Obama in 2013: “I am not a dictator.” Nixon in 1973: “I am not a crook.”
When will Obama say, “I am not a crook”?
The upward pressure of ongoing scandals is moving into the White House. Benghazi, AP, IRS. The president‘s surrogates are trying out their lying skills.Jay Carney: The situation at the IRS isn’t really a scandal, depending on what the definition of “is” is. And if one uses the passive voice, that’s acceptable, as in “mistakes were made.”Hillary Clinton: It doesn’t matter how and why Americans were killed in Benghazi.They died. We’re alive. We move on.
Steven Miller, retiring/ousted head of the IRS: We gave bad customer service. Who
at the IRS is guilty? I asked someone and they told me, but I don’t remember what
Eric Holder: If something bad happened at my agency in relation to spying on AP
reporters, I don’t know what it is, because I’ve recused myself. Other people under
me are investigating the whole thing. I don’t know who these investigators are.
I have to remain ignorant, in order to be objective.
Inside the White House, key players are saying: “Okay, we’ve deleted four thousand
emails. That doesn’t sound like enough. Keep looking. Keep deleting. Destroy
the computers. And paper. There’s still paper. Order new shredding machines.
Check everybody’s schedules and logs of meetings. Make sure they don’t overlap
in suspect ways…”
Remember the old phrase “plausible deniability?” The people around the president
commit crimes and make sure the president doesn’t know about them. Or if he does
know, or if he ordered the crimes to be committed, his people erase the links that
would lead to his exposure.
It’s a game. Can the president be protected? Can he deny knowledge and make it
stick? Can anyone prove he’s guilty? Can he fire a few underlings and make the
whole thing go away?
Of course, the president chose those people around him. He chose criminals who
will protect him. That’s true, but it’s not part of the plausible-deniability board
game. It doesn’t count.
Magically, the president is pure. He just happened to err in judgment and choose
a bevy of criminals to work close to him. What was he thinking?
The president is innocent. Everybody else is guilty. Amazing.
The public (aka the television audience) waits with baited breath to discover what
the president really knew and what he didn’t know. Because that’s the story line,
and story line is, above all else, what’s important.
The scandals are spreading like ink on a blotter. Gee, I wonder if the president
knew about this? I wonder if he was part of this. How will it end? I have to
keep watching, to find out. If I already know, there’s no suspense. That’s no
fun. I have to remain ignorant and follow the news. That’s exciting.