The Obama administration left us with a poison bouquet, a federal government whose investigatory agencies are thoroughly corrupted, politicized, and untrustworthy. We know for a fact that the Internal Revenue Service, acting after demands from Democratic elected officials, targeted conservative-leaning activist groups for investigation and harassment, and that this harassment was outrageous, including demands that religiously oriented organizations disclose the very contents of their prayers.We know that that Internal Revenue Service illegally and maliciously leaked information about the donors of the National Organization for Marriage, in order to facilitate political and financial retaliation against them. We know that evidence, including e-mails, was destroyed to subvert investigation into this criminal conspiracy, and that congressional Democrats went to extraordinary lengths to protect IRS officials from being punished for their wrongdoing.We know that one of the key figures in that case, Lois Lerner, is enjoying a large federal pension rather than a small federal prison cell. We know that the Department of Justice was wildly politicized during the Obama years, doing Democrats’ bidding on everything from voter-intimidation cases to the Clinton e-mail case.We know that the National Labor Relations Board was used as a political weapon to try to punish Boeing for setting up new production in Republican-leaning South Carolina rather than Democratic-leaning Washington State.We know that the ATF was used to audit a business whose owners were not involved in A, T, or F, but who were involved in election-reform projects, and that the same firm was targeted by OSHA and the IRS.We know that a politicized EPA was involved in such extraordinary shenanigans that its director felt the need to set up a pseudonymous e-mail account in order to hide her activities from ordinary oversight.Even our Democratic friends have concluded that the FBI under the Obama administration was politicized, though they cannot quite seem to make up their minds about the direction or intent of it.Barack Obama liked to talk about capital-H History, about “making History” and being “on the right side of History.” And though he may not go down as a particularly consequential figure (much of the drama of the Obama years was just that: drama), Obama will be remembered by the historians for a few things: for being the first black man elected president in a country with a complicated, ugly, and brutal history on the issue of race; for attempting to walk away from U.S. commitments in the Middle East only to reinvade Iraq, lose a game of chicken in Syria, misunderstand the nature and the aims of the Arab Spring, and send U.S. forces into nebulously defined conflicts in several African countries; and for being the first president to institute a policy of assassination of U.S. citizens as a matter of national security.But what probably will end up being most consequential about President Obama is the corruption, which was systemic despite his media sycophants’ insipid insistence that his was a presidency without scandal.The corruption of the Obama administration was not of the apple-stealing/intern-bothering Clinton variety, but the much more serious matter of perverting necessary public institutions for political purposes. He oversaw this at the federal level and inspired it at the state level: Consider all those Democratic attorneys general banding together to shake down Exxon and lean on free-market think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, or Kamala Harris’s campaign to do to California’s conservative activists what the IRS did to the National Organization for Marriage, demanding donor lists.The Trump administration’s ties to Moscow probably should be investigated, if only for the sake of putting aside the wilder fears and more inflamed passions of less responsible partisans. The trouble is, the Obama administration and its Democratic allies in Congress have left us with no credible institution to undertake such an investigation.Whom would you trust? The Justice Department? The State Department? The FBI? The intelligence community? A special investigator? A bipartisan special committee that would be subject to the high ethical standards of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer?
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Tuesday, March 07, 2017
This is the tragedy of the Obama administration. He really did fundamentally transform the country into a copy of a corrupt African kleptocracy. And with the enthusiastic cooperating of the Democrats in congress.