Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Obama's Bush League Week

Democrats who have been wishing for years that their party turn as nastily combative as the GOP are getting a taste of what St. Teresa of Avila meant centuries ago by saying, “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.”

Suddenly the Obama White House is besieged by accusations of IRS targeting Tea Party groups and the Justice Department bugging the Associated Press just as the Benghazi talking points todo starts to lose steam.

The White House is on the defensive in the dirty-pool competition, recalling the scandals of Bush II’s final years--but with difference.

Disheartening as these revelations may be and as complex in the AP matter involving an imminent terror attack on American soil, they serve as reminders that bureaucracies can blunder in the Internet Age and the President has to be accountable for what they do.

But as Boehner et al bluster and call for heads to roll, perspective requires distinguishing between today’s furors about failed White House oversight and the Bush scandals emanating directly from the top: the outing of Valerie Plame by Cheney lapdog Scooter Libby and Karl Rove’s attempt, in concert with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, to fire Bush’s own US Attorneys for not being zealous enough in prosecuting Democrats.

Even so, the new Washington narrative encourages a mindless equivalence between the two eras and undercuts any momentum the President may have been gathering in getting Washington to function at least at a minimum in days dominated by sequester and scandal.

Yet, as the Obama people work to clean up their own messes, there should be some alternative to turning away in disgust and saying, “To hell with them all.”  The differences remain.

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