Last week was one of the worst for Obama in his presidency. This week looks no better. Indeed, it may be a long, hot summer for the White House. As Jonathan has pointed out, the IRS scandal is growing bigger, seemingly by the minute. The Benghazi scandal is continuing to percolate.
Now, the brand-new AP scandal has erupted. This one, because the victims are newsmen, is likely to have a powerful effect on the mainstream media. If the Justice Department has been going after the phone records of AP reporters, what other reporters are having their privacy violated? Even the New York Times, which thought page 11 was just fine for the IRS scandal, put this one on page 1, above the fold. The White House is “dodging and weaving” today according to the Times.
But wait, there’s more, as the TV commercials have it.
The Washington Post is reporting that Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is comparing Kathleen Sebelius’s attempt to raise money from private organizations to help implement ObamaCare to Iran-Contra. Alexander says,
This is arguably an even bigger issue because, in Iran-Contra, you had $30 million that was spent by Oliver North through private organizations for a purpose congress refused to authorize, in support of the rebels. Here, you’re wanting to spend millions more in support of private organizations to do something that Congress has refused.
And now the Washington Examiner is reporting that the EPA routinely waives the fees for FOIA requests made by liberal organizations and media outlets, but does not for those from conservative ones.
Let’s consider a few things here.
One is that separate scandals, such as IRS and Benghazi, tend to have synergistic effects on each other even though they are dissimilar. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Another is that scandals such as the IRS and EPA that are similar inevitably produce a hunt for an overall pattern. Where else has the federal government under Obama been stiffing conservatives and giving liberals a pass?
A third is that reports of abuse produce more and more reports of abuse, as people and organizations realize that what happened to them was part of a pattern. John Podhoretz’s tale of COMMENTARY magazine’s woe at the hands of the IRS is very unlikely to be the only one to come out.
Finally, as the separate scandals begin to grow and, worse for Obama, begin to coalesce, even a media that has been an army of water-carriers for the Obama administration up until now will, despite themselves, smell the blood in the water and their instincts as journalists will kick in. Off they will go on the hunt for scoops. Undoubtedly they will find them.
When and if that happens, the scandals will have reached critical mass and the Obama presidency will be in mortal danger. The beating up of Jay Carney at the White House daily news briefing last Friday by the media generally was not a good sign.
If Obama loses the media, what does he have left? A record of accomplishment at home and abroad? Not exactly.