so momentous that nobody wants to risk the political peace by some hot-headed response. Just as it was rational to wait till New York or Los Angeles vanished in a fireball, to wait till one was absolutely sure, it is probably prudent to wait on events since the stakes are just too high not to mind one’s words.

Things will probably have to get a whole lot worse before a critical mass of voters choose the path of despair that the National Journal warns against: the point where they exit the game.

The difficulty is that the restraint does not so far seem symmetric. What is perhaps most disturbing is the sheer effrontery of the administration. They seem unabashed and oblivious to the damage they are causing. They are telling lies that nobody can be expected to believe, almost as if the stranger hiding under the marital bed explains that he’s looking for change he dropped there. He doesn’t actually expect you to believe it. What he wants to know is whether you’re man enough to call him on it.

There is still some way to go until things become crystal clear; a brief space in which to make certain about what is really going on.  Like a scan or ultrasound or biopsy you’re waiting on. For once we know the knowledge will bind us. There are dangerous lines to cross, which once traversed make it is hard to go back. Would that the administration’s minions had thought that way. The structures of the Republic were designed to make stark choices unnecessary. Permanent power is a chalice no one should want to drink from. Once that cup is tasted something very wicked this way comes.

A very precious commodity — mutual trust — is at risk in the coming days.  If it is trashed and expended, it will be a long time rebuilding it again.  We rarely know the value of what we have until we lose it.


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Top Rated Comments   
Didn't anyone watch the Ways & Means hearing on Friday? It was Republicans in charge, Republicans exposing the truth, Republicans ripping away the veil of secrecy protecting the IRS and revealing the mendacity of Steven Miller, who is Obama's representative. It was wonderful to watch and I have faith that it's possibly the beginning of our party (yes, OUR party, for in all expediency we have no other choice at this point) taking down this repulsive edifice of lies brick by brick. They truly need our support right now and we deny it at our peril.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I had to apologize to my wife today.

My wife grew up in the Marcos-run Philippines. She was used to living in a place where a knock on the door in the middle of the night could end your political activism as well as your life. 27 years ago, during the first months of our marriage, I was upset about something, possibly the absurdities associated with the Democrat's Iran-Contra prosecution and political Special Prosecutor. In any case, I was ranting on about politics which scared the heck out of her. She hurried to close the blinds and begged me to be quiet, "before we get into trouble..". I opened the blinds and told her "Sweetheart, you're in America now. You can say anything you want about anybody. This is a free country with Constitutional protections, and no authority in America is going to harm you because of what you believe or because of your politics."

So, today, I apologized to her, and admitted that she was right and I was naive. I admitted that we are in fact at risk for both our Christian faith and our politics. The Bill of Rights has been shreaded. No one will or apparently can defend American citizens from government excess. The Democrats aren't back pedaling or hiding, either. Steven Miller, not Obama, is the modern face of the Democrat party. Brash, bold, arrogant, in your face, in power, and unabashed about breaking the law. Lie to Congress? Break the law? Hell, HE IS THE LAW!

But after the apology, I added "..but I'm still not closing those damn blinds, nor will I be silenced". If Obama feared the Tea Party in 2010, he'll be praying to Allah five times a day come 2014, because those elections will be politically bloody for the Democrats. 1860v2.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Whether it the dreaded Incoming over the Pole everyone has watched the radar ..."

Oh it is not that at all. The Incoming has come in and landed on and killed the lifeform called the Republic long,long ago. What this is is the large hulking flock of vultures with their claws dug into the buttocks of the beast and ripping out the entrails through the backside and gargling with the gobbets of flesh.

Time to decide if you need to start shooting these creatures in the head or burning their feathers off with a flame thrower.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (115)
All Comments   (115)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
See my Sat May 18 03:28:17 PDT 2013.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama and the Democratic/Socialist party has already cleared leather; the Republicans are open mouthed fools staring down a muzzle.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Except for those Institutional Republicans who are using Conservatives, the TEA Party, and all sorts of Patriots as human shields.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Those are the ones in on the game: they are just trying to postpone the day they are shot.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
90%+ of people getting government checks for any reason (exception for active duty military) would kill all of us who are center/right in our leanings - or allow any level of government to kill all of us without uttering a peep - if that's what it took to keep the checks rolling in. Every librarian, every pensioner, every welfare recipient and worker in the town hall and bureaucrat and state U professor and public works or DMV employee, every federal alphabet agency employee, most lawyers (who are de facto government workers), every welfare recipient, all of them.

If that is the case - which it is - do any of you honestly believe that they would be even remotely bothered by any of these scandals, or would allow these things to push from power the Democrat juggernaut that promises to keep the checks coming forever? Especially vs a party which at least gives lip service to diminsihing the size of government (meaning the magic checks might go away if they are ever elected)?


Pffft.

They are unreachable and iredeemable, at least up to the point when their own are forced by economic collapse to admit they don't have the money to make good on their promises. By then it may be too late.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
On the Sunday shows today the Obama administration, voiced by Dan Pfeiffer, has taken the surprising position that the law is irrelevant. And also, the whereabouts, activities, actions and knowledge of the president are also irrelevant. So when you're going on wondering about these things, asking about them, vexing yourself on the matters, you might as well concern yourself with hippopotamuses. That's an equivalent inquiry. What is relevant, is the sure knowledge that whatever has happened will be put right via naked executive will.

You are to take comfort in that surety. The triumph of executive will. What need has one for mere law?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And there's the rub. If the law is irrelevant then there is nothing to prevent us from exterminating this hostile and invasive species.

And we have them surrounded, outnumbered, outgunned and outsmarted. And even if they win they all die when their host organism does.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The institutions have captured the government from the people through vote rigging. Unless the sham voting stops, in other words, a complete overhaul of the electoral system then democracy will die in its tracks. The constitution never anticipated that the government would be corrupted by criminal enterprise.

Every institution of the government that has teeth has isolated itself politically away from the will of the American people for the sole interest of itself through Democrat Party only. They have done this by and large by elevating personal causes over the American electorate. They believe that the America electorate is not trustworthy enough to be allowed to vote for self-interest. They fear that when there is “Earth in the Balance”, democracy can no longer be tolerated. In effect, Earth in the Balance is the new Mein Kampf.

A brief list of causes adapted by our new revolutionary government –
The preeminence of controlling behavior in order to control the environment, i.e.:
Global warming
The preeminence of Spanish speaking cultures
The preeminence of homosexual identification
The preeminence of a woman’s sole right to determine the viability of life
The preeminence of all non-European peoples

The government has elected itself, through vote rigging, the protectors of all things that its religion holds true and godlike. One could say that they love everything that is not preeminently American or one can look at the flip side and realize that our government merely hates everything that is preeminently American and loves no one but the love of other people’s money. They fear liberty because they believe that Americans are not worthy of it. They have elected themselves to protect the world from the America taxpayer and what better way than to indenture them in generations of unsustainable debt. They are building ideological pyramids made of mist for today that will keep the proles noses to the grindstone for the rest of their lives, which in human terms, is for eternity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What the House Republicans ought to do is pass a RESOLUTION calling on President Obama to fire Eric Holder for incompetence, specifically for his failure to put his recusal in the AP matter into writing as required by the DOJ policy manual.

Once they have started throwing Obama's affirmative-action-baby Cabinet members under the bus, they will start a preference cascade against special privileges based race, gender, sexual preference, national origin yada, yada, yada.

What they want is GOVERNMENT NEUTRALITY.

For example, the IRS should be neutral in whom they audit.

SEIZE THE HIGH GROUND!

WE STAND FOR EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW AND GOVERNMENT NEUTRALITY IN DEALING WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY LIVS!!!!!



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Low information people will not even finish this article. Americans have devolved into instant gratification idiots who want to be spoon fed only what info that they want.

Actually most Low Information American's will never see this article. Nor hear of it.
They are not interested in politics until someone offers them something for their vote.

They will see the description "Tea Party" and that is all they will need to regurgitate their wrong headed liberal, progressive learning that has invaded America the last forty or so years.

Anyway most younger Americans only are interested in what they can get out of anything, and how easy it is to get it. Some pay way too much for a worthless education and walk and are UN-employable on even that. Really work for a good education? That is too hard. Learn to actually do/build/fix/invent something? NO, They can't get their hands dirty or use their brains for something other than holding up their rock-star hair style.

Study and learn something that will actually get them a job. Give back, work hard, have good morals, help others...that's old school, and no fun, and no profit for for most nowadays.

NO job? Well just pay me for not having a job. I deserve it. Poor Parenting helped form that attitude, seeing mom (no dad around in most cases) getting welfare money doesn't help in the long run, in fact it is killing our Republic.

Anyway, money can't fix America. Obama has proven that many times over (with taxpayers money). Buying politicians only brings more problems for the masses, never solutions. Buying food, phones or paying the rent and electricity doesn't really fix anything, it just encourages dependency and puts the problems off for another time, for our grand children to have to try and pay for.

America what has happened to you?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Re your 6th paragraph:

I just read a review of the newest bio of Margaret Thatcher in which she is quoted, to show the plain-spoken nature of her personality, as saying she never could see the sense of paying people not to work.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In other news, the Nazi death camps, the massacre of 100,000 innocents in the WWII Battle of Manila, and the Ft Hood jihadist shootings all have been recharacterized as “Poor customer service.”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mutual trust? Of whom by whom? Does complicity with neighbourhood bullies and menacing gangs now come under the heading mutusl trust? Is courage now, at least in politics and Congress now spelled craven in "this best of all possible worlds"? All things considered isn't that other insight "ili est bon de temps en temps de tuer un amiral (Ship of State, remember? ) pour encourager les autres" more "appropriate" for the present fiascoes?

And that being the case "all's for the best in this best of all possiblel worlds". When the manly, the humane, the righteous would be the good "de tuer an amiral (Ship of State, remember?) pour encourager les autres".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
SemperFi80 sounds like a career govt bureaucart in that he managed to read Wretchard's post and both understand it and miss its entire point, by dint of an extra special effort undertaken with malice and forethought.

Logical analysis is not what is needed at this point; indeed it would be pointless. Wretchard has already done that, many times, and now logical analysis of the Obama Admin's antics would be like analyzing Abott and Costellos' "Who's On First" or the way the 3 Stooges tried to pretend an empty lot with a board fence around it was a house.

In all those cases everyone knows full well what the antics mean. You just sit back and enjoy it and/or shake your head in disbelief and dismay, since you can turn the switch on the TV and turn Obama off but the show's still playing whether you like it or not. You may not be interested in seeing any more of Obama's antics, but they are interested in you.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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