President Obama may be in some trouble. For months, the conservative press, led by Fox News, has been hammering at him over Benghazi. This scandal hasn't really gone anywhere, even though it now seems clear that the administration knew that the attacks were motivated by terrorism. Despite, or rather, because of this unfortunate element, the administration simply lied, pinning the blame on the creator of a YouTube video that was--let's go with critical of Islam.
There are two odd elements to the Benghazi affair. First, it should have been clear immediately that an attack which took place on 9/11 just might have some connection with terrorism. Second, who on earth expects their government to tell them the truth? Conservatives should know better.
This is all very cynical of me, but this is probably the right attitude to take towards leviathan at this stage of the republic. Liberals ought to be more concerned with the propensity of their rulers to lie, since they inexplicably put faith in the government. But since politics is little more team sport, well, this is what we get.
Conservatives will point out that if Benghazi was a story prior to the election, it would have hurt the President. Perhaps, but so what? Republicans lost because they appointed a crony capitalist to crow about tax cuts. Romney's inability to appeal to the base had nothing to do with the President.
Anyway, the Obama has now been embroiled in a much more significant scandal. The broad strokes: the IRS was targeting tea party types, treating them much more harshly than progressive groups. And, someone--we don't yet know who--knew about this prior to the election.
This scandal seems much more serious since: 1) everyone hates the IRS; and 2) this is banana republic type stuff. When the government is interpreting the law in a political manner, that's as illegal as it is unethical.
Now, from the perspective of a cynical libertarian, this is reasonable shorthand for how the government works. For instance, see the story about Congress building tanks that the army insists it does not want. Congress isn't about to eliminate any jobs, even if those jobs represent a total waste of resources.
Conservatives like to claim that government shouldn't pick winners and loser, which is true, but it's still what they do every time they award a contract. This targeting of political groups is much more pernicious, though, because it's not necessary. If it turns out that the Obama administration knew about this, things could get very interesting.
Also on the scandal front, the Justice Department sought and obtained phone records of journalists. Given the extent to which the press has carried the president's water, there's a humorous element to this. Still, if the press turns--and this makes it more likely that they will--things will start to go very badly for Obama,
If Congress can kill off Comprehensive Immigration Reform, it looks like lame duck Obama will spend the rest of his term trying to avoid any association with scandals. This will be both amusing and good for the republic. The best we can hope for at this point is to prevent Congress from passing any idiotic bills. This might do the trick nicely.