For the past ten days, I have been deeply involved in preparing a series of volumes of my collected papers for e-publication, while also taking care of an endless series of chores attendant upon getting ready for a six week trip to Paris. But it has been impossible to ignore the appalling incompetence of the Obama White House response to the series of flaps and genuine scandals that have broken over its walls like a tsunami. The Benghazi matter is no scandal at all, and the attempts by the Republicans to blacken Hillary Clinton's name three and a half years before she obliterates them in the 2016 presidential election will fail. But the political slant of the IRS investigations of 501(c)(4) applications and the sweeping searches of the phone records of AP reporters are genuine scandals, violating the most fundamental constitutional protections. Neither of them is exactly surprising, of course. The Federal Government has been using its power to intimidate, harass, investigate, and prosecute citizens for their legitimate political actions since roughly forever. The only oddity in the current IRS misbehavior is that, uncharacteristically, it has apparently been directed against those on the right rather than against those on the left.
In the face of these matters, the White House, which is to say the president, has been so feckless and ineffective as to be guilty of genuine malpractice. All of this I find utterly incomprehensible. Obama twice ran the best presidential political campaigns of modern times, exhibiting a level of efficiency, intelligence, and ruthless concentration that was truly unprecedented. How the very same man can manage to handle routine political flaps so badly is a mystery to me.