Tuesday December 10, 2013
Archive - May 2013
I’ve already told you the story of Mrs. Campbell, my well-meaning high school guidance counselor. In case you missed it, I’ll tell you again.
Well, this is a fine mess.
After years of moaning about various "conspiracies" against them, conservative activists finally have a real (i.e., not manufactured by Fox or inflated by Limbaugh) piece of evidence to take before the court of public opinion.
Republicans in Congress are so hungry for scalps, they just can't leave well enough alone. The scandal engulfing the Internal Revenue Service is a story that's playing to their benefit. Monday, after having the weekend to think about it, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida puffed himself up and called on the president to "demand the IRS commissioner's resignation, effectively immediately."
Folks, deep breath time. This is not the end of the Obama presidency. It's a bad stretch with an unfortunate confluence of unfortunate events. None of which will make the first paragraph -- not even the first page -- of the account of the Obama administration in the history books.
For years, conservatives have pushed for a health-insurance model emphasizing catastrophic coverage. It works as follows:
Consumers pay the cost of ordinary care, such as a checkup, a blood test or an eye exam. Insurance kicks in only for major crises -- a heart attack, cancer requiring extensive treatment, a kidney transplant, intensive care for a newborn.
Things go wrong in government. Sometimes it's just bad luck. Sometimes it's rank incompetence. Sometimes it's criminal wrongdoing. Most of the time you never hear about it. Or, if you do hear about it, the media eventually gets bored talking about it (see warming, global).
But every so often an instance of government wrongdoing sprouts wings and becomes something quite exciting: A political scandal.
"What if the government starts enforcing the espionage statute whenever there's a leak?" Steve Roberts, a former New York Times journalist who teaches at George Washington University, observed to the Baltimore Sun. "It's going to have a tremendously chilling effect on this interplay between sources and reporters."
There's nothing Washington likes better than a scandal. So official Washington was absolutely orgasmic this week while dealing with not one, but three scandals at the same time. Not one of which, sadly, was a sex scandal.
My doctor and dear friend Larry calls it "an exciting gateway of genetics, for it is leading to specific therapy to specific subsets of a given disease." Some of the folks writing comments call it a conspiracy by the drug companies and the medical establishment motivated by greed.
When the storm of administration scandal first hit President Obama, he offered a good impersonation of Claude Raines in "Casablanca," expressing shock that gambling was going on in Rick's saloon. His verbal outrage at the snooping of the IRS and his Justice Department was intense, but not very reassuring.