David Axelrod was once Barack Obama’s closest chief political adviser. He now comments for MSNBC, where he trotted out the latest defense of President Obama, who is being buffeted by three unfolding scandals: misleading the public in the aftermath of the lethal assault on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, the seizure of phone records of Associated Press reporters, and the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS.
On the latter, the Axelrod defense goes like this: “There’s so much underneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast.”
Now isn’t that convenient.
Mr. Axelrod has suddenly discovered the problems associated with a federal government that is so vast that the president cannot possibility be held accountable for what goes wrong underneath him. Barack Obama is president of the United States; he simply shouldn’t be held accountable by the misdeeds of the government of the United States. Funny, I don’t recall Mr. Axelrod making this same argument during the Bush years.
In any event, one of the political effects of these scandals is that Republicans, who until now have been sullen in the aftermath of the 2012 election, will be re-energized. I say that because these scandals go some distance toward confirming some of their worst suspicions about the president and the threat posed by the Nanny State.
To put it another way: If Republicans were animated by the policy overreach of Obama/Big Government in 2010, in the form of the stimulus package and the Affordable Care Act, they may well be energized by the abuse of power by Obama/Big Government in 2014.
Now the 2014 elections are still a long way off, and the full ramifications of these scandals are impossible to know at this stage. But one thing that is being vindicated is the concern conservatives have about the vast size, scope and reach of the federal government. Even David Axelrod is now acknowledging it.
Can a subscription to COMMENTARY be far behind?