M/sunny
63°
M/sunny
Hi 88° | Lo 58°

Editorial: It’s up to Obama to fix this mess

Richard Nixon’s second term as president ended in political tragedy because of Watergate. Ronald Reagan’s second term was hamstrung by the Iran-Contra scandal, and Bill Clinton’s was crippled by personal misbehavior that led to impeachment proceedings.

We recite this sad litany not to equate any of these episodes with two disturbing developments this week out of Washington, but to make the point that even the most popular presidents can be undone by second-term scandals of their administration’s own making – and that the responsibility for avoiding such misfortune again rests squarely with President Obama.

The first of these developments broke last weekend, with the disclosure that the IRS had singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny while processing thousands of requests for tax-exempt status under a provision of tax law that is, indeed, prone to abuse for political purposes.

According to the Washington Post, of the 298 groups identified for extra scrutiny, 72 had “tea party” in the name, 13 had “patriot” and 11 had names that referenced conservative commentator Glenn Beck. The Wall Street Journal reports that groups concerned with government spending, debt and taxes were also targeted. Obama promptly called this outrageous, and appropriately so.

But, as is too often the case with Washington misdeeds, the original sin isn’t the only issue. Just hours after Obama condemned the practice, word broke that an IRS commissioner and his interim successor learned of the targeting in 2012 – an election year, if you’ll recall – but didn’t disclose it when Republican congressmen, prompted by targeted groups, asked about the practice.

How serious is this? Serious enough that, on Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a criminal investigation into the matter.

Sadly enough, in the same news conference, Holder was called upon to defend a damaging decision by his own agency, the Justice Department. Charged with investigating a leak that led to an Associated Press news report last year about a counter-terrorism action in Yemen, Holder’s deputy attorney general approved a subpoena seeking four weeks of AP records for 20 telephone lines, including the home or personal cell phone numbers of editors and reporters, as well as several AP office numbers.

Holder said the leaks put Americans at risk. We’re not in a position to judge that, though surely the AP – like any responsible news organization – weighed that concern carefully before deciding that publishing the story was in the public’s interest.

What’s especially concerned is the breadth of the subpoena. In protesting what it called an “unprecedented intrusion” into its news gathering, the AP noted that the Justice Department had taken no steps “to narrow the scope of its subpoena to matters actually relevant to an ongoing investigation.”

We suspect that, given the partisan dimension of the IRS targeting, it’s more likely to cause persistent political trouble for the administration. But what both unfortunately suggest is that the administration will use – and perhaps, misuse – its investigative and regulatory powers to intimidate those who question its policies.

We believe Obama is better than that. Through words and deeds in days to come, he needs to make that clear to those who work for him, and to the nation.

Wait..Did Sarah Palin, HuffPo, Dailykos, and Travis Smiley all just call for Holders resignation???? Obama bringing the country together...lol

another scandal is on the horizon as the ObamaKare people have been sued for seizing 10,000 personal medical files....theonly thing you need to know about Benghazi is that Hillary LIED LIED LIED and that is all she has even been know to do....she is truly sinister

The excuses are begining to look like the kid that tells the teacher his dog ate his homework. I was unaware till I saw it on TV President Obama. I did not have that email come across my desk Hillary Clinton. There is an on going investigation so I cannot answer that questionHolder. Yup, we all just fell of the turnip truck.

Obama stating that he found out about this on the nightly news like the rest of us peons ....Ohhh right! BS detectors across the country exploded.

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.