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Friday, May 31, 2013

As The Scandals Deepen will the Democrats be Hurt in 2014

"The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men." — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 21

On December 12, 1787 Alexander Hamilton writing on the Defects of the Articles of Confederation in Federalist 21 stated:

“The inordinate pride of State importance has suggested to some minds an objection to the principle of a guaranty in the federal government, as involving an officious interference in the domestic concerns of the members. A scruple of this kind would deprive us of one of the principal advantages to be expected from union, and can only flow from a misapprehension of the nature of the provision itself. It could be no impediment to reforms of the State constitution by a majority of the people in a legal and peaceable mode. This right would remain undiminished. The guaranty could only operate against changes to be effected by violence. Towards the preventions of calamities of this kind, too many checks cannot be provided. The peace of society and the stability of government depend absolutely on the efficacy of the precautions adopted on this head. Where the whole power of the government is in the hands of the people, there is the less pretense for the use of violent remedies in partial or occasional distempers of the State. The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men. A guaranty by the national authority would be as much leveled against the usurpations of rulers as against the ferments and outrages of faction and sedition in the community.” (Emphasis added)

In essence what Hamilton was saying is that even with the checks and balances provided in the Constitution there could still be abuses by the Executive and the only solution outside of revolt is a change of men. This is very apparent today with the current epidemic of scandals facing the Obama administration: Benghazi, IRS, Justice Department, and Health and Human Services.

Almost on a daily basis more and more information on these scandals dribble out in drips and drops as reporters begin doing the job they should have done five years ago when it came to opening the curtain on Barack Obama — a curtain that had been constructed by his Chicago supporters and their sycophants in the main stream media. Now many members of that same Main stream media are joining the ranks of the honest, hard-working reporters that have been maligned for these past five years.

President Barack Obama's job approval rating has taken a huge hit in the wake of the scandals surrounding the White House, a new poll has found.

Fewer than half the registered voters surveyed now believe Obama is "honest and trustworthy," according to the poll conducted by Quinnipiac University. That figure had stood at 58 percent the last time the question was asked in September 2011. Now it is at 49 percent.

The Quinnipiac Poll stated:

“President Barack Obama gets a negative 45 — 49 percent job approval rating, compared to 48 – 45 percent positive in a May 1 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University, conducted before the IRS allegations surfaced. The president’s biggest drop is among independent voters, who give him a negative 37 — 57 percent score, compared to a negative 42 — 48 percent May 1. He gets a negative 9 — 86 percent from Republicans and a positive 87 — 8 percent from Democrats, both virtually unchanged. Women approve 49 — 45 percent while men give a negative 40 – 54 percent score...Americans are divided 49 — 47 percent on whether Obama is honest and trustworthy, down from 58 — 37 percent, the last time Quinnipiac University asked the question September 1, 2011.”

And it is the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service that is hitting Obama hardest, the survey found. The voters, who were surveyed between Wednesday last week and Tuesday of this week, believe that controversy is more worrying than those surrounding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, or the seizure of phone records from journalists.

According to the Connecticut University’s survey, more people now view the president negatively than positively. Slightly under half — 49 percent — say they have a negative view of Obama, while 45 percent have a positive view.

Just one month ago, before news of the IRS controversy broke, the president's job approval rating was more positive than negative, at 48 to 45 percent.

When it comes to the individual controversies swirling around the Obamae30f9d8c-9095-4b90-b821-4482c12e2d93 administration, 44 percent of voters see the IRS prying into conservative groups as the most important, while 24 percent say they are most concerned about the administration's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, and 15 percent say the records seizure at news organizations is most important.

Many voters believe criticism of the administration's handling of the Benghazi attack as "just politics," the survey shows with 43 percent describing it that way

Meanwhile, more than three out of four voters — 76 percent — believe a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the IRS scandal. That figure includes 63 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of Republicans, and 78 percent of independent voters.

"There is overwhelming bipartisan support for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS," said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac's Polling Institute.

"Voters apparently don't like the idea of Attorney General Eric Holder investigating the matter himself, perhaps because they don't exactly think highly of him," Brown said. Holder got a negative 39 percent job approval rating, compared to 23 percent who approved of the way he is doing his job.

According to Newsmax: A special prosecutor will be needed to investigate the IRS' targeting of conservative groups, Sen. Rob Portman told Newsmax in an exclusive interview, because there are limits to what Congress can achieve on its own.

The Ohio Republican said that while he believes the congressionalJustice Holder investigation should continue for a while longer, it's unlikely that lawmakers will be able to extract the information they need from the administration to get to the bottom of the issue.

A new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that only 25 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Attorney General Eric Holder and 42 percent would like for him to resign.

The telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted on May 29-30, also revealed that 47 percent of those polled have an unfavorable opinion of him.

On the other hand a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal— No IRS Special Prosecutor – Indictments are less important than Political Accountability states:

“Like dumber follows dumb, the scandal of politicized IRS tax enforcement has been followed by calls for a "special prosecutor." Republicans are predictably leading this call against a Democratic Administration, but this is one case in which the GOP should hope it doesn't get its way.

The case for a special counsel is that Attorney General Eric Holder can't be trusted to investigate his Administration, and that the Administration will stonewall Congress. We don't trust Mr. Holder either, but letting him pass the buck to a special prosecutor is doing him a favor. This scandal is best handled in Congressional hearings that educate the public in the next year rather than wait two or three years for potential indictments. No fewer than three Congressional committees are digging into the facts, and they have the power to issue subpoenas, compel depositions and demand emails and documents. All of this can then make its way into the public record. If the White House chooses not to turn over relevant information, it will have to assert executive privilege. Such resistance carries its own political price.

With a special prosecutor, the probe would immediately move to the shadows, and the Administration and the IRS would use it as an excuse to limit its cooperation with Congress. Special prosecutors aren't famous for their speed, and a decision on indictments would extend well past the 2014 election. If there were no indictments, whatever the prosecutor has discovered would stay secret. And even if specific criminal charges were filed, the facts of an indictment couldn't stray far from the four corners of the violated statute. Beyond proving his specific case in court, a special prosecutor will not be as concerned with the larger public policy consequences and political accountability. That accounting should include how this started, what IRS officials thought they were doing, how far the knowledge and genesis went up the chain of government command, or what pressure was brought to bear on those supposed "rogues" in Cincinnati.”

But the poll also shows that almost three-quarters of voters, or 73 percent, believe that dealing with the economy and unemployment is a higher priority than investigating these three issues. Only 22 percent disagree.

But those who were surveyed are also optimistic that the economy is finally improving.

"The fact that voters say, 34–25 percent, that the economy is getting better also may be a reason the president's job approval numbers have not dropped further," said Brown.

Other points from the poll include:

• Political parties and groups are generally held in disdain. Voters have an unfavorable view of both the main parties and the tea party. The Republican Party fares worse, with an unfavorable rating of 50 percent, compared to 35 percent who rate it favorably. The same is said of the Democrats by 47 percent who rate their party favorably, and 42 percent unfavorably; and the tea party by 38-28 percent.

• A minuscule 3 percent of voters surveyed say they trust the federal government to do the right thing all the time. Twelve percent says they trust the feds most of the time, 47 percent say some of the time, and 36 percent say hardly ever.

• A congressional election today would be evenly split, with 38 percent saying they would vote for a Republican to sit in the House of Representatives and the same number saying they would vote Democrat.

On the same note Scott Rasmussen, founder and president of Rasmussen Reports, says there are signs the trio of scandals surrounding the Obama administration could cause more serious problems for the president and the Democratic Party if they persist.

Speaking to Newsmax TV, the pollster and political analyst explained: "As some people argue, his job approval ratings have already been hurt because they should be going up. The economy is getting stronger, the stock market is setting records, but the president's job approval is not going anywhere:"

"When we look at a question of, say, who do you trust more on the issue of ethics and corruption, it used to be Democrats had a big edge on the issue, but now with the scandals and controversy, the Republicans have a slight advantage; there's been a 10-point swing on that."

As for the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, Rasmussen said, "Fifty-seven percent believe that the IRS really did target people and they don't buy the notion that it was some low-level people at the Cincinnati office. Sixty-five percent believe the decisions came from Washington at either the IRS headquarters or the White House."

In addition, he said of Obama, "We do know that his overall efforts, his desire, his whole public life has been spent on the mission to restore faith in the federal government, trust in the federal government. That was an uphill fight to begin with; it's probably an unwinnable fight at this point."

Discussing how the scandals might help Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections, Rasmussen said public opinion is now "marginally in favor" of the GOP.

"In the last five weeks Republicans have been ahead on the generic congressional ballots twice; Democrats, three times. We saw that same kind of balance going back and forth in April and May of 2009 and then gradually the Republican wave began to build," he said.

"So we'll be watching over this summer. If the scandals pick up and the generic ballot begins to move in the Republican direction, you'll see definitely that's going to help."

On top of the scandals, Republicans might also be able to capitalize on the rollout of ObamaCare, according to Rasmussen. "It's likely to run into some administration hurdles, some bureaucratic issues, but it's also running into the fact that it has never become popular, and that's going to be a pretty healthy drag on Democrats in the 2014 elections."

Assessing the field of potential GOP contenders in the 2016 presidential race, Rasmussen said he does not think former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, or House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will win the Republican nomination.

He did not rule out Florida Sen. Marco Rubio becoming the nominee, and he called Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul "a serious contender," noting the IRS scandal has boosted public opinion of the tea party.

"The tea party right now is viewed favorably by 44 percent of voters nationwide. That's up 14 points from before the targeting," he said. "Eighty percent of Republicans now have a favorable opinion of the tea party. That's a big jump. There's been this divide between the Republican establishment who really wanted to protect themselves from the tea party. Now, the IRS has put them all on the same team and that unity could not have been achieved in any other way."

On the Democratic side, Rasmussen is not optimistic about Hillary Rodham Clinton's prospects in 2016.

"I have a very hard time believing Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee," he said. "Benghazi is certainly not going to help but there will be other factors. We just don’t know what the Democratic field is going to look like.”

Asked on Wednesday if the White House is "satisfied with the responsiveness" of IRS officials testifying before Congress, Press Secretary Jay Carney answered, "Well, that's a broad question, but the answer is yes." Of course Barack Obama and his mouthpiece Carney are satisfied — the IRS targeted Patriot and Tea Party groups (and possibly pro-Israel groups) helping to swing the 2012 election in Obama's favor, and then IRS officials either pleaded complete ignorance of the doings of their subordinates or took the Fifth Amendment in order to avoid questions. They might be satisfied, but this is a serious abuse of power, not a Snickers commercial.

June promises to be a busy month for those investigating the IRS. The House Oversight Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee are all probing for answers. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, obtained all communications using the terms "tea party," "patriot" or "conservative" from former acting IRS director and first sacrificial lamb Steven Miller. Boustany now knows the names of others involved and will be pursuing them. Oh, and the IRS is investigating itself, so there's that.

This week, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), filed suit against the IRS on behalf of 25 conservative groups, saying, "The IRS and the federal government are not going to get away with this unlawful targeting of conservative groups." Ten of the organizations he represents still have not been approved for tax-exempt status. Sekulow provided letters to NBC News revealing that the extra scrutiny didn't originate in the IRS's Cincinnati office as we were told at first. Indeed, one letter bore the stamp-signature of Lois Lerner — the same official who last week claimed innocence before pleading the Fifth. Letters came "from four different offices, including the Treasury Department in Washington, DC," Sekulow says.

As for how high up the ladder this scandal goes, former IRS commissionerb90229924ecd4c78a980abd8e4b44329-e1369158211929 Douglas Shulman visited the White House an astounding 157 times during his tenure — which happens to coincide with the targeting in question. His successor, Steven Miller, visited numerous times as well. But Shulman's predecessor in the Bush administration, Mark Everson, visited the White House just one time. So what gives?

Shulman's first answer was, "Um, the Easter Egg Roll with my kids." Cute, but that doesn't explain why he visited the White House more than any cabinet member. He says he has "no memory" of discussing it and contends "it would not have been appropriate to have a conversation with anyone at the White House" on political audits at the IRS. Shulman further denied ever being told to scrutinize conservative groups. Then again, this is the same man who denied in March 2012 that the IRS was even targeting these groups. Can he be trusted now?


In the end, we don't expect anyone to truly be held accountable for this serious breach of trust by the Obama administration. In fact, one IRS official was promoted. The IRS has inordinate power as the agency with first dibs on your paycheck and the arbiter of tax status for political groups. And the IRS is beholden to a corrupt and thuggish administration run by a former community organizer from Chicago. As long as Barack Obama is in the Oval Office, there's only so much house cleaning that can happen. Besides, he's "satisfied" with how things are going.

On another front the scandal involving the Obama Justice Department's snooping into the electronic files of investigative journalists grew wider this week thanks in large part to Attorney General Eric Holder's congressional testimony. When asked by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), (of Guam tipping fame) if the Justice Department could prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act for disclosure of material, Holder replied, "This is not something I've ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy." (The "I don't know" refrain was common in his testimony — see the montage.) Holder's words run contrary to his actions, however. Not only did he personally approve a warrant to search Fox News correspondent James Rosen's email account, but he also shopped it with two federal judges before finding a third willing to agree. This bald-faced contradiction opens Holder to perjury charges, which the House Judiciary Committee is currently investigating.

Holder did a great imitation of Sargent Schultz on the 1970s TV show Hogan’s Heroes

Holder may think he's got his bases covered, but he may become too much of a political liability even for this lawless administration. Then again, he contends that he's still the best candidate to investigate his own actions at Justice. House committee members are not so confident.

Holder tried to meet with bureau chiefs of major news organizations this week to lay out the Justice Department's subpoena policy. But Holder insisted that the meeting about "transparency" be off the record, and only a few unprincipled outlets, such as Politico, The Washington Post and Bloomberg News took the bait. The Associated Press, The New York Times, CNN, Reuters and Fox News were among those that stayed away.

Government policy under Barack Obama is to silence whistleblowers through intimidation, and its latest attack on the press indicates that the ends justify the means. Rosen is but one example of many reporters who have been investigated with or without their knowledge. What they all have in common is that they worked on stories critical of the Obama administration and its policies. If it should be proven that Eric Holder did commit perjury and engaged in the systematic intimidation and persecution of journalists trying to do their jobs, then nothing short of his resignation will serve to make up for the wrongdoing.

Individual liberty and free enterprise bring about good things both great and small — among them, potable water and sanitary toilets — and for those things we should be thankful. But according to Hollywood actor Matt Damon, "780,000,000 people — that's two and a half times the population of the United States — lack access to clean water." U2 front man Bono and celebrities Olivia Wilde and Richard Branson joined Damon to do something about it. For starters, the group is going on a "toilet strike." Damon explained that he "won't go to the bathroom until everyone in the world has access to clean water and sanitation." The ploy is, of course, a humorous one meant to draw serious attention to the problem, something made clear by the group's video. But in order to know whether these wealthy do-gooders actually made charitable contributions to the cause, we'll just have to wait for the IRS audits of their tax returns.

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