Three scandals have converged in the past week to preoccupy Congress and the press. Benghazi was the first to come, and it has surprised by its staying power. The abuse of power by the IRS may be, in the long run, the most damaging of these cases for the Obama presidency, but its outlines are only beginning to emerge. But the ugliest of the scandals has come from the revelation of the justice department's seizure of two months of phone calls by 100 AP reporters. This was done to investigate the leak of a thwarted terrorist plot which the government itself had already decided to disclose in public. Different as they are, the scandals all point to a single disorder that afflicts the Obama White House and the Holder justice department. The name of the disorder is paternalism, and its leading symptoms are suppression and secrecy.
The news this week about the DOJ looking at the phone logs of journalists covering the White House, and of the IRS scrutinizing the tax returns of various right-wing groups, is bad for the Obama administration. They are also much more likely to stick than the Benghazi story.
If we take the word "Watergate" to mean what nearly everyone has understood it to mean for the past four decades, then it becomes rather difficult to justify even mentioning Watergate and Benghazi in the same sentence.
Not since New Coke have we as a nation seen a disaster that both sides of the aisle can agree on. America is now unanimously and officially outraged that the IRS would have the audacity to target political groups -- groups that publicly despise taxes and call for the end of the IRS.
For the past few years, as a special thank you to our service members and their families, I've held a contest just for military spouses. It turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience.
It's not unheard of for journalists to reveal source identities if it's proven that that person badly misled a reporter or passed along bogus information. Some observers think that's what happened in the case of the Benghazi talking points.
One of my biggest disappointments with President Obama's transition to his second term was the announcement that Holder would be staying on, instead of turning the Justice Department over to someone else. I don't personally dislike Holder (I've never met the man), but I do strongly question his priorities during his time as the nation's Attorney General.
How does one conduct herself each day among such partisanship, isolation, domestic and international disasters, and what seems like the daily fracturing not only of our nation, but also of our relationship with other nations? It's been a harrowing week trying to figure all of this out -- here's what I've established.
When congressional Republicans complete manipulating the Benghazi tragedy, it will be time for the virtually silent Senate Intelligence Committee to take up three major issues that have been largely ignored.
The point isn't to have one, it's to make it quickly and efficiently and then pin it on the president. To exploit a scandal for scandal's sake. Because scandals are the only way to shrink our deficit, improve our financial outlook, and allow the Dow to set all sorts of records.
Sometimes in the face of national tragedy, politics should take a backseat. The hypocrisy of turning Benghazi into a deliberate cover-up scandal is preposterous at a time when the nation faces so many serious problems.
So, the media needs another food-fight story, and, if there is no real one, just allow themselves to be sucked in by right-wing propaganda. Hence, Benghazi. Again.
In the Iraq war 4500 American soldiers died, not to mention the tens of thousands of others, including Iraqis, killed or maimed. Yet Washington never witnessed such outrage and a quest for the truth from Republicans, whose disingenuous motives on Benghazi are now utterly transparent.
The U.S. Justice Department's secret seizure of two months of phone records for reporters and editors of the Associated Press is a reckless violation of the First Amendment. There is nothing more sacred in the American democracy than freedom of the press.
Like Whitewater, look at how the Benghazi production now comes complete with dubious claims about whistleblowers (and their unreliable advocate), controversial talking points, and leaked Congressional testimony used to whip up media anticipation.