Here is the quote:
“President Obama has run an amazingly scandal-free administration, not only he himself, but the people around him, not only he himself, but the people around him. He’s chosen people who have been pretty scandal-free. And so there are people in Washington who do set a standard of integrity, who do seem to attract people of quality. And I think that’s probably true of the current group.”
Fascinating and enlightening though!
1. Brooks, though he has wavered occasionally, has always had a man-crush on Obama. Acknowledging this as he has, it shows remarkable lack of bias-control to let it run wild to this extent.
2. It is a terrific example of how linguistics can warp ethics, and vice-versa. The only possible way someone can make such a statement honestly—yes, I do believe Brooks really thinks this, as plainly counter-factual as it is—-is to consciously or sub-consciously define “scandal” so extremely that it omits anything connected to the Obama Administration. If Brooks believes that “scandals’ only involve theft, criminal activity and sex, he has a barely supportable thesis. Barely. Well, not really even then.
3. Not just scandal-free, but “amazingly” scandal free! This gets into Big Lie territory; perhaps “Big Hyperbole” is a bit more accurate. To be “amazingly scandal free,” we would hold up this Administration as the ethics model for all future administrations. Be still, my expanding head…
4. Is this clinical denial? I have mentioned here before that a disturbing number of Democrats and progressives, as well as African Americans, defend Obama by just asserting that everything is wonderful, no matter what goes wrong, and that Obama himself is a great President, despite near complete incompetence in every sphere. Some of these are professional liars and ideological warriors, of course; some are also just not too bright. Brooks, however, doesn’t fit in those categories.
5. This was on PBS, where the libs and the Democrats roam, where Brooks knows that he has seldom heard a discouraging word regarding Obama, so he was free to let his inner Obamaphile free. I have seen this phenomenon on Fox and MSNBC as well—supposed moderates flip a switch, and play to their audience. Mark Shields, a nice man (we were once trapped on an airport shuttle together) predictably chimed in with, “David makes a good point. And I agree with him on this administration in particular.” Jeez, Mark.
6. Maybe on PBS the definition of scandal is “wrongdoing by Republicans.” But then it wouldn’t mean that Obama’s years were “amazingly” scandal free, would it? I recently linked to Clinton spinner Joe Conason’s essay about the “phony” Clinton scandals. Was Clinton’s administration “amazingly scandal free”?
7. This came up in the process of discussing Dennis Hastert’s indictment. Hastert’s scandal is not a government scandal, so Brooks’ comment about Obama is a non sequitur, as well as being so false that makes my teeth itch.
8. Do progressives and Democrats really believe this? if so, to what can it be fairly attributed? Corruption? Brain-washing? Wishful thinking? Positive thinking? Insanity? Ignorance? Stupidity?
9. It is true that the Republican Congress and the party’s political operatives in the Bush years were unusually venal and corrupt. Is Brooks falling victim to Rationalization #22, “It’s not the worst thing”? Even then, he is making a dubious choice regarding scandalous and non-scandalous misconduct. The incompetence, lies, conflicts and naked politicization of Obama’s appointees and the departments he oversees constitutes a macro-scandal by itself.
10. Scandal-free means no scandals, right? Gee, let me see, just off the top of my head:
…Was Obama’s head of the CIA giving classified information to his mistress a scandal? I’d say so, wouldn’t you?
…Is the widespread neglect of our veterans by the VA and its mismanagement of resources a scandal?
…Is HHS launching its web-dependent ACA with a non-functioning website that cost a fortune a scandal?
…Is a low level NSA contractor escaping to Russia after leaking reams of classified information a scandal?
…Is Secret Service agents being repeatedly drunk and entertaining prostitutes while on the job a scandal?
…Is the Justice Department covering up its botched and deadly “gun walking” operation a scandal?
…Is the President of the United States deliberately lying to the American people about how Obamacare would work a scandal?
…Is the Internal Revenue Service improperly and possibly criminally targeting conservative groups to keep them from getting involved in the 2012 campaign a scandal? How about the official in charge refusing to testify before Congress?
…Is the the head of the NSA, and the Attorney General lying under oath before Congress a scandal?
…Is it a scandal for the exchange of five terrorists for deserter Bowe Bergdahl to be described by the National Security Advisor as freeing an American hero?
…Is it a scandal for that National Security Advisor to be appointed to that post after intentionally misrepresenting CIA intelligence regarding the attack on the U.S. Benghazi compound to all five networks?
Sexual harassment in the Armed Services? The Vice President groping women on camera? Secret domestic spying? Intimidation and wire tapping of journalists? Wait, what could I be forgetting? Oh yes, maybe you’ve heard of this: Did you know that Obama’s first Secretary of State continued to accept foreign contributions into her family foundation after signing a document pledging not to, then breached security protocols by using private e-mail for official business, then destroyed 30,000 e-mails without allowing government review, to avoid their being subpoenaed? Here is Salon on this amazing non-scandal:
Federal law designates the secretary of state as “responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales” of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In practice, that meant that Clinton was charged with rejecting or approving weapons deals — and when it came to Clinton Foundation donors, Hillary Clinton’s State Department did a whole lot of approving.
While Clinton was secretary of state, her department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors. That figure from Clinton’s three full fiscal years in office is almost double the value of arms sales to those countries during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.
The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that gave to the Clinton Foundation. That was a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.
American military contractors and their affiliates that donated to the Clinton Foundation — and in some cases, helped finance speaking fees to Bill Clinton — also got in on the action. Those firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of arms deals authorized by the Clinton State Department.
The Obama administration seems less-scandal riddled than it is, in part, because Eric Holder’s Justice Department has declined to diligently investigate obvious wrongdoing in many cases, as is its duty to the American people. That itself is a scandal.