There’s an interesting piece by Victor Davis Hanson (1) today in National Review Online comparing the scandals of the Obama administration to that of President Warren G. Harding, who’s widely, if a bit unfairly, considered one of the worst to hold the office. It’s comparison that’s unfavorable to President Obama. Hanson begins by summarizing the myriad scandals and political outrages of Team Obama. Here’s one example:
Eric Holder has politicized the Justice Department in a way not seen since the scandals of Nixon appointee John Mitchell. Holder’s prior ethical lapses – notably, as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, the disreputable eleventh-hour pardon for fugitive (and Democratic contributor) Marc Rich — were well known. But in less than six years, he has managed to trump them. Holder was held in contempt by Congress for withholding subpoenaed documents about the Fast and Furious scandal, and he editorialized on pending criminal cases, such as the Trayvon Martin and the Ferguson cases. He arbitrarily chose not to enforce existing laws, whether elements of Obamacare or immigration statutes. He was forced to pay back the government for using a Gulfstream to junket to the Belmont Stakes with family and friends. He sought to try terrorists in civilian courts, and he demonized the idea of Guantanamo, which earlier, when it was politically expedient, he had praised. He caricatured his critics and made race essential rather than incidental to his tenure (e.g., “my people,” “nation of cowards,” and the false charges of racism against critics of the administration) in a way that would have gotten anyone else fired. Had any other attorney general monitored reporters’ communications as Holder did those of AP reporters, and, even more so, James Rosen, he would also have been summarily dismissed. Even the media will not be able to prevent Holder’s legacy from being seen as one of the Justice Department’s no longer enforcing the law without prejudice, but instead choosing haphazard compliance in order to advance partisan ideas of social justice.
Why, yes. I did pick this example because of my particular loathing for Eric Holder. I admit it: I’m weak.
Anyway, as Hanson says, Obama’s multiple scandals and numerous incompetent appointments dwarf anything that went on under Harding, even the infamous Teapot Dome scandal.
One outcome VDH sees in all this is immense damage to the public’s faith in “big government,” a government that can and should insert itself into every facet of life, because it knows best how to do what’s fair to everyone. He concludes:
Obama has set the standard that the purpose of government is to facilitate his version of social change, regardless of protocols, laws, or traditions. And the result is a scandal-ridden administration that exceeds that of Warren G. Harding — one that has now convinced the public that their government agencies are not lawful, competent, or to be trusted.
The Obama administration was the moment progressives had dreamed up since FDR passed away. But, instead drawing people to the Great Liberal Cradle To Grave Paradise, it will more likely send them screaming in the other direction. At least, so we hope.
Be sure to read the whole thing.
(1) Which can be said about pretty much anything VDH writes.
PS: An example of how Harding succeeded where Obama failed.