Barack Obama has been rocked by scandals over Benghazi, the IRS and the DOJ. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.)
Benghazi, the IRS targeting Tea Party groups, the Department of Justice secretly seizing AP phone records: It’s a “trifecta” of scandals, Chuck Todd said. A “perfect storm,” Ron Fournier of National Journal wrote. “Obama’s Watergate?” Larry Kudlow’s CNBC show asked. And indeed Republicans, the mainstream media and all too many liberals have been getting emotionally swept up in the belief that no matter the merit of any one of these “scandals” (some more deserving of scare quotes than others), together they prove the Obama administration to be fatally scandal-prone, if not Nixonian, and predict flat-out second-term doom.
But let’s take a deep breath.
If they hadn’t converged within seven or so days in May, these scandals might have died of their own accord, as Fast and Furious did, as Solyndra did. Remember when the BP oil spill was deemed “Obama’s Hurricane Katrina,” even his “Iran Hostage Crisis”? As presidency-destroying scandals go, the IRS and AP crises rest on only slightly less flimsy ground than Benghazi: The IRS flap involves incompetence and short-term thinking by mid-level officials for whom Obama bears only the whiffiest responsibility. The DOJ investigation of a national security leak to the AP is a gross overreach, but it’s exactly the sort of leak-plugging that Republicans excoriated Obama for not doing aggressively enough.
So why is the media huffing in a paper bag in between speculating on his demise? Alone, each of these stories may have fizzled, but together their gaseous fumes ignite to reach escape velocity and overcome the gravity of facts altogether. Or as Stephen Colbert said, cracking out the champagne to celebrate the “chilling” IRS scandal, “This proves that everything I ever said about Obama is true.”
The triumphalism on the right may always be premature, but this time they do have an apology from the IRS to swing like a club, not to mention the sudden prostration of scandal-intoxicated Dems. “I’m sorry, Bob Woodward,” Mika Brzezinski said Tuesday. She was apologizing for once mocking Woodward for suggesting that a White House aide had threatened him for not towing the Obama line on sequestration. Back then, in February, Mika said, “Is he really afraid of a little aide that said that to him? Really? Are you kidding me?” But just twenty-four hours of trifecta hysteria had Mika convinced that “Maybe he was right.” (He wasn’t.)