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The PJ Tatler

Matt Vespa


May 26, 2013 - 4:20 pm

The Obama administration is embroiled in five scandals.  Some on the right are saying that the IRS and AP fiascoes, in particular, are impeachable offenses. These incidents of government abuse are awful  and they have members of both sides outraged over these developments.  The media, at the moment, has turned against the president.  All over social media, we have petitions to impeach the president, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Obama is out in 2016.  He’s finished.  But his ideology will continue to live on in future elections.  This is the point Ben Domenech made in his May 16 column in Real Clear Politics.  Conservatives need to play the ‘long game’ with these scandals.  While we have an extraordinary chance to cut the achilles tendon of this administration, we have an even better opportunity to gut the core of American liberalism, and their inane love affair with big government.

The point is that these scandals cut at the core conceit of Obama’s ideology: the healthy and enduring confidence of big government to be good government. As technological capabilities advance and the scope of government expands, the types of domestic scandals we’re seeing here are only going to increase in frequency and invasiveness, with personal information shared more frequently, easier for even low level bureaucrats to acquire and manipulate. At the same time, Americans are becoming increasingly skeptical and cynical about their public institutions, with their trust in the federal government at historic lows. They distrust the agencies and bureaucrats even as the politicians of our age are investing more and more power in them.

Today, the media, the Obama administration, and David Axelrod are undertaking the task that conservatives could not: illustrating with each passing day that the progressive approach to modern governance and policy is inherently flawed and that vast governments are ripe for abuse. What we are seeing from the IRS and the DOJ is not something new, nor does it represent a perverse approach to benign bureaucracy: it is the inevitable consequence of an approach which puts mechanisms in place and then assumes they will not be used for ill. You should expect government to go as far as it can, whenever it can, in any ways that it can, toward the full exploitation of the power made available to it. Expecting government to behave otherwise is to expect the scorpion not to sting the frog.


When this period of scandal draws to a close, if the idea still survives that a more competent and ethical president would be able to effectively govern a $4 trillion bureaucracy, it will be a sign Republicans have failed. They can succeed by ignoring the tempting bait of making this about the president they despise, and focusing instead on the false philosophy of expansive government which represents the true danger to the American experiment. Doing so will require them to go against their own short-term viewpoint, so prevalent in recent years, and look instead to the long game.

Then again, this is all dependent on flawless execution on behalf of the Republican leadership in Congress, which hasn’t been all that spectacular, especially with members of the old guard, like McCain and Graham, still clogging things up.  Yet, if successful, we could stain liberalism for years to come, and that could lead to making inroads with Millennials, who already have a strong distrust of government.  Nevertheless, the chance Republicans can overreach with these scandals is also high.

Matt Vespa is a web editor at and occasional writer for Hot Air, RedState, and Townhall Magazine.

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All Comments   (7)
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IMO the core conceit is believing that liberals truly want to eradicate a dependent class and racial preferences, etc and truly want to promote economically independent families and a growing economy. Liberals need a dependent struggling class and an aggrieved minority class in order to maintain a core voting constituency.

Our conceit as conservatives is to believe that liberals are just proposing a different solution than conservatives to the lower class issues, when what they are simply doing is using lower class individuals and families as pawns to enrich themselves as a ruling, technocratic elite - making a fine living posturing as saviors ... with The Answer almost in reach...after the next election... and with just a few more new programs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
While attacking liberal ideology, consider the main themes of mass entertainment. Example: there is no contradiction between competition and compassion, for all wars end. I wrote about that theme in the late, sometimes lamented SMASH on NBC.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree in principle, Matt.

But you can't play a long game with short memories.

The low information voter has the attention span of a fruit fly. Leftist scandals have the shelf life of a carton of milk. The Agenda Media will stay on message and fulfill their devotion to The Inversion Narrative. (see my prior two articles on it from years ago on these pages)

The totalitarian instincts of this administration isn't about big government, it is about Big Brother. The nanny front gives it a Mrs. Doubtfire costume, but don't be fooled for a moment.

Resistance to totalitarianism to date has been tepid, mild and not nearly the outrage that it should be generating. Playing a long simply dousing what should be the raging heat of a shouted "NO!" AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS. And, for some within their heritage..."Never again".

Impeachment may not be a tactically good move. But, tamping down fervor is not a better solution tactically. The Agenda Media is not our friend or ally. We need to keep up the resistance by ourselves...for ourselves...and our children.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Obama acolytes will defend their guy on all three scandals. But for the standard-grade pro-Democratic Party backer who is also looking at the long game, Benghazi's the scandal they'll fight to the death over, because that not only goes towards the current administration's ideological strategy, it also threatens to scuttle Hillary as their 2016 nominee.

The IRS scandal is the easiest to explain to the public, in terms of failed big government -- though not as easy as conservatives may think, since so many people pay little or no income tax any more, they see the IRS more as a wealth redistributing arm of the government as opposed to one that's taking their money unfairly. Still, from a tactical standpoint, the IRS is the easiest to explain, while the AP/Fox scandal is the one most likely to get sa fair hearing in the big media, since it's the one that affects them the most. But for 2016 sand how it could directly change the landscape of the race, Benghazi remains the scandal the House GOP needs to focus on, not to impeach Obama but to make it so the Democrats are stuck with Sheriff Joe, Andrew Cuomo or Martin O'Malley as their 2016 nominee.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There's no reason both objectives can't be achieved simultaneously. But first, Conservatives have to gain more clout in Congress, particularly in the Senate. So let's concentrate on that, while quietly and methodically building an airtight case that Obama abused the power of the government for his own personal benefit, and that such abuse is inevitable when government has so much power in it's hands. Then we can move to indict Obama as a criminal and start to dismantle the excessive bureaucracies. In order to do this we need conservative leaders who, unlike McCain and Graham, aren't committed to "business as usual" in Washington.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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