As a metaphor for big government, it is hard to top the Justice Department’s seizing of journalists’ phone records from The Associated Press.
Unless, of course, you think the best example is the Internal Revenue Service turning the screws on groups it viewed as conservative and, therefore, unworthy of fair treatment.
Or maybe the winner is the sneaky spreading of ObamaCare’s tentacles, with insurance companies now predicting the law will drive up the cost of individual premiums by as much as 400 percent.
There are no losers in this race to the bottom — except the American people. It is tempting to ask whether they’ve had enough Hope & Change, but the question is premature. With 44 months to go in the reign of the Great Mistake, the gods are not done punishing us.
Meanwhile, back at the White House, the growing cloud of trouble must have the bunker boys longing for the good old days. You know, those idyllic days of yesteryear, a k a early last week, when Benghazi was the only scandal on the horizon.
Everything was much simpler then. All the president had to do was cry “Politics!” and the Pavlovian media mutts declared Benghazi a “partisan witch hunt” and started digging into really important things, such as whether Republicans are evil or just stupid.
Then the dam broke. First, it was the sensational Benghazi hearing, where previously muzzled whistleblowers detailed the administration’s bungles before, during and after the terror attack. Throw in reports showing the infamous Susan Rice talking points were rewritten 11 times, going from fact to fiction, and Benghazi suddenly became the important story it should have been all along.
If that were all, it would have been enough. But the near-simultaneous revelations in recent days about the IRS playing political favorites, the massive phone grab at the AP news operation, and ObamaCare’s cost impact combined to demonstrate something I believed for a long time.
The Obama administration is both corrupt and incompetent. It is a double whammy that spells trouble for the nation, at home and abroad.
The corruption is not like that in Albany, where officials stuff their pockets with taxpayer cash. The corruption in Obama-Land is the selective use of government power to reward friends and punish opponents. Or, as the president calls them, enemies.
Political allies — think Solyndra and unions — get special goodies, while those who oppose the regime’s agenda are demonized and singled out for scrutiny. The IRS targeting of groups with “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their names and those that advocate less spending smacks of the tactics of banana republic strongmen. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro would be proud.
But America is a nation of laws and not of men, of individual liberty and not of centralized power. And that national dynamic explains the firestorm of anger aimed at the White House. The headlines have sparked a wide and genuine outcry over Obama’s push against the nation’s roots.
He’s been doing it for four years, and mostly getting away with it, but suddenly, there is a critical mass of evidence against him. Maybe the AP case made the media realize they were not exempt from Obama’s overreach.
Whatever the reason, what we see so far is certainly not the end of it. You can bet other nasty, intrusive surprises are hiding in the vast deep of the expanding bureaucracy.
The ultimate danger is a lack of accountability. The idea that ordinary citizens hold the power has no meaning when the political class circles the wagons and the press looks the other way while the president accumulates more power and control.
That is where we have been, but hopefully, not where we are going. Their liberty DNA kicking in, more and more citizens, including some in the media, finally are expressing shock and anger at how big, clumsy and crooked our government is. They are welcome to the discovery, belated though it is.
For those of us not shocked by the inevitable, there is vindication but no satisfaction. Each example of Obama’s chickens coming home to roost just makes more obvious how much damage he’s already done.
The repair begins by throwing open the doors and windows of Washington. We’ll need a lot of sunshine to disinfect this rot