” Leaving aside the seriousness of lawlessness, and the corruption of our civic culture by the professionally pious, this past week has been amusing. There was the spectacle of advocates of an ever-larger regulatory government expressing shock about such government’s large capacity for misbehavior. And, entertainingly, the answer to the question “Will Barack Obama’s scandals derail his second-term agenda?” was a question: What agenda?
The scandals are interlocking and overlapping in ways that drain his authority. Everything he advocates requires Americans to lavish on government something his administration, and big government generally, undermines — trust.
Obama’s supposed “trifecta” of scandals — Benghazi, the IRS, and the seizure of Associated Press phone records — neglects some. A fourth scandal is power being wielded by executive branch officials (at the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) illegally installed in office by presidential recess appointments made when the Senate was not in recess.
A fifth might be Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius soliciting, from corporations in industries HHS regulates, funds to replace some that Congress refused to appropriate. The money is to be spent by nonprofit — which does not mean nonpolitical — entities. The funds are to educate Americans about, which might mean (consider the administration’s Benghazi and IRS behaviors) propagandize in favor of, Obamacare and to enroll people in its provisions. The experienced (former governor, former secretary of education, 10 years in the Senate) and temperate Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., compares this to the Iran-contra scandal, wherein the Reagan administration raised private funds to do what Congress had refused to do — finance the insurgency against Nicaragua’s government.
Obama’s incredibly shrinking presidency is a reminder that politics is a transactional business, trust is the currency of the transactions, and the currency has been debased. For example:”
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