Opinion: Morning Examiner

Morning Examiner: Who’s breeding cynicism now?

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Morning Examiner

“What’s blocking us right now is a sort of hyper-partisanship in Washington that I was, frankly, hoping to overcome in 2008,” President Obama told a room full of Democrat donors wealthy enough to afford the $16,000 price of admission last night in New York City. “I genuinely believe there are Republicans out there who would like to work with us but they’re fearful of their base and they’re concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them,” Obama continued, “As a consequence, we get the kind of gridlock that makes people cynical about government.”

Yes, if only Rush Limbaugh didn’t exist, then the American people would have no reason to be cynical about the federal government and Obama could happily expand its scope and power as far and wide as he wished. Never mind that Obama chose not to mention the Associated Press report yesterday that Obama’s Justice Department secretly seized two months worth of personal, work, and cell phone records from AP reporters who cover the CIA. White House spokesman Jay Carney quickly claimed that “We have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP.” But after Carney’s repeated false statements about the Obama administration’s Benghazi talking points, why should anybody believe him?

Speaking of Benghazi, Obama also held a defiant joint appearance with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron Monday where he completely dismissed any concern over his administration’s duplicity in describing the Benghazi attacks. “The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism,” Obama said, “The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow.” But The Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler disagrees. He notes that Obama was purposely vague when mentioning terrorism and Benghazi in his Rose Garden speech after the attack, and he specifically declined to call the incident terror when asked directly about it on three separate occasions later that week. “The president’s claim that he said “act of terrorism” is taking revisionist history too far, given that he repeatedly refused to commit to that phrase when asked directly by reporters in the weeks after the attack. He appears to have gone out of his way to avoid saying it was a terrorist attack, so he has little standing to make that claim now,” Kessler concluded.

And finally, yesterday we also learned that, contra-earlier assurances from the IRS, the decision to target Obama’s political opponents with audits was not limited to a Cincinnati field office. Instead, it went all the way to senior officials in Washington. “IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups,” The Washington Post reports.

Contra Obama, it is not just Republicans who have lost faith in the federal government since he became president. According to Pew, Democrats are also much more skeptical. After Obama was sworn into office in 2009, 61 percent of Democrats had a favorable view of the federal government. Today that number is just 41 percent.

If Obama is looking to blame someone for cynicism about the federal government, he need only look in the mirror.

From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: IRS becomes the ‘Casablanca’ of Obama’s administration
Byron York: A talk with Jason Richwine
Sean Higgins: IRS sent unpublished info on conservative groups to investigative news outfit
Phil Klein: List of red flags that attract IRS scrutiny
Tim Carney: Pro-choice groups pretend Gosnell wasn’t just convicted of murdering three babies
Conn Carroll: 7 Senate seats Republicans are targeting in 2014
Justin Binik-Thomas: IRS that targeted Tea Party groups also targeted me
Gene Healy: Nothing to joke about in a partisan IRS

In Other News
The Wall Street Journal
, Health-Policy Move Widely Shared: More people than previously thought predicted a major change in U.S. health-care policy that led to a federal insider-trading probe, according to new documents assembled by congressional investigators.
The Washington Post, In Virgina governor’s race, fighting on two fronts: The two men running for governor this year are each running two campaigns featuring different issues, calendars and strategies. One campaign, taking place on national TV and in fine hotel ballrooms across the country, is about raising money, positioning political parties for power, and helping consultants angle for jobs in the next election cycle. The other campaign is about voters in Virginia.
Politico, Gang of 8 looks to defend guest worker plan: The Senate Gang of Eight has largely controlled the Senate Judiciary Committee’s immigration markup, and the group’s next step: shielding a painstakingly negotiated agreement for a new guest worker program.
Gallup, Half of U.S. Small Businesses Think Health Law Bad for Them: Forty-eight percent of U.S. small-business owners say the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) is going to be bad for their business, compared with 9% who say it is going to be good, and 39% who expect no impact.

Lefty Playbook
Think Progress defends Obama’s seizure of White House phone records.
Ron Fournier says the IRS and Benghazi scandal is threatening Obama’s credibility.
Jonathan Bernstein says the real scandal is GOP efforts to block Gina McCarthy’s nomination to head the EPA.

Righty Playbook
George Will sees echoes of Watergate in IRS scandal.
Matt Lewis reports that Sen. Marco Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC will air ads in New Hampshire defending Sen. Kelly Ayotte on guns.
James Sherk notes that unions spend plenty on politics.
Charles C. W. Cooke on NARAL’s odd reaction to the Gosnell verdict.

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