Lots of Partisanship, No Adult Supervision

The unfolding of the Obama Administration’s aggressive attitude towards the media continues to reveal the same sorry themes as the other scandals erupting inside the Beltway. 

The first is partisanship. This weekend came news that the Justice Department conducted an invasive investigation into the daily activities of Fox News reporter James Rosen, to the point where the Department judged him a “conspirator” in violating the laws against leaking classified information. Does anyone recall a similar pursuit of New York Times and Washington Post reporters during the Bush years? No? I didn’t think so. Both outlets published extremely sensitive classified information that harmed our national security during the Bush years, and in the last five years both papers have published sensitive information on the operation of the drone programs and the bin Laden killing.

To an outside observer, it appears that the Obama Justice Department has selected for investigation the media outlets whose editorial views are most hostile to its political leaders while giving a pass to friendly organizations that might have published leaks that benefit the White House.

The second theme is the lack of adult supervision over the most important functions of the U.S. government. I am sure that, in all of these cases, there were career prosecutors who would like to have pursued the media. It is the job of the political appointees in any administration to stop cases that — while they might fall within the letter of the law — make terrible sense in terms of the use of the executive branch’s resources or of broader values that might not occur to career civil servants. 

The fact that the political leadership of the Obama Justice Department must have signed off on this investigation shows how mediocre the appointees in the Department have become. On the other hand, if the Obama folks blame it all on the career prosecutors, it shows that their appointees cannot even do their job of managing the department. The fact that this negligence has occurred in one of the executive branch’s most important, unique functions — investigating and prosecuting crime — only raises deeper doubts that this administration cannot manage the government competently.

In the Bush administration, there were some who wanted to pursue the media over classified leaking. I, for one, thought that these proposals were ill-conceived and raised problems under the First Amendment’s protection for a free press. I don’t believe that the Bush Justice Department — allegedly so hostile to civil liberties — undertook any of them. The only example I can think of was the independent counsel investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity to the press, which only went to show how bad an idea most independent counsel investigations are. Only the Obama administration has authorized tailing reporters, monitoring their phone calls and emails, and surveilling their sources. 

Add up all the recent scandals and the message is clear: the Obama Administration is showing that it cannot be trusted with the basic functions of government — law enforcement (surveillance of reporters), taxation (IRS scandals), and national security (Benghazi).

  1. DocJay

    Bryan Stephens, this may blow over because of a corrupt commie media, a complicit democrat crowd, and an inept GOP. There are consequences for everything however.

  2. DocJay

    John Yoo, don’t sugarcoat this with an underling possibility. This is Holder. He is an evil man and it’s long overdue for him to suffer legally for his sins. He is a disgrace.

  3. Bryan G. Stephens
    DocJay: Bryan Stephens, this may blow over because of a corrupt commie media, a complicit democrat crowd, and an inept GOP. There are consequences for everything however. · 2 minutes ago

    Can you name me one thing that has stuck on him? One thing the criminal organization that is the Obama administration has suffered?

    I just don’t see how there is any path other than an ongoing abuse of power.

  4. Yeah...ok.

    Someone is supervising. Fast & Furious was designed to take all of our guns before we learned what was being done to us.

  5. Severely Ltd.

    No adult supervision.

    I think this expresses it very well. For all of Obama’s fine tailoring and posturing gravitas, I think he sees himself as the radical activist putting it to The Man. Except The Man isn’t the establishment anymore, it’s the Right. 

    And I think his core supporters see the same thing. They have a Trojan horse that outwardly fits all that’s required in a conventional politician, plus the novelty of his being a member of a minority. As Joe said, “…the first sort of main stream African American, who’s articulate and bright and clean.” Except that the shell is filled with immature judgment and ideals that are toxic to the nation.

  6. Devereaux

    “Add up all the recent scandals and the message is clear: the Obama Administration is showing that it cannot be trusted with the basic functions of government — law enforcement (surveillance of reporters), taxation (IRS scandals), and national security (Benghazi).”

    I hope this is not a new revelation to you. I would have thought that such could be said about these clowns way back when – about a year into their sojourn.

  7. Bryan G. Stephens

    None of it matters. It won’t matter. Nothing will come of it. The Media will not report it straight. No damage will be done. Our side will lose.

    We cannot win. The press will lie, and report any lies given to it and the people will listen to the lies. Period.

  8. dittoheadadt
    Bryan G. Stephens: None of it matters. It won’t matter. Nothing will come of it. The Media will not report it straight. No damage will be done. Our side will lose.

    We cannot win. The press will lie, and report any lies given to it and the people will listen to the lies. Period.

    Agreed.

  9. Ray Kujawa

    If the government is too big for this administration to handle, the logical tack would be to reduce it down to a size they can handle.

    I’m thinking the size of Chicago, or maybe better, Newark (sorry Newark, you deserve better).

    The military is really the most essential service the federal government provides. They probably think the military is closer to being right-sized. How about freeze the military and privatize everything else the federal government does? College tuition would probably immediately back off to the rate of inflation. Think of all those jobs that would suddenly be released into the private sector, all those new ideas that would be released into the competitive marketplace.

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