THE SEVEN-MINUTE GATSBY
IN THE NEWS
Tim Couch (not the quarterback): “IRS/AP/Benghazi — my Republican wife wants to know why you haven’t commented on these.”
☞ Or on Minnesota marriage equality, while we’re at it. Hurray for that! We’re up to 12 states now, plus the District of Columbia. Illinois could shortly be next (neighboring Iowa has had it for four years, yet farmland prices remain strong), along with Brazil (not a state, but big) just after France last month (also not a state, but our major ally in the American Revolution), with California — which had it and then lost it — likely to follow next month when the Supreme Court rules. Progress!
But I digress.
IRS: Everyone agrees it is outrageous and indefensible for the IRS to target anyone on the basis of their political views. A thorough investigation is called for and underway; the President has already fired the acting head of the IRS; those found to have willfully exercised political prejudice should be prosecuted. My guess is that for many of those involved it may not have been political bias — just an ill-conceived attempt to find some time-saving shortcuts to sift through the huge influx of 501c-4 applicants. But that’s for prosecutors and, ultimately, juries to decide.
AP: Here‘s a good story suggesting that the Justice Department tried everything it could before resorting to subpoenaing those phone-records. And here‘s one suggesting that Republican senators are not saying too much about this because it was they who pushed hardest for an aggressive probe.
No question, subpoenas of this kind should be a last resort if a resort at all.
But it’s also worth noting that this Administration — faced with the example of its predecessor’s meddling with the independence of the Justice Department — made a conscious decision to keep its distance. (You will recall the Bush White House pressuring Justice to prosecute cases of voter fraud — presumably to promote the “need” for voter-ID laws that disadvantage Democrats — and then ejecting several assistant U.S. attorneys for failing to find such cases.)
So if the Justice Department was overzealous with these AP subpoenas, finding the wrong balance between national security and freedom of the press (something I don’t feel competent to conclude), that’s regrettable and a knock on the Justice Department . . . but only indirectly on the White House (even though, of course, ultimately, “the buck stops there”).
Benghazi: Truly a tragedy. We failed adequately to protect the ambassador and his people; a thorough investigation led to I think 29 recommendations for corrective action, every one of which then-Secretary Clinton promptly endorsed and set into motion. If it took three days or even three weeks to get the story out, that may be clumsy — but how did that delay affect your life or your wife’s or anyone else’s?
Watch the Gatsby thing. Fun.