John F. Kennedy as a candidate liked to tweak his opponent, Richard Nixon. When the Wall Street Journal criticized Republican Nixon, Kennedy jumped on it. "That's like L'Osservatore Romano criticizing the Pope!" The press corps knew that that Italian newspaper was the house organ of the Vatican. They loved the fact that Catholic Kennedy was throwing such a witty jab at Nixon.
So, we all need to pay attention when MSNBC's Chris Matthews criticizes President Obama. That's like L'Osservatore Romano knocking the Pope. Matthews was the kennel master for the lapdogs of the Obama media. He said in 2008 that he "felt a thrill going up my leg" whenever Mr. Obama spoke.
That was then. Now, Chris Matthews has issued a stern rebuke over the Obama administration's mounting scandals. He particularly focused in on Mr. Obama's lax management style and his obvious inattention to the nitty-gritty demands of being a Chief Executive. Matthews grilled a guest:
"What part of the presidency does Obama like? He doesn't like dealing with other politicians -- that means his own cabinet, that means members of the congress, either party. He doesn't particularly like the press.... He likes to write the speeches, likes to rewrite what Favreau and the others wrote for the first draft," Matthews said.
"So what part does he like? He likes going on the road, campaigning, visiting businesses like he does every couple days somewhere in Ohio or somewhere," Matthews continued. "But what part does he like? He doesn't like lobbying for the bills he cares about. He doesn't like selling to the press. He doesn't like giving orders or giving somebody the power to give orders. He doesn't seem to like being an executive."
Chris Matthews is not the only one. The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, a reliably liberal columnist, scorched Mr. Obama as "President Passer-by" in a recent piece.
At the start of Tuesday's briefing, the AP's Jim Kuhnhenn pointed out that in all the controversies of the moment -- the Benghazi talking points, the IRS targeting and the journalists' phone records -- "you have placed the burden of responsibility someplace else. ... But it is the president's administration."
President Passer-by, however, was not joining the fray. Carney repeated Obama's assertion that the IRS' actions would be outrageous only if they are true. Never mind that the IRS has already admitted the violations and apologized. (Tuesday night, Obama issued a statement saying he had seen the inspector general's report and directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "to hold those responsible for these failures accountable.")
It's especially apt that the IRS apparatchiks chose to go after conservative and tea party groups, especially those that mentioned "constitution" and "liberty" in their mission statements.
Here's a quote from a mission statement that sounds like something to attract the IRE of the IRS:
"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."
That quote, of course, is from America's mission statement, the Declaration of Independence. It refers to that hands-off manager, King George III, and his abuses of power.
New Offices? How about the Independent Payment Advisory Board? This unelected, unaccountable body was created under Obamacare to decide whether you really need that heart bypass -- when you are 82.
For enforcement of Obamacare's myriad requirements, the president has chosen none other than the IRS. He wants another 16,000 agents to harry and harass you and eat out your substance.
They will look over all your papers and effects, and hover over you while Mr. Obama is just passing by. If you think this IRS scandal is serious -- and we do -- just imagine what President Obama will do with another army of snoopers to swarm you.