KABOOM!! Dana Milbank’s New Record For Flagrantly Dishonest Punditry

Exploding head

I am through with Dana Milbank, and also with anyone who quotes him, relies on him, believes him or—take note, Washington Post—employs him. There must be some level of insulting, dishonest, toadying, intentionally misleading punditry that qualifies as intolerable, and Milbank’s latest column for the Washington Post—syndicated elsewhere so the maximum number of weak minds can be polluted—defined it. I’m not going to reprint a word of it for fear that it will poison the blog, or cause your head to explode like mine just did—but I can describe its thesis. Get this: Milbank decries a “crisis of the week political culture” in Washington, and blames the news media, Republicans and Congress for the shifting attention. I am suppressing a scream as I write this.

There is a “crisis of the week” political culture because the incredibly inept and incompetent President of the United States has mismanaged every conceivable aspect of the government’s policies, domestic and foreign, while maintaining incompetents and political hacks in key positions and sending the message that there will be no accountability for abject failure, and because, despite pledging unprecedented transparency, the standard operating procedure for this group of ideologically doctrinaire and skill-challenged group has been to posture, obfuscate, stall, mislead and lie until various ugly chickens come home to roost, and then to rely on the news media to accept absurd excuses, explanation and blame-shifting theories, chaos has been percolating beneath the surface in dozens of vital areas—oh yes, more bad news is coming—and the full measure of various disasters are finally becoming known.

There is a crisis of the week mentality because a new catastrophe caused by the epic incompetence of this Administration is being uncovered every week, and sometimes every day.

And Dana Milbank blames the political culture, as if it is making this stuff up.

And he expects readers to agree with him.

And a lot of them will.


It boggles the mind to think about this, but it was just a couple of years ago when Democratic hack Paul Begala boasted that the Obama Administration was uniquely scandal free. Of course, Begala, who lies for a living, wasn’t even correct at the time–there was the scandalously increasing debt, Fast and Furious, and Solyndra, the dishonestly-sold stimulus that supposedly had “shovel-ready projects” but mostly shoveled funds to unions, the incompetently managed BP oil spill, the illegal bombing of Libya in violation of an act of Congress, and more. What Begala should have noted instead was that it was amazing what a Democratic President and his appointees can get away with, when most or all of these would have been front page news had a Republican President been in power.

Then it began to unravel, as I predicted it would, along with the myth that this President 1) could be trusted and 2) had a clue how to do his job. There was the “red line” fiasco; the weak response to Syria, the NSA revelations (preceded by NSA lies), the Snowden betrayal (Obama wouldn’t deign to pick up the Red Phone and ask Putin to return him); the military sex scandal, the Secret Service scandal, Benghazi, Susan Rice, the botched ACA website, the revelation that Obama’s promise about being able to keep your plan and doctors was a calculated lie, the I.R.S. scandal—still unfolding, the Veterans Administration scandal, the mishandling of the Bergdahl prisoner exchange, and Rice’s pronouncement of a likely deserter as “a hero,” the President unconstitutionally making unilateral changes in Obamacare without following the Constitution’s black letter process for amending laws, and now thousands of minors and other illegal immigrants streaming across the boarder in response to Administration policies and public statements. Meanwhile, abroad, Putin is taking advantage of Obama’s proven reluctance to even follow through on his own “red lines” by moving on the Ukraine, Iraq was abandoned to Isis and Iran, Iran is still building nuclear weapon capability, and the Mid-East looks like it is ready to explode into a new war involving Israel.

Yes, there is some sad political advantage in flooding the public consciousness with so many scandals and consequences of  bungled leadership that it can’t focus on all of them at once. There is little precedent for dealing with absolute ineptitude—even in the much-maligned Bush administration, the news media had to dig for its scandals, like the still confusing Valerie Plame affair. The blame for the public and media’s “attention deficit disorder” as Milbank—oops, I promised not to quote him…be still, my rumbling head—is not the political culture, nor the media, but the leader responsible and accountable for the barrage of horrible developments, Barack Obama. It defies belief, even from this thoroughly disgraced American journalistic establishment, that anyone would have the gall to make the argument Milbank has. Or that any editor would allow such dishonest offal to be published.

Speaking of scandal whiplash, the one that Obama pronounced as having not a “smidgen” of evidence of corruption has been buried by the crisis at the border. See how nice it is to have so many crises at once? At the Weekly Standard, there is a completely accurate summary of the counter-smigeon evidence, and back at at the Post, Ed Rogers writes…

“At the President’s next encounter with the media, I will scream collusion if no one asks him for his exact definition of a “smidgen,” and if he thinks he has seen a smidgen of corruption yet. At this point, only the most gullible or culpable can continue to claim there is no compelling evidence in this case. Given the delays, lies and stonewalling, there is no viable argument against a special prosecutor. In a stunning revelation this week, it was disclosed that former IRS official Lois Lerner told colleagues, “we need to be cautious about what we say in emails” and then proceeded to ask the IRS IT department, in an e-mail, “if [instant messaging] conversations were also searchable.” When she was told they were not, she e-mailed back, “Perfect.” This is a smoking gun e-mail in that it makes plain she had a cover-up in mind. There is no other plausible explanation…In another disclosure, Lerner’s attorney said that previous emphatic statements he had made declaring that Lerner did not print hard copies of her e-mails were not lies, just a “misunderstanding.” In this case, it is obvious what happened. When Team Lerner discovered that not keeping hard copies of some e-mails – which are considered government records – would in itself violate the law, it changed its story. It’s as simple as that…. the Democrats’ denials, excuses and alibis are getting harder to make. After all, in Washington being guilty is still a bothersome disadvantage.”

Ah, but if you are guilty of so many misdeeds and blunders that the public can’t follow the all at once, you’re in luck.

And it’s everyone else’s fault.


Sources: Weekly Standard, Washington Post1, 2

16 thoughts on “KABOOM!! Dana Milbank’s New Record For Flagrantly Dishonest Punditry

  1. I just can’t read this little bitch’s writing.
    It’s like when you want to watch MSNBC to laugh at their incredible stupidity and you can’t even last two minutes.

  2. Might as well hang it up, Jack, it says something when the administration has such a laundry list of scandals and crises going at once (and you laid it all out quite nicely) that the media couldn’t even cover them all if they wanted to, and they clearly aren’t interested in covering any of them. That said, the rank and file of this nation is getting scandal-weary, and, despite the media’s best attempts to bury everything, I think the weariness is finally going to come home soon just like it did in 1980. The sad part of it is that Carter at least was trying to do what he thought was the right thing, and at least tried to act statesmanlike. Obama was originally just trying to do the popular thing, now he’s just trying to do nothing and I think he may be becoming unhinged.

      • I know, but at times it has to feel like the proverbial voice crying out in the wilderness with no one listening. I for one find it VERY frustrating that black co-workers still think the man walks on water.

        • Well, tell them they are a disgrace to their race and the nation. I mean it. Blind support of an irresponsible leader based on group identification is bad citizenship. They have an obligation to hold leaders to high standards.

          • Eh, I’d say some of these people are a disgrace, plain and simple. The black professional people I might actually engage with, since they might actually listen to criticism of the president. They might still not agree with me, but at least they would listen and try to counter fact with fact and logic with logic. The support people? Forget it. I raise any criticism and I’ll either hear about how they earned it since they got enslaved, lynched, etc. or be told that I’m just jealous and can’t stand the fact that a black man succeeded.

  3. NOBODY, including far-left liberals, expects the news media to actually report the news anymore. In fact, far-left liberals COUNT on it. This is why I struggle past all of the bottle-blondes on Fox to at least try to get some objective reporting.

  4. My own view – for what it’s worth.
    Stipulated, the Obama administration is every bit as bad as you’ve painted it. I don’t think they’re guilty of some of the charges, but they’re certainly guilty of crimes not charged (yet) that are as bad or worse.

    Overall, I think you’re letting them off lightly.

    The problem is that “you don’t talk to the police”, especially when you’re innocent of wrongdoing. They are supposed to be inquisitorial, but instead they’re unremittingly adversarial, and in conjunction with dodgy prosecutors, sometimes don’t bend the rules a bit, acting illegally.

    The atmosphere in DC for the last two administrations (at least) is similar. There is no goodwill,, no honest intent to find actual wrongdoing. Illusory wrongdoing will do just as well.

    This means that everyone becomes hardened to accusations of corruption even of the worst kind. It’s dismissed as just more partisan propaganda. That may have been accurate 20-30 years ago, but now the crimes are all too real. And they’re getting away with them as people just shrug and say “it’s the political culture”.

    My fear is that the next administration, be it R or D, will be worse, and the one after that, be it D or R, worse still. But by then the economy will have devolved into naked feudalism anyway, so maybe the point is moot. Laws are for the little people.

    • And in that you are absolutely right. We have had numerous opportunities to prosecute nefarious Presidents and have carefully avoided doing so. Scary.

  5. Jack,
    One of these days you’ll go back to discussing the ethics of things instead of the things themselves. Statements like “.. because the incredibly inept and incompetent President of the United States has mismanaged every conceivable aspect of the government’s policies ..” isn’t an ethical argument, it’s a political one. A word like “every” doesn’t just suggest, but flat out states that he hasn’t handled any situation with any degree of competence which, frankly, is patently untrue.

    I refuse to jump into the fray as far as which ones were and were not handled well but, as the old adage goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Are you suggesting Obama doesn’t even beat those odds? I find this especially disingenuous considering a number of the “one-act plays” Milbank talks about were things Obama had little direct control over, such as Ukraine (I realize all sorts of arguments can be made for how poorly he dealt with America’s response, but he wasn’t the cause).

    You’ve always had a fairly conservative bent and, given my flirtations with the ideology and tolerance of dissent more generally, have never held that against you. Moreover, despite whatever your political bent, you (mostly) refrain from rooting your ethical arguments in personal philosophy. Likewise, I’ve (almost) always found your arguments to be rational, rather than agenda-driven. Recently, however, this is becoming less and less the case. When you suggest that the love of “soccer” is agenda-driven, or “.. that intense indoctrination in leftist (or conservative) cant [sic] leads to progressive derangement.” you’re making a personal, emotionally-driven attacks. Granted, they may be in response to other personal, emotionally-driven attacks but, either way, you’ve done little or nothing to rise above the fray.

    I miss the days when you would carefully delineate the differences between what is morally right and legally right, or attacking OTHER people for making political hay out of personal matters. Some years ago (when you were still called the “Scoreboard,”) a very dear (albeit very misguided) friend of mine, who also happened to be an avid 9/11 “truther,” was an avid reader of yours (after I forwarded her one of your posts) because you were so politically neutral. Now, I’m dubious to share articles or post links on social media, lest people assume I’m an entrenched ideologue.

    One of the main reasons I grew tired of Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit” is that, whatever occasional point they would make worth listening to, their segments did little more than preach to the choir, instead of furthering rational discussion. This is what I see happening here. Those who already agree are placated by your arguments and, those who don’t, like the ire that it raises in their hearts. Either way, the lion’s share of your postings would seem to appeal more to the fringes than the center. That said, this is simply one person’s opinion and shouldn’t be interpreted as applying to the common (wo)man.

    Anyways, take from that what you will and feel free to disregard the rest. However irksome or disagreeable I may find your words, I still have nothing but the greatest respect for you and your intellect, and will continue on as a faithful reader. I just may not like it as much ..


    • I love the comment, Neil, and am grateful for it. Thanks.

      Statements like “.. because the incredibly inept and incompetent President of the United States has mismanaged every conceivable aspect of the government’s policies ..” isn’t an ethical argument, it’s a political one. A word like “every” doesn’t just suggest, but flat out states that he hasn’t handled any situation with any degree of competence which, frankly, is patently untrue.

      “I refuse to jump into the fray as far as which ones were and were not handled well but, as the old adage goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Are you suggesting Obama doesn’t even beat those odds? I find this especially disingenuous considering a number of the “one-act plays” Milbank talks about were things Obama had little direct control over, such as Ukraine (I realize all sorts of arguments can be made for how poorly he dealt with America’s response, but he wasn’t the cause).”

      My field is leadership, Neil, and where leadership is involved, the thing itself is how it is done. If you want to wallow in classic “Hitler did good things too” territory, be my guest….I view that, in a multilateral catastrophe such as the Obama Administration, deflection and rationalization. I am often shocked at how little writers like Milbank know about leadership, though since journalists have literally no practical knowledge of the craft, I shouldn’t be. I have spend the better part of my life studying leaders, leadership, and yes, leading organizations myself. At the risk of being presumptuous,let me enlighten you:

      1. The fact that Obama may have occasionally not failed miserably does not make “incredibly inept and incompetent President of the United States [who] has mismanaged every conceivable aspect of the government’s policies” unfair or inaccurate. I probably should have written “most important and significant” policies, but I’m not sure of that. I do find the degree of ineptitude and incompetence incredible. I have never seen anything like it, nor read about anything close. Before 2008, I would not have believed that someone could become the President of the US and not have more leadership skills—indeed, my honors thesis in college was based on that assumption.

      2. To call matters like the Ukraine events that Obama “had little direct control over” is just plain naive if said sincerely, and dishonest otherwise. It is like saying that Kennedy had no responsibility for the Cuban Missile Crisis. International relation is about signals and credibility: Obama has signaled weakness and fecklessness, and Putin knew there would be no consequences in adventuring in the Ukraine. I can say with complete confidence that Putin would not have attempted such a move with an Eisenhower, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, or George W. Bush in power. He knows Obama can be rolled. That’s why it happened.

      3. The worst thing a leader can do, and that which Obama has decided to do despite seeking election on the promise to do exactly the opposite, is promote societal division for political ends. That is a cardinal sin for any leader—it dwarfs all others. Obama will leave office with more division and distrust between the religious and secular, the genders, the generations, the races, the parties, the classes, labor and management and nationalities….and this was either done negligently, which is unforgivable, or intentionally, which is worse.

      Ethics Scoreboard included long essays that could not, for the most part, keep up with daily developments. EA is a blog, and that means it is written faster, less formally, and with fewer filters and drafts. However, my political orientation has not changed—I am dead center, and capable of temporarily shifting across the spectrum. It is impossible, flat out impossible, to properly assess a horrific failure in an attempt at progressive government without appearing to be on the ideological right. I resent that—you will notice that I frequently ask why everyone, especially progressives, are not as critical about some of these issues as I am. A critic who criticizes a Democratic President who is this damaging to the nation is not a Republican or a conservative, but an American citizen doing his job. And one who eschews the criticism for fear of being labelled as biased, partisan, or the current favorite among Obama supporters since 2008, racist, is a coward.

      As for preaching to the choir: I can’t control the audience. Cognitive dissonance applies: I can see why a once hopeful Obama supporter would rather insulate himself from truthtellers and reality than watch this sad train wreck with open eyes. So they read the New York Times, where Obama’s health care lie was successively rationalized as an “incorrect promise”, or MSNBC, which is, I think, a test of whether a liberal is applying any critical thought at all. Or they are like Barry, who indulged his left-leaning readership by giving credibility to the fantasy that George Zimmerman was guilty under the law, because that was the accepted Left talking point. I understand—it’s not easy being a liberal when your standard-bearer is making the whole philosophy look bad—which is another leadership ethical transgression, by the way. A terribly destructive one.

      If an equally incompetent and unethical Republican administration was in charge, my commentary would lose conservative readers. To some extent, you found the Scoreboard more accommodating because a bungling GOP Administration and a corrupt GOP Congress was in office. Writing only a fraction of the posts, I hammered Tom DeLay repeatedly. Doing this was was just as “apolitical” as pointing out what a dishonest, hyper-partisan hack Nancy Pelosi is—hack meaning a supposed public servant whose real priorities are the narrow interests of constituencies and party, and the nation be damned.

      Heck, I lose a conservative follower or 10 every time I post about the need to validate resident illegal immigrants, or gay marriage, or that impeachment is irresponsible, or that we need to spend a trillion or so on the infrastructure, or that well-to-do seniors have no ethical claim on Social Security, or the white collar criminals should be punished more severely than they are, or that opposition to evolution should not be accorded any respect in the schools, or that giving corporations the freedom from regulation they want would be irresponsible, or that “loser pays” is an ignorant civil justice policy, etc. etc., and so be it. I don’t tailor my ethics analysis to getting clicks and readers. I agree—the blog would be better if there were more intelligent, informed, open minded progressives who had the wit and integrity to make reasoned arguments here.

      That there are not, however, isn’t within my control. What I get is “yeah, well, Bush was worse.” No, in fact he wasn’t. I don’t think anyone has been worse, and there are 2.5 years to go.

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