February 21, 2014

Washington’s Pack of Pretenders

Preserving and expanding the government’s (and their) power.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.

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On Friday, in what would be a humiliating episode if it were capable of embarrassment, the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, acted as if a tweet from “@BarackObama” about the TV program “House of Cards” represented an “endorsement” of the program by President Barack Obama himself. It even described the tweet as his “latest playful executive order,” and reported that a cast member somehow “double-checked the authenticity of the tweet before celebrating.”

The folks at AP are so smitten with Dear Leader they either weren’t aware or didn’t care that the Twitter account involved is from Organizing for America, a group of Obama lovers who are technically but not substantively separate from the White House, and whose life mission is to promote his missions of the moment. The “@BarackObama” account description clearly tells the world that “Tweets from the President are signed -bo.” The “House of Cards” tweet contained no such “signature.”

AP’s seeming cluelessness is really a case of institutional acceptance of the unacceptable: It, and the rest of the press, have become so used to covering government and government-aligned entities which are not at all what they pretend to be that they no longer even care to question their legitimacy. Several of too many examples to fit into a single column follow.

Certainly Eric Holder’s Department of Justice isn’t what the Attorney General’s “about” page says it is, namely “the central agency for enforcement of federal laws.” It is instead the central agency for approving fishing expeditions against news organizations like the AP; harassing states in matters such as the administration of elections which are solely their province; deciding which federal laws it will refuse to defend, e.g., the Defense of Marriage Act; and determining which laws it will ruthlessly reinterpret beyond Congress’s and even the Supreme Court’s intent.

Holder himself is the only attorney general, and in fact the first sitting cabinet member, ever held in contempt of Congress. There is documented evidence that he knew of Operation Fast and Furious, the enterprise involving the provision of thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels, in July 2010, five months before Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murderer used one of those guns to kill him. In Mexico, as of over two years ago, Fast and Furious guns “showed up at nearly 200 crime scenes” involving an estimated 300 “people killed or wounded.” In a functioning government, Holder’s impeachment and involuntary removal from office would have occurred long ago.

The charlatans at the Internal Revenue Service claim to be about helping Americans “understand and meet their tax responsibilities” and to “enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.” Four decades ago, the agency’s head directly refused to honor President Richard Nixon’s request to audit 200 of his political enemies. Barely a year after Obama’s first inauguration, it became a political tool of his administration dedicated to stonewalling, harassing, and auditing liberty movement, voter integrity and social conservative organizations and their leaders. Holder’s FBI, after conducting a months-long non-investigation of the agency during which it apparently spoke with no targeted organizations, implausibly decided that no criminal activity had taken place.

The Democratic wings of the House and Senate are filled with elected officials who have long since lost interest in making and passing laws their constituents desire while overseeing the executive branch’s execution of those laws. They instead believe that nothing is more important than staying in office to protect their Senate majority and to prevent the growth of Republicans’ House majority, even if doing so involves having the IRS ramp up its aforementioned intimidation and letting it expand its efforts into silencing their opposition during reelection campaigns.

Many Republicans in the House and Senate pretend to be fiscal conservatives frightened by the approaching fiscal train wreck that becomes more of a foregone conclusion with each passing day. But at crunch time this week, they weren’t content merely to unconditionally approve an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling.  They chose to go much further, removing the ceiling entirely, giving the administration a de facto blank check to run up as much debt as it can for the next 13 months. That’s very unfortunate, especially because the economy, which has “unexpectedly” begun to show signs of significantly slowing, may cause the still completely unacceptable but lower deficits seen during the past year or so to become a distant memory. It is virtually certain that Obama won’t accept the reimposition of any kind of debt ceiling as long as he is in office.

The administration pretends that there is a law on the books called the Affordable Care Act, and inconsistently whines when people call it “Obamacare.” But the President’s statist health care regime simply must be called “Obamacare,” because any time something in the law as passed by Congress become politically inconvenient, Obama’s bureaucrats at either Kathleen Sebelius’s Department of Health and Human Services or Jack Lew’s Treasury Department concoct regulations self-evidently designed to minimize electoral fallout. At last count, the administration has made 18 major changes, “unilaterally and often in direct contradiction to legislative language.”

Obama’s pretenders thrive because the nation’s leaders have chosen to at least ignore and often directly defy the late Henry Hyde’s warnings about what would transpire if it abandoned the rule of law. Those who could have prevented it have failed to react with sufficient vigor to its serial undermining. This is why the American experiment is in dire, unprecedented peril.

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