Los Angeles Times columnists have produced several delusional doozies in the past few days.
One of the more hysterical came from Doyle McManus on Sunday ("The president's hump year; The sixth year is often tough, but Obama could triumph"). While acknowledging that "The public's initial romance with the president has faded" and that "events are in charge now," he backhandedly described Obama's presidency thus far as scandal-free. Really (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall):
The sixth year of a two-term presidency is rarely kind.
The public's initial romance with the president has faded. The brief momentum he thought he earned by winning reelection has faded too. The White House doesn't set the agenda any more; events are in charge now.
For many presidents — Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton — this was the point when the scandals took over. President Obama has run into his share of controversies, but none that quite reached scandalhood. (Does anyone even remember the IRS flap?) But the calamitous launch of Obama's healthcare plan has had the same confidence-sapping effect.
According to Keith Koffler at White House Dossier, the Obama adminstration was at "Two Dozen Scandals and Counting" in August, including but obviously not limited to the following:
- IRS targets Obama’s enemies
- Benghazi (which Koffler correctly describes as "three scandals in one")
- Watching (i.e., spying on) the Associated Press
- The Justice Department's suggestion that Fox News reporter James Rosen is a criminal to justify monitoring his every action
- The ATF “Fast and Furious” scheme
There isn't any reasonable debate as to whether these items fit the textbook definition of a scandal ("a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc."). They obviously do.
Koffler's list pre-dates Obamacare's rollout. Now we have a scandalous billion-dollar non-working web site and scandalously revelations that the President's five years of unconditional guarantees ("if you like your insurance plan, doctor, medical provider, and regimen, you can keep them") were a pack of lies.
Koffler's list of two dozen pre-Obamacare scandals is also quite selective. Dan from Squirrel Hill is up to "504 examples of ... lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, etc.," some of which surely rise to the level of "scandalhood" (which, by the way, is not a recognized word).
There isn't a chance in Hades that Doyle McManus would describe a list only 10% as long as the above as failing to contain any scandals.
McManus's smart-aleck "Does anyone even remember the IRS flap" insults his readership's intelligence and is deeply offensive. Over at TaxProf blog, Paul Caron is up to 243 daily IRS scandal-related posts with links to thousands of stories. "IRS Admits to Targeting Conservative Groups in 2012 Election" has obviously been a scandal since Day 1.
With "analysis" like this, my immediate thought was, "Why should I read on?" So I didn't. Surely other Times readers shared that sentiment. Those who are subscribers might well have asked, "Why am I paying for this?"
The Times has seen a print subscribership decline of 45% since 2006, and Internet-based revenues have done little to stop the bleeding. Work such as that produced by McManus surely is an element of that decline.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.