May 14, 2013

Why the sudden spate of scandals?

Not only do we need to understand the various scandals individually, we need to understand the phenomenon of the sudden outbreak of multiple scandals. I'm calling this phenomenon of clustering Scandalgate and demanding an explanation for it.

Why are we hearing about so many scandals all of a sudden? free polls 


traditionalguy said...

I blame the Shamans and the astrologers. They are furious since the Global Warming CO2 witchcraft trick crashed and burned.

The Day of Augustus Obama is over.

Dante said...

The election is over, and the press is creating cover for the charge they are not merely biased, but incredibly biased.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The press finally faced up to its self-interest in looking professional and not Obamaphilic.

I think the term you were looking for was Obamafellatic.

darrenoia said...

When it comes to the press, we may be seeing a kind of "one man with courage makes a majority" type of situation. The Obama halo has relied on the press closing ranks and making sure there's nothing to see here. Once one reporter from a mainstream source breaks the silence (and now that their hero no longer has to worry about being elected again), perhaps it becomes more necessary to do their job?

Synova said...

I think that reporters would have started to be harder on the administration anyhow (to prove their professionalism now that Obama has been safely reelected) but the truth is that the Obama administration has treated reporters badly from the start, taking their sycophantic relationship for granted.

And then there is this:

"The Newspaper Association of America said the department's "wholesale seizure of confidential telephone records" amounted to "unprecedented" actions that "shock the American conscience and violate the critical freedom of the press protected by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights."

Read more:

The idea that Hillary is throwing Obama under the bus to take the heat off of her is interesting, but I think that it does rub off on her too since the Republicans can run against Obama next time just like Democrats have run against Bush in the last two presidential elections.

edutcher said...

Went with 2, but 5 has begun to take over.

In the CBI (China-Burma-India) Theater in WWII, American medics would tag men down with dysentery, malaria, typhus, battle fatigue, and exhaustion as AOE - Accumulation Of Everything (BTW, today is the 69th anniversary of Merrill's Marauders' attack on Myitkyina, the big Japanese airbase in northern Burma).

That's what this is - call it critical mass, AOE, chickens (my fave these days) whatever you want.

darrenoia said...

When it comes to the press, we may be seeing a kind of "one man with courage makes a majority" type of situation

That man's name is Sharyl Atkisson.

Colonel Angus said...

I'm not sure the Clintons are pulling strings. Despite her retiring as SoS, Hillary will still be seen as an integral part of this Administration. Which is ironic since the only notable part of her tenure their is being the face of Benghazi.

mrkwong said...

I think there's a little of all of the above, much of it having to do with press management.

Benghazi has the potential to render Hillary unelectable, and when push comes to shove 'the king is dead, long live the king' - they'll line up to support the heir apparent.

The administration will survive all this - the Clinton mess left a nasty, salty taste in everyone's mouth regarding the whole idea of impeachment - but they want to give the press a chance to be pouty for a little while before they put their kneepads back on in time for the midterms.

TosaGuy said...

The "rolling out" the scandals to ride of them out theme strikes me as requiring entirely too much organization and coordination to pull off.

The easiest answer is that they got sloppy and arrogant and the stories are much easier to follow with concepts that regular folks understand.

Few understand Fast and Furious or Solyndra and don't care about Benghazi. However, everyone knows that IRS abuse is bad and tracking phone calls of the press is bad.

The key for the GOP is to get heads to roll or talented administration people to get fed up and leave -- leaving only the talentless hacks that will keep digging the hole to the point that folks are plenty sick of Obama and his ilk.

Synova said...

"I think the term you were looking for was Obamafellatic."


Methadras said...

This is on Urkel. He is not at helm of office, he is busy campaigning. The proverbial buck is being spent and now you see why his corruption is becoming a larger taint and stain on the republic. He does not care because he is above it all. If you didn't know any better, you can see the irritation, not from the scandals themselves, but rather the fact that he is being bothered by them and is being dragged, kicking and screaming to address them. If you could see the activity at the WH, you would be seeing capped chaos, the frenetic black cloud of doom hanging over all of their heads. How long will the true belief that their little black jesus is really an incompetent buffoon that they've invested their energy into and is really nothing more than a scam artist that fooled them, but will keep up the charade because they are in so deep now?

What a pathetic piece of history this moron has made of this country, her treasure, her credibility, her perceptions. He's weak, he's cowardly, he's a gamma male pretending that he's barely a beta male. This is what leading from behind looks like. You get to see your true believers run off the cliff in front of you. Jim Jones would be proud.

Achilles said...

Or we are past the point where a majority of voters legal or non-existent care about this kind of malfeasance and just want their obamabucks to keep rolling in from the government. There is not one leftist constituency that has the countries best interest in mind.

James said...

The White House must have the most clueless, incompetent advisers; apparently they only learn of events from press reports.

Here's President Obama's comment yesterday on the IRS scandal:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me take the IRS situation first. I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday. And this is pretty straightforward.

If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that had been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous and there's no place for it. And they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity, and people have to have confidence that they're applying it in a non-partisan way -- applying the laws in a non-partisan way.

And now, Jay Carney yesterday commenting on the AP scandal:

"Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP. We are not involved in decisions made in connection with criminal investigations, as those matters are handled independently by the Justice Department. Any questions about an ongoing criminal investigation should be directed to the Department of Justice."

The other possibility is that Obama and Carney are two of the most unconvincing liars.

Nathan Alexander said...

I don't think self-awareness or change in tactics of the press has anything to do with it.

I think that:
1) The Obama administration did attempt to use all their guns at once: Fast and Furious, illegal voting practices, stimulus, payouts to cronies, politicizing the Justice department, signing statements, executive orders to sidestep Congress, permanent campaigning, punishing of conservative groups and goals, support to unions, etc.
They did this because they depended on media worship.
They did this because they wanted to use Obama's messiah-like properties to fundamentally remake the US to retain power permanently. They did it all at once because they didn't know if they were going to get a second term or not.
Running the country well was NEVER the goal.

Part of the intent was to throw so many things out there that opposition could never coalesce on a single issue, so opponents would appear to be nuts and conspiracy theorists.

...or never gain traction because they would seem like the old blind men arguing about what an elephant is, and contradicting and obstructing each other. Keep the opposition splintered.

So it is all coming out now because people have just had enough. Things are gaining traction now. There are too many things for the Obama Administration to keep track of in order to coordinate the press handling.

And there are enough alternate means of information dissemination that the information is getting out anyway, despite the deployment of information/opinion-suppressing trolls like Ritmo, harrogate, phx, Inga, garage mahal, et al.

I'm still not sure which are paid operatives, which are volunteer operatives, and which are just true believers. None of the options reflect well on them.

campy said...

I vote "shut up, racists."

Sayyid said...

Why the sudden rush? Because he wiretapped the AP. He finally crossed the line when he came after them, personally.

Marshal said...

How about "Almost one of the above"? That almost being the Ddministration chose to limit the damage...

It wasn't the number of scandals that broke the dam but uncontrollable timing due to outside hearings (Benghazi) and reports (IRS). The administration threw on the others (healthcare and media spying) stories to limit the damage. Now they only have to discredit one and the media will claim all are "dealt with".

Healthcare seems the least sourced to me. So that's where I'd be the most careful not to overreach.

dreams said...

"The press finally faced up to its self-interest in looking professional and not Obamaphilic."

That won't happen until maybe we have a terrorist attack that kills millions of people.

AJ Lynch said...

Incompetence catches up to Obama.

dreams said...

The liberal media will not get serious about doing their jobs until something really bad happens.

Eric said...

Ugh. You turned this into a "gate"? So disappointing Althouse. I mostly come here for the language.

Deirdre Mundy said...

The press made Obama who he is. They put up with the abusive relationship, but the AP thing was a bridge to far, and now they're going to make him pay for not appreciating them.

Drago said...


MikeDC said...

Precedent. If it becomes completely acceptable to let the party in power use the power of government to monitor the press and openly harass political opponents, the other party will do it too.

If this becomes acceptable, it'll be very dangerous to pretty much every politician and journalist.

Henry said...

Personally, I think chance is the main culprit. One long-simmering scandal continues to burp up gas while a new, bigger scandal breaks (our third scandal is a boilerplate affair that will get compartmentalized post-haste).

The timing that makes a spate is chance. The real question is whether or not the media is functioning any differently than they did for Benghazi, round one, or Fast and Furious.

Maybe they are, it's hard to tell.

If they are, it's out of boredom. The election is over. Public policy is a dreary mess. The battles to be fought there are tedious arguments over decimal points.

Journalists are bored right now.

Boredom is a powerful motivator.

traditionalguy said...

From a journalist's personal point of view despising the GOP, Texas cowboys and Alaskan red necks is a valiant and fun game they cannot lose playing.

But the chill wind blowing today is a realization that Obama used them and despises them too. They are not Muslims. And they are not Israel murderers.

The Main Stream Media is suddenly in need of a new port in a storm and see few viable it Hillary it John Kerry again... is it Michael Bloomberg???

Unknown said...

Remember when the memo came out that some political staffer had sent on 9/11/01 saying that today would be a good day to dump information that we don't want to get too much attention?

After the first scandal hit, a whole lot of bureaucrats and political aids were thinking exactly that. Plus this is an odd numbered year so there is plenty of time until the next election for this to all be forgotten.

You see, the press really are even handed. They report Democrat scandals in odd numbered years and Republican scandals in even numbered years.

AllenS said...

This administration decided to quit farming and become hunter/gatherers.

buwaya said...

It is certainly not too complex to coordinate.
This is all a matter of campaign messaging run by a central committee, and we know the administration has resources in this area.
And the risk is low because of well-known linkages to facilitate collusion with all the major media - because of links within the administration on the part of all the major media owners.
This all will be a two-weeks wonder and then the silence will again fall.
Most of this was actively suppressed by these people for a year or more. The information was there in 2012 on the wiretaps, on the IRS, on Benghazi, on Pigford, for the asking. They knew, and they know now what they will do about it.

Inga said...

"If they are, it's out of boredom. The election is over. Public policy is a dreary mess. The battles to be fought there are tedious arguments over decimal points.

Journalists are bored right now.

Boredom is a powerful motivator."

5/14/13, 12:04 PM

Exactly what I was thinking.

edutcher said...

Keep something else in mind. A lot of people working for the government (think CIA as an example) have some axes to grind against Barry. Now that Col Barnsby and Major Mallory have blown a crack in the dam, all the leaks are breaking loose.

Lem said...

The answer is all

I Callahan said...

Boy, talk about your weapons grade stupid:

Stop Holding Democrats to a Higher Standard

Lem said...

Its a universe of scandall.

caplight45 said...

They got cocky thinking that the BSM would continue to cover for them. Not sure when AP learned about the DOJ fishing expedition but it could have set off a preference cascade. If the BSM all of a sudden become Cheryl Atkinsons and Jake Tappers the cascade could build serious momentum.
When you have MoDo and Joe Klein calling them out it is not a good day for them.
I would also add that Democrat senators and congress critters see an opportunity to regain some of their power that has been usurped by the Exec Branch.

AprilApple said...

Do the scandals matter? The pro-democrat hack journalists who run the major networks all work for the Obama administration.

buwaya said...

This is genuine and uncoordinated reporting, I think - more suspicions of IRS as a compliance tool. I would not be surprised to hear that there was an organized campaign, there is just too much smoke.

But it will end here.

X said...

the IRS thing isn't an exposed scandal. it's a warning shot.

Lem said...

Im scandall obese.

carrie said...

I'm guessing that the networks and newspapers also realized that they were losing viewers to Fox and to alternate media where the stories were being reported.

carrie said...

I'm guessing that the networks and newspapers also realized that they were losing viewers to Fox and to alternate media where the stories were being reported.

jim said...

May is one of the Nielson sweeps periods.

Not all scandals are created equal.

Benghazi was a foreign event & culturally trivial; the AP story is domestic & a real cultural bombshell.

Holder should be fired if he will not resign, & if it can be proven that this action originated from Obama the same choice applies.

Some might argue it to be noteworthy that when Obama signed off on BP generously soaking the Gulf with the proprietary agent Corexit there was not even a whisper of impeachment from the usual suspects, even though there may be no greater (or in the long run, deadlier) violation of his oath of office that Obama commits.

RonF said...

Clinton opposed Obama. They have to back off Obama so as to be freer to gin up support for Hillary.

In other words, it's too hard to kiss two asses at once, so they're letting Obama go now.

elkh1 said...

The MSM try to regain some credibility for the 2014 push for their candidates. The Dem politicians try to fortify themselves for re-election.

The scandals are boiling over the MSM's covers anyway, and will do limited damages to Obama. They will be old news when the 2014 election comes around.

The MSM will "exonerate" Hillary for her "What difference does it make" and "the filmmaker did it" Benghazi scandal, and crown her the best hope to rescue the dysfunctional Republic from the Congressional Republicans in 2016. Anyone dares to bring up Benghazi will be vilified as a bitter clinger who refuses to go FORWARD.

RonF said...

Clinton opposed Obama. They have to back off Obama so as to be freer to gin up support for Hillary.

In other words, it's too hard to kiss two asses at once, so they're letting Obama go now.

n.n said...

There are two possibilities which come to mind:

1. The AP strikes back. Remember Woodward?
2. The People strike back. The journalists, pollsters, and other gate-keepers, misrepresented the will of the People.

Tarzan said...

Leftist administration threatens conservative Americans - No Problem, no reporting.

Leftist administration hurts AP - Big Problem! Reporting!

HA said...

The scandals sure are coming fast and furious!

Strelnikov said...

My "none" vote reasoning: Obama has been safely re-elected and can't run again.

Steve Koch said...

Super obvious: Obama has been reelected and now the fascist media which has spent the last 5 years propagandizing for Obama no longer need to worry about getting him elected. Now they will try to regain credibility by trying to act like journalists.

Scott M said...

The administration chose to break multiple stories at once to limit the damage.

I'm not sure if Occam's Razor agrees with me, as my selection would require orchestrated fact I'm pretty sure it doesn't, but this one strikes me as most true. I think they are prepping the battlespace.

Hagar said...

Obama has been reelected, and one may safely do at least a little pretend unbiased reporting again.

Though if it keeps building, and if this thin-skinned White House lashes out and hurts their feelings, the administration may need to get that old Time, Temperature, and Scandal of the Week sign out of storage.

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

1) Journalists love them some liberals

2) Journalists love the smell of blood in the water

3) Journalists hate the smell of their own blood in the water

As a great man once said, "Punch back twice as hard."

We elected a Chicago machine politician, expecting that there are not scandals pretty much on a continuous basis is wishful thinking.

The press has typically tried to hide them as best they can, but when tactics they tacitly approved of when used against their ideological opponents got used against them, well *that's* different.

They can't lead with the AP phone records because that would make them look self-serving. So they start with Benghazi, and then the IRS falls into their lap.

And since they don't have an election to worry about, now it's a feeding frenzy. Anything and everything is fair game.

Leland said...

There's roughly 8 quarters (3 month cycles) between Federal elections, and 16 between Presidential elections. If you want a scandal to be old news by the last quarter, when people start paying attention to the candidates, then you best break the bad news in 1st or 2nd quarter. That provides the greatest amount of time for people to forget. And less we forget, the administration has already trotted out the "its old news" argument for these scandals.

exhelodrvr1 said...

The question should be "Why are these scandals not being ignored, when the scandals from the first four years were?"

Quaestor said...

Althouse coins Scandalgate which I take to mean the clustering of scandals* suggests a conspiracy(?) to do what... take down Lord Zero? -- distract the public from worse corruption? -- decapitate Hillary so Biden can waltz to the nomination?

I hereby decree a neologism of my own. It's Nixamian (adj) Of or relating to skulduggery beyond the ethical bounds of any American political figure except Richard Milhous Nixon or Barack Hussein Obama.

*I count six so far:
(1) Fast and Furious, call it Gungate
(2) Extra-legal killing of American citizens abroad, call it Dronegate
(3) Benghazi, call it Terrorgate
(4) Targeted audits and harassment of conservatives by the IRS, call it Auditgate
(5) Kathleen Sibelius shaking down insurers for Obamacare operating capital, call it Blackmailgate
(6) AP Phonegate

Brennan said...

The IRS story is interesting to me since I've known about it since 2010. At that time the amount of information the IRS was requesting sounded like data analytics gathering rather than a request to verify an application for non for profit status. Since many hospitals and foundations are organized the same way as the tea party groups, I was starting to wonder if an entire hospital system would have to disclose to the IRS the familial relationships with everyone that works for them and is counted as a member.

It turns out though that someone in the IRS just has to apologize for this to become a national story.

Michael K said...

The election is over and the cover up lasted just long enough.

After all this time, what difference does it make ?

Unknown said...

There are enough scandals in this administration to fuel a cluster of exposures. Possibly many such clusters.

I suspect it's just random chance. Just flipping a coin 1,000 times will turn up three heads in a row.

cubanbob said...

It's a long game CYA. The press and a number of democrats know they can lose big in the next two elections.
They also know if Obama survives this intact., if this type of behavior becomes 'normalized' the next republican president can and probably will go after the left like its never been gone after before using the same tactics. They are now in deep preservation mode. It's fear driven virtue on the part of the press and the elements of the left now.

Zach said...

Standard second term blues:

1) Obama's not the future anymore: he can never run again.

1a) Obama will never have another round of presidential appointments

1b) Because of the above, ambitious operatives will no longer fall on their swords for him.

2) New brooms sweep clean: as the first term appointees leave office, the new guys don't want to spend their appointments fighting losing battles.

3) Scandals that affect Obama no longer affect Democratic chances: arguably, this is the least damaging time for them to appear.

4) The natural time for scandals arising in the 2010-2012 election cycle is early 2013, before people's attention gets focused on the 2014 elections.

5) Obama's second term agenda is dead in the water, so secondary issues get more media attention.

BobDD said...

I think it is all of your options with "sheer force" as tipping point.

I also see the administration as having been lulled (not excusing their behavior) by the media into believing they can get by with anything and that is why they have unintentionally escalated into such outrageously bold flagrancies. They seem to honestly not understand why the outrage.

creeley23 said...

It seems clear that the IRS scandal was partly cover for Benghazi. Surely no one believes it was an innocent slip.

The IRS disclosure was pre-emptive but it didn't have to happen last week and it didn't have to happen on typical Friday dump-and-run media cycling.

As to the rest -- no, it's not a clever plan.

Despite continued denials of their importance, the Benghazi whistleblowers blew a big hole in the Good Ship Obama, and the ship is in trouble.

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied

-- Leonard Cohen

Quaestor said...

Maybe the infamous MSM, populated as it is with fools and poltroons, have seen the light. They can see that come 2016 there's a better than even chance of a Republican-dominated government coming to power. Just as cubanbob has noted, perhaps their afraid the precedents set by this administration will come home to roost chicken-wise.

As someone who by his own words contemptuous of American exceptionalism Mr. Obama has been busy transforming this republic into a state very unexceptional for Central America or Africa. What goes around comes around, it is said, and the tactics Obama uses on his enemies can be used by future presidents on their enemies. The MSM were content to smile and wink at the criminality until this fact dawned on them.

I predict the next big controversy will be those so-called targeted killings Mr. Obama ordered. There are several lawsuits abroil that should come to trial soon. Win or loose Obama and his policies are going to take a hiding.

Quaestor said...

Oh shit! I committed the horrendous their for they're faux pas!

Forgive, please.

Ambrose said...

Administration released details on IRS and AP to deflect attention from Benghazi.

Quaestor said...

Now lest anyone get me wrong any jihadi cocksucker who ends up on the business end of a Hellfire will be unmourned by me. However, what troubles me is the brazen disregard of due process exhibited by this administration. If Anwar al-Awlaki was a terrorist, which he undoubtedly was, then he should have been indicted. Then Congress should have authorized the Pentagon under Posse Comitatus to serve an arrest warrant upon him. Being guarded by armed and dangerous thugs the Special Ops force tasked should have been authorized to use deadly force at the least provocation. (Something along the lines of "Come out with your hands up, Mugsy, We've got the joint surrounded!") I'd have been much happier seeing Awlaki prep-walked before a judge, tried, sentenced and then thrown in a super-max 7x11 'til he rotted.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

When journalists fight dishonesty and hypocrisy, that's the sort of thing that can have appeal to girls, because girls are very much displeased with dishonesty. Yeah, mayyybeee appealing to young females could often be less good than appealing to one older wife, say, but that doesn't mean that it's not good to be the sort of person who, when he is appealing to girls, spreads his appeal quite broadly. A girl, being flower-like, wants to select in honest males for male ancestral qualities that appealed to girls. But even more will this be the case if the honest male (presumably like unto his girl-appealing ancestors) spreads his appeal to girls in such a broad manner that, if he is successful in appealing to one girl, it's an unusually great possibility that he has appealed to many from the consideration that he has been liberally unfocused in his girl associations. Also, if a male does want to appeal to many girls, then if his appeal is of the right sort, he definitely will want to appeal to them at the same time, so he can enjoy they all at once rather than separately, yes. Anyway, it's good to be broad and unfocused in the stuff that one does which may well especially appeal to girls, and, at least in an ideal world, it is better not to do that sort of thing too spaced out over the year, but just every so often, after one has accumulated enough attractive ideas and plans to have been put in mood. One has to periodically climb up the mountain before one can enjoy the scenery and encounters that occur when scrambling down. Springtime, with its flowers, seems as appropriate a time as any for a scrambling-down-the-mountain season. Anyway, since the current endeavors of the press are the sort of thing that especially (for journalists) could be expected to especially attract honesty-loving girls, it's no wonder they are being broad in their endeavors and that the endeavors are displaying all at once.

Lydia said...

Synova said...
The idea that Hillary is throwing Obama under the bus to take the heat off of her is interesting, but I think that it does rub off on her too since the Republicans can run against Obama next time just like Democrats have run against Bush in the last two presidential elections.

Or maybe she figures she's history now because of Benghazi, and so doesn't give a flying fig about what happens to the Dems from here on out.

dreams said...

I predict that it won't be long before the liberal media begins to do some soul searching as they did with the Clinton scandals and decide that they have been too hard on Obama and will once again revert to their historical role of aiding and abetting crooked Dem administrations.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...


Aren't competing interests great for stemming the worst excesses of corruption? Whether it is political, economic, or social pressure, people must know that they will never enjoy a full dissociation of risk. Liberty is only suitable for men and women capable of self-moderating, responsible behavior. For others, there must be a firm check of their ambitions.

That said, we need less Democrats and Republicans in government. We need more Americans as defined by the principles recorded in our national charter, The Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution. Those two documents provide good, if not perhaps sufficient, guidance to preserve a moral and functional society. That is a society which respects individual dignity, values human life, and exhibits behaviors which are compatible with the fitness requirements of the natural order.

Jack Wayne said...

Dear Ann, None of the Above. Obama was born to prove the Peter Principle and he's done it. If you look at everything he's done in 4 years, his foot has been on his dick dozens of times. With no end in sight.

Sam L. said...

The first three are FALSE.

Jack Wayne said...

Dear Ann, None of the Above. Obama was born to prove the Peter Principle and he's done it. If you look at everything he's done in 4 years, his foot has been on his dick dozens of times. With no end in sight.