Posted by Curt on 15 May, 2013 at 9:13 pm. 1 comment.


Carol Platt Liebau @ Townhall:

During the Clinton scandals of the ’90’s, I learned about a whole new model of promoting corruption — through example and indirection.  Most dramatically, I remember realizing that Bill Clinton had, indeed, urged those who worked under him to lie . . . just not explicitly.  In other words, he had never said to Betty Currie or anyone else, “Please lie.” But it was clear that it’s what he wanted — and needed — them to do.

Somewhat less directly, it strikes me that the abuses committed by the IRS are pieces of the same set of cloth.  Most everyone working under a leader has a pretty good idea of the kinds of actions that are permitted, welcomed, tolerated or encouraged — if not explicitly, through a wink and a smile and non-discouragement.  To put it in terms that the perpetually-aggrieved on the left can understand, it’s like a boss tolerating a hostile workplace, not by actively harassing women himself, but by condoning that behavior by other employees, turning a blind eye to it, and subtly communicating through his own words and actions that all the EEOC signs and the rest aren’t really to be taken seriously.

President Obama has pretty much treated the truth — and in some sense the Constitution — a little bit like that boss with the EEOC signs.  It’s all there for show.  But clearly, through “jokes” and winks and nods and tolerating hitherto out-of-bounds behavior committed on his behalf, he signalled to potential partisan freelancers that little was really beyond the pale.

Last year, Kim Strassel wrote about thecase of Romney donor Frank VanderSloot, who was the recipient of a fiercely intrusive audit after he became a Romney contributor:

Did Mr. Obama pick up the phone and order the screws put to Mr. VanderSloot? Or—more likely—did a pro-Obama appointee or political hire or career staffer see that the boss had an issue with this donor, and decide to do the president an unasked-for election favor? Or did he or she simply think this was a duty, given that the president had declared Mr. VanderSloot and fellow donors “less than reputable”?

Around the same time, The New Times reported on Obama targeting the Koch brothers personally in a new ad.  About a month later, as ABC News reported,

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