Scandals and Sub-Scandals

The Administration is having a bad week. There are at least four “scandals” ranking in importance from “politics as usual” to impeachable offenses depending upon the political persuasion of whomever is expressing an opinion.

Test your political prognostication skills by deciding which you think will turn out to be the most important and add your reasons. Extra credit for ranking them in the correct order, whatever that turns out to be.

Here are more or less neutral descriptions of the events from which to choose described in the form of the potential scandal rather than the event itself.

A. The killing of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 and not trying to rescue them.

B. Efforts made between September 11, 2012 and the November election to conceal the truth of what happened in Benghazi from voters.

C. Efforts made by the Internal Revenue Service to delay approvals for politically related conservative groups before the November election.

D. The Department of Justice obtaining telephone records of reporters from the Associated Press for the purpose of identifying government leakers.

You can stop reading now and submit your own answer after which you can continue to see my assessment.

Scandal D will prove the most long-lasting because any First Amendment issue will continue to be covered by the press long after it might otherwise have ended had it not affected the press itself.

Scandal C will also prove long lasting even though it occurred outside of Washington with the acts themselves performed by career civil servants rather than political appointees. First, it was a pro-active effort to impact the election rather than an effort to conceal bad news. Second, the career civil servants are hardly oblivious to politics.

Scandal B will not rank as high in importance as the first two because it was merely an attempt to conceal bad news from voters rather than an attempt to influence the availability of funds before the election.

In the end, scandal A will turn out to have been a mistake, a bad call or an odds-based decision that went bad rather than an intentional effort to do harm.

Feel free to suggest any other scandals that might arise in the near future that you believe are likely to have legs going forward.

Extra credit for guessing how long they last.

 

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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