(You know, you always feel the door before you open it. I think the political fire isn’t very far away, Mr. President.)
OK, ready? Here goes:
- The President’s lawyer learned of the IRS targeting of conservative groups in April.
- The President’s chief of staff learned of the IRS targeting of conservative groups in April.
- The President himself learned of the IRS targeting of conservative groups in the news on May 10.
That’s the story right now from the White House. Really.
I think right now it is still marginally possible for Barack Obama’s defenders to go with the hey-what’s-the-big-deal approach. Manufactured scandal, Republicans on a witch hunt, blah blah blah. Outliers are hurling charges of racism here and there. There’s no reason to think the sociopolitical environment has suddenly become hostile to that particular brand of nonsense, so those accusations may increase a bit too.
Anything but, you know, the obvious.
I suspect we are not far from something that incontrovertibly implicates President Obama. The truly mindless sycophants—and they are numerically significant—will continue their standard, hand-waving dismissals as if nothing has happened. For everyone else, the time-honored tu quoque will become the primary defensive response.
One thing of which I am absolutely convinced: no matter what emerges—no matter what—Barack Obama will never be anything but defiant and dismissive. There is no genuine grace or decorum in him. There is only Chicago thug. There is only “what are you gonna do about it? Huh?”
I think that even if it gets genuinely bad, politically speaking, for him, he can’t even fake remorse. It’s not there to summon.
It will surprise few to read that I am not an especially big fan of our esteemed president. He is politically bleeding right now, which is really a first in his entire time in office. I hope it gets much worse, and I think it at least as likely that it will as it won’t. Whatever happens, I’m thankful that his ability to do any more damage is diminished, and as a student of political communication, I’m looking forward to watching him.