The Political Theater Scene is Full of Bad Actors

I don’t know how Broadway is doing these days, but political theater abounds.   Yesterday marked the 37th time the Republican House passed a bill to repeal  Obamacare.   And for the 37th time it will go nowhere in the Senate managed by Democrats, but as House Speaker Boehner has said, it will remind the American people where Republicans stand?

English: Former Speaker of the Florida House a...

English: Former Speaker of the Florida House at CPAC in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does anyone need a reminder out there?  Don’t they stand for everything un-Obama?  Now, courtesy of the administration, they have a bunch more Obama stuff to be “un”, all conveniently tied to a general theme articulated by  Senator Marco Rubio.   He characterized the Obama administration as a “culture of intimidation.”  Obviously it must run very deep as one-third of the committees in the Republican controlled House seem compelled to launch  investigations.

I saw a bit of one hearing on TV this morning dealing with the I. R. S.  kicked off by the Republican chairman saying that this scandal reflected a culture of intimidation and cover-up in the administration.  Aren’t you supposed to ask questions first and then  draw conclusions later?

Listening to the vague answers I. R. S. officials gave the committee suggested to me bureaucratic incompetence was more at play than administration over reach.

Columnist David Ignatius, never shy about criticizing the Obama administration, sees the situation quite differently.    Rather than evidence of nascent totalitarianism, he sees  “a frightenly impotent government”.   And, as for the Republican reaction:  “Another generation would have said:   Let’s get on with it.  We say, let’s have another investigation.”

But what can Democrats expect?   What if these scandals had broken out during a Republican administration?   I can imagine hearing the words “police state” bandied about.   The one high card I can see in Obama’s hand is the Republican tendency to over-the-top outrage, bloviating themselves into phony oblivion.  Already the  “I” word is being tossed around (impeachment) and my own favorite “stone them to death” comment:   “this scandal is Iran Contra and Watergate multiplied by 20.”

As we head into a dreary summer of poorly acted political theater, let’s try to get a laugh or two wherever we can find one.   If you haven’t seen Jon Stewart’s take on this mess watch it below.   Funny stuff.  Unfortunately for  Democrats , the laugh is mostly on us.

P. S. – As always, “followers” receiving posts in your email will need to go to my web site to see video (click gravatar in upper left).

Constitution U. S. A. and Obama’s “Trifecta of Trouble”

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A very bad week for the Obama administration could make Peter Sagal’s day.   Sagal, the NPR host of Wait Wait…. Don’t Tell Me! on weekend radio, begins a month long series about the constitution tonight on PBS (check your local listings).

In case you just woke up from a coma, there have been three Obama administration scandals erupting this past week, all raising questions about the power and veracity of federal government, the sort of things which make some reach for their copies of the constitution, and others to spout things as if they actually knew what it says.    First there was Benghazi which had become old hat but found new fuel when a few State Department whistle blowers testified before Congress,  casting fresh doubts on the Obama administration’s handling of the events and its early accounts.

Then later in the week it became clear the the I. R. S. had singled out the applications of conservative groups for non-profit status for greater scrutiny than most.   And then it turns out the Justice Department was secretly gathering information about the AP and its contacts, seemingly fishing for those who leak information the Obama team doesn’t want leaked.   AP being the main conduit of general information upon which other media depends makes spying on them particularly significant.

It all made NRA zealots seem to have a point in a paranoid sort of way.   Despite Republican hyperbole and feigned outrage, a lot of what has happened here is what often happens with government.   Power is abused, revealed and then cut back until abused again.   That is how our system has worked and continues to do so.

At any rate this is great advertising for PBS.  The tendency of governments to abuse power is the bedrock upon which the constitution was created, you know, the idea of the necessity of a balance of powers so no-one gets too powerful and abuses it.   That the powers have become so balanced these days that little gets accomplished is another matter for another time.

In addition to its topical nature, the Sagal series looks like it has some of the fun of his radio show.   There he will be riding a red, white and blue Harley across the country talking to all sorts of people about the constitution and what it means to them.  It looks fun and informative, too.

It also gave me something to write about today.   Other than an immigration bill toddling along, not much was happening in Congress prior to this week and even less will happen now.   Except for an abundance of new hearings and increased name calling.  It is what prompts cable chatterers to dwell on the 2014 and 2016 elections, as watching this Congress is like watching paint dry.  These recent revelations will only make compromises even tougher to make by distracting attention and politicizing whatever attention can be mustered to deal with our national problems.

A mess has just gotten messier.  Don’t hope for much change any time soon.