What the Obama Scandals Reveal About Progressive Ideology

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


gty_barack_obama_irs_mad_speech_thg_130515_wblogThe three scandals dominating the news this week all reveal the moral and intellectual corruption at the heart of progressive ideology. Whether are not these revelations gain enough traction to halt the country’s downward spiral is the more important question.

Benghazi

The moment it came into office the Obama administration bought into the delusional narrative that Islamic jihadist terror is a response to Western historical crimes against Muslims, rather than an expression of Islamic theology. The Israeli “occupation” of Palestine, the depredations of colonialism and imperialism, the resulting dysfunctional economies and oppressive governments in Muslim countries, the arrogant xenophobia and intolerance of American culture, the invasions of Muslim countries after 9/11––all were identified as the “root causes” of terrorism.

Obama’s foreign policy, based on the assumptions of American guilt and the malign consequences of George Bush’s arrogant, unilateralist foreign policy, thus was an attempt to correct the bad policies and behaviors that instigated terror. Thus Obama apologized in his Cairo speech, eagerly extended a diplomatic “hand” to the genocidal mullahs in Iraq, rushed for the exits in Iraq and Afghanistan, supported the dubious “Arab Spring” uprisings and their Islamist prime movers like the Muslim Brothers, and distanced America from Israel.

The intervention in Libya seemed to be an easy way to validate these beliefs, at the same time avoiding the charge of retreat and withdrawal from America’s global responsibilities to advance human rights and protect the victims of tyranny. The overthrow of Gaddafi was sanctioned by the U.N. and engineered by NATO, thus confirming the progressive belief that unilaterally pursuing national interests was, like nationalism itself, immoral, and that only transnational collective action sanctioned by international institutions was legitimate.

For a while the optics were good. A creepy psychopath was eliminated, no casualties were suffered, and a seemingly secular democracy was aborning. The idealism of democracy promotion, one bungled by the unilateral, trigger-happy George Bush, was indulged at little political cost, while the “legitimate” war, against al Qaeda, was being pursued just as cheaply with out-of-sight, out-of-mind drone killings, proving that Obama was no crypto-pacifist squish. Hence the foreign policy narrative peddled during the presidential campaign that al Qaeda was on the ropes and democracy was on the march.

The attack on Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11, eight weeks before the election, exploded that narrative. Al Qaeda and its affiliates were not on the ropes, but were growing and expanding, and could swiftly organize the sack of an embassy office and the murder of four Americans, including an ambassador, humiliating the infidel superpower. Libya was not a democracy-in-the-making, but a Darwinian tribal and sectarian jungle dominated by jihadists armed with the weapons we put in their hands when we destroyed the Gaddafi regime. The refusal to beef up security in Benghazi, which would have been an admission that things weren’t so rosy in the fledgling democracy, now looked like a political calculation that cost American lives. Worse yet, once more the idea that terrorism is a response to our bad behavior was exploded, as many of those Libyans we had liberated turned against us, just as thousands of Afghans and Iraqis have.

So of course the attack had to be spun into something closer to Obama’s foreign policy narrative: the attack was caused by a “spontaneous” protest against an Internet video insulting Mohammed. The administration knew this was a lie the day of the attack, but could not admit this repudiation of Obama’s foreign policy claims so close to the election, and so kept repeating the lie for two weeks, trusting the media spaniels to spin the attack and collude in the still on-going cover-up.

IRS Political Harassment

The IRS’s targeting of groups associated with conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status is a predictable consequence of the progressive narrative that conservatism is a form of neurosis, the lashing out of ignorant, violent “bitter clingers” against a changing world that challenges their racial privilege, economic power, and religious superstitions. The fondness of groups like the Tea Party for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution reflects this psychopathology, the desire to “turn back the clock” and restore their once exalted social and political position. As such, they are dangerous––and armed to boot––and so require monitoring by all right-thinking people who are progressing towards the utopia of “social justice.”

So it’s no surprise that IRS functionaries would create investigative rubrics like “Tea Party” or “patriot” that reflect these assumptions in order to guide them in their scrutiny of groups seeking tax-exempt status. These bureaucrats have absorbed the narrative from the mainstream media and popular culture, both of which are steeped in the two-bit pop psychologizing that passes for wisdom among those who fancy themselves the enlightened “anointed,” as Thomas Sowell calls them. Nor are they troubled at using the coercive power of the state to pursue these political agendas, for one of the most important progressive principles is that righteous ends can justify a whole range of brutal means.

Whether or not someone in the Obama administration directly ordered the IRS to pursue this partisan harassment is irrelevant. Like the Corleone family, the administration has a lot of “buffers.” No one had to be told, just as the progressives don’t have to tell anyone in Hollywood to make yet another movie or television show denigrating and demonizing corporations, conservatives, Christians, or the CIA. That is what’s so insidious about this ideology: it has permeated the minds of people to the point that unsavory actions advancing the cause are never questioned or doubted. In the progressive mind, dogma rules, not principle. Hence the righteous act to advance ideologically sanctioned political ends without bothering about coherent or consistent principle.

The AP Wiretaps

The Department of Justice’s trolling through 2 months’ worth of phone conversations of Associated Press reporters and editors in order to discover the source of a leak reveals another moral dysfunction of progressives: their noisy evocation of principles they routinely ignore when the other side is the victim. At the same time the AP and the ACLU have been loudly invoking the First Amendment and overusing the “chilling effect” cliché, the Departments of Justice and Education sent out a letter mandating that every college and university on the Federal dole have to institute speech codes that blatantly violate the Constitution. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, “The letter states that ‘sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature”‘ including ‘verbal conduct’ (that is, speech). It then explicitly states that allegedly harassing expression need not even be offensive to an ‘objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the same situation’—if the listener takes offense to sexually related speech for any reason, no matter how irrationally or unreasonably, the speaker may be punished.” As FIRE president Greg Lukianoff says, “The federal government has put colleges and universities in an impossible position with this mandate. With this unwise and unconstitutional decision, the DOJ and DOE have doomed American campuses to years of confusion and expensive lawsuits, while students’ fundamental rights twist in the wind.”

So two powerful federal bureaucracies wantonly jeopardize the free-speech rights and academic freedom of students and faculty in higher education –– sending an Arctic blast through the presumed bastion of the “free play of the mind on all subjects,” as Matthew Arnold put it –– and the media yawn. But let the Feds access some news-agency’s phone records to track down a leak that they claimed put our national security at risk, and the howling is deafening. No matter how specious the DOJ’s pretext or ham-handed its actions, they are certainly more respectable and defensible than the cooked-up crisis of sexual harassment in higher education, and the assault on those institutions’ core principle of academic free speech.

But that’s the modus operandi of the progressives. Democracy, human rights, free speech, individualism are all great when they serve the progressive agenda of growing the Leviathan state in order to coerce citizens into paying obeisance to the goals of “social justice.” If they don’t serve those goals, then the freedoms and rights of conservatives, Christians, capitalists, gun-owners, and other enemies of the state can be abused. But when it’s the progressives’ political ox that’s gored, then we hear the bellowing paeans to the First Amendment.

As these three scandals show, progressivism is a totalitarian ideology that seeks more and more power in order to institutionalize its dangerous ideas about human nature, the good life, and justice, and that considers any end advancing those ideas to be justified. Which brings us to the important questions––Will the voters see that these scandals are the signs of those failed ideas, and reverse our descent into big government’s “soft despotism”? Or will they just shrug them off as politics as usual?

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  • Dan Mesa/AZ

    'Libya was not a democracy-in-the-making, but a Darwinian tribal and sectarian jungle dominated by jihadists armed with the weapons we put in their hands when we destroyed the Gaddafi regime".

    That is the greatest sentence written in 2013, maybe the 21st century.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      And Egypt, don't forget about Egypt. Obama has his sites on Syria next too.

  • truebearing

    The Left worships power. They are addicted to power, and we all know that addiction is a progressive disease. It should come as no surprise that these things are happening. The more power the Lwft gets, the more they want, and the more they want to use that power to do what they always do with power: destroy anyone who opposes them.

    Just imagine health care under the jackboot of the IRS. A lot of conservatives will either be driven into the poor house or the grave.

    • Jim_C

      "Just imagine health care under the jackboot of the IRS."

      Here's the thing: I don't want to imagine that, but unless we get real about the need for universal coverage AND tort reform, and ask why our costs have been DOUBLE those in other countries for decades, we'll eventually get just that–and only that–republican or dem in office.

      • reader

        What does universal coverage have with tort reform? And what does tort reform have to do with IRS? Jim, the jig is up: you're a troll. Your interest in making this country work is phony. Your real agenda is to shill for Obama.

        • Jim_C

          They are two issues among others–chief of which is COST–that disappeared early from the health care debate. Universal coverage was ixnayed by Republicans, tort reform by the trial lawyers (Democrats). WHO pays was emphasized; how much we pay, and why, barely discussed. Morons discussed, and continue to discuss, "death panels," instead.

          And guess what else, reader? A few Republicans actually made themselves useful and proposed some plans. What happened to them? Squashed by their own leadership because any advance would be a feather in Obama's cap. That obstructionism was supposed to pay off in the next election, but Obama won handily.

          So instead of fixing our long-f***d system, now we have what we have, which is going to provide you less for more money. As we continue down that road if we don't get real about our needs, socialized medicine will be the ONLY option. I don't want it, either, but I'll have Republicans to thank for it.

          • pagegl

            You're partially correct. There is also the issue of lack of competition with government limiting who can sell what. That along with the outrageous costs inflicted on the health care industry by trial lawyers greed are probably the major factors.

          • Chezwick

            Jim,

            With you all the way on tort reform….litigation s a HUGE driver of healthcare costs. And you laid responsibility exactly where it belongs: The 'Trial Lawyers of America' are one of the largest donors to the Democratic Party.

            As for our "long f***d system, I think that's a total fallacy. The USA has (had?) one of the best health-care systems in the world. That's why Kings and potentates would come here for their heart surgeries.

            Yes, there were indeed millions who were uninsured, but the poor among them had access to Medicaid, so the only large group that was actually disenfranchised would be low-income earners working for small businesses that didn't provide health care….(those uninsured with middle incomes could readily afford individual/family HMO coverage).

            This problem could have been alleviated without a total overhaul of the healthcare system…and certainly without its federalization. At a time when entitlements are bankrupting our future, a brand new HUGE one is about to kick-in, thanks to Barry Obama and the liberals who worship him.

          • reader

            This is exactly right. The left intentionally conflates "universal coverage" – which we already had de facto – with the single provider system – which has proven to be a disaster everywhere it was tried. But they don't care, because in fact they don't care about health care. It's about driving toward socialism.

          • Jim_C

            Chezwick, we have the best health CARE. But I think we'd been kicking the system's problems down the road for decades. When you think about all the hidden costs, it's pretty staggering we'd made it this far. The time was right for a change, costs were going to balloon anyway, and unfortunately with the ACA we got something of a Frankenstein that really papers over problems while indulging entrenched interests.

            I am not looking forward to the ACA. I'm pretty sure it will undergo some major changes. But I do think having insurance should be mandatory. The countries are small, but I always thought the Swiss and Singapore had a great balance between universal coverage and private competition.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Most don't realize that medicare caused all sorts of distortions in the system. When you had the huge block of patients at a totally artificial reimbursement and unrealistic billing system it just passed the costs onto everyone else.

            Before that, Churches ran a significant hospital systems as a non profit simply as a way to serve society. Now? Not so much, thanks to government.

    • onecornpone

      A lot of conservatives will either be driven into the poor house or the grave.

      Exactly as planned tb. The "poor house" option is actually preferable to the Left. There are just too damn many of us who have accumulated more wealth than the average. Maneuvering us into a position whereby we will be happy to give up our fortunes in exchange for a chance for extended life, is the real aim. Leftist don't believe in private property ownership.

      We will be taxed to Kingdom Come for oCare, but for above average (third-world style) healthcare service we will be forced to seek treatment on what will amount to a black market, outside U.S. borders, paid for in cash.

  • Chezwick

    On Benghazi, the two most pertinent questions….

    Who ordered the US special forces stationed in Tripoli to "stand down" and why? Who ordered Susan Rice to spew her lies on the Sunday talk shows?

    On the IRS:…

    WHEN did the WH know of the targeting of conservative groups?….(did you see Barry deliberately dissimulate when asked this at the press conference? How was that for t"transparency"?) Who ordered the targeting? Who ordered the sharing of confidential information with POLITICO? What other liberal groups received confidential information?….(POLITICO has been the only one yet with the integrity to come forward, but rest assured, there are others).

    For any conservative who might think that a crippled presidency is not in America's national interest, you couldn't be more wrong. The crippling of THIS presidency is a reprieve against systemic failure.

    I don't know about you folks, but I''m absolutely giddy!

    • Dennis X

      Wow the repubicans altered the white house e-mails, who would have thought it, now I'm giddy.

      • Chezwick

        Don't have a clue what you're referencing Denny.

      • Lan Astaslem

        upset because the man child squatting in the WH is in hot water? poor denny

      • Mary Sue

        no, Obama altered them.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          It must have been Bush… Can't you hear them now chanting it?

        • Dennis X

          Actually the report at ABC caught the differences. Nice try.

    • Walt

      My one main question about all three scandals is one that no one seems to be willing to ask: Where was the PRESIDENT on the night of the Benghazi attack? As he seems to be "hands free" on dealing with the matter (even thought it was his responsibility), where was he and why wasn't he available? The Secret Service keeps a log on where he is 24-hours a day (I know this for a fact because I worked there for four years) and should be able to pin-point his every movement for the entire night.

      Any 'Executive Privilege' to obstruct the release of that information should be an impeachable matter!

    • digger

      I'm thinking it was Panetta. Another 60's leftist let run amok .

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Progressive ideology is a winner takes all mentality, and it is exclusionary as opposed to inclusive. And this is the piece which is missing from discourse, in so much as progressives use ridicule to silence all opposing thought. So by understanding Rules for Radicals one gains a clearer perspective of their game tactics.

    And as scandal after scandal unfolds, it is becoming increasingly clear how ruthless they are, even to the point of eschewing ALL rules of law, resulting in AG Holder & surrogates behaving as outlaws. So if one seeks to understand how we got from there to here, perhaps this will illuminate – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/05/15/regime-gone-w

    Leftist dogma IS the same world over! It leaps tall bounds and swims across oceans too.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • http://forbiddenterritories.com/profile/Isahiah62 isahiah62

      sadly they are not winners because they CHEATED & LIED to "win" they do not want to win anything- but they do want REVENGE on anyone who ever disagreed with them- real enemies of USA? not a problem for them, upholding the laws? nope not on the radar.
      Having read every ridiculous email from OFA during this last election, the language is laced with invective, with revenge fantasies,with punishment of those they dislike—>those of us who dared see their emperor never had any clothes

      • jlf0210

        We the people will never believe he WON the election….He stole it. There is nothing that he does that is above board….and we know that too. And never in our history has a man been more hated for his actions.

        • ziggy zoggy

          Leftism is a Western phenomenon. Non Westerners don't believe it exists, don't understand it or hold it in contempt.

          Don't take my word for it. Just check.

  • Herb Benty

    Why on earth do we let lefties use the word, Progressive, when what they mean is communism. Why don't we start openly calling them what they are? Do you really think they are going to let themselves to be voted out! They control the voting machines, the computers etc. They are in this to take over permanently people.

    • Spider

      "Why on earth do we let lefties use the word, Progressive, when what they mean is com-munism"
      Complacency that's why – for more than 40 years we have allowed them to control the language the culture and the topics of the debate – the complacency has to stop we simply have to fight back tooth and nail if we want our country back from the Com-munists I mean Progressives

    • Supreme_Galooty

      "Progressive" has been in use by the left for at least 100 years if not longer. At that time, it was a fairly accurate depiction. Now, if you accept the definition of "conservative" to mean someone who wishes to maintain the established order, that would apply to all liberals, communists, occupiers, and progressives.
      Today's true liberals are John Stossel/Ron Paul libertarians and tea partiers. Welcome to a wonderful world of universal "literacy" where simply being able to read advertising renders one literate.

      • Spider

        I am in total agreement with you on that – the modern day liberals are really conservatives – libertarians or constitutionalists..

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "I am in total agreement with you on that – the modern day liberals are really conservatives – libertarians or constitutionalists.."

          Well yeah, trying to conserve our traditional liberties.

    • Guest

      Who controls the voting machines? Is Diebold a secret left-wing front? Who knew?

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        And the union that services them.
        Reid stayed in the senate thanks to them.

      • Spider

        Joseph Stalin said "it doesn't matter who votes it only matters who counts the votes"

  • Michael Copeland

    Excellent and perceptive piece: thank you.

    • ltcdmward

      Ditto. Comprehensive too.

  • Lionel Mandrake

    I’m living in Obamastan.

    Did you see that photo of ‘Bama forcing a US Marine to hold an umbrella over him in violation of Marine regulations on Drudge?

    That’s right up there with ‘Bama putting his filthy feet on the desk in the Ovsl Office that Vanity Fair thought was so hip.

    The Kingdom of Jones is upon us and we will like it or be audited.

    • Andy the Spoiler

      Have you not seen the many pictures of G.W.Bush with his feet, also, on the historic oval office desk. I detest the Obama regime but, that point is utterly mute. I cannot image Reagan being caught dead with his feet on the resolute desk…….although, I did see a shot with him sitting on it. Oh, well…..feet…..ass……feet……ass…..hmmmmmmmm.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    Vee have vays.

    – The East German St-asi was founded on 8 February 1950. Obama's acts are chillingly similar.

    The Ministry for State Security also included the following entities:

    Main Administration for Struggle Against Suspicious Persons was charged with the surveillance of foreigners — particularly from the West — legally traveling or residing within the country. This included the diplomatic community, tourists, and official guests.

    Division of Garbage Analysis: was responsible for analyzing garbage for any suspect western foods and/or materials.

    Administration 12 was responsible for the surveillance of mail and telephone communications.

    Administration 2000 operated a secret, unofficial network of informants.

    Penal System: to facilitate its mission of enforcing the political security of East Germany, the St-si operated its own penal system, distinct from that of the Ministry of the Interior. This system comprised prison camps for political, as opposed to criminal, offenders. . ~ wiki

  • MikeWood

    I came across a great quote whilst reading James Burnham's "Suicide of the West" recently.

    "When I am the weaker, I ask you for my freedom, because that is your principle; but when I am the stronger, I take away your freedom, because that is my principle." Louis Veuillot

    We see Muslims and Leftists playing this game over and over.

  • Flowerknife_us

    Fundamental Change is an all encompassing concept. Whatever was, is now the opposite. Take any action of this Administration and your bound to see a 180 degree turn.

    These "scandals" are just a few markers on the road to Slavery through the Health care bill. Like the old childhood game of connect the dots, connect them correctly and a pretty picture appears.

    Pretty awfull that is.

  • STEVE CHAVEZ

    "YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET." The current scandals are child's play compared to what's on the horizon. THE VOLCANO IS ABOUT TO BLOW. The magma has being brewing for years and would have calmed if Obama had not been re-elected.

    TRUE PATRIOTS in many departments, especially the CIA, AND NSA, know of Obama's true intentions concerning the Middle East, the Arab Spring, and the PC battle he is waging against any word or phrase that denigrates ISLAM. He can't call a spade a spade. He can't dare say "Muslim terrorist" even when that terrorist says his actions are for ALLAH.

    DICK CHENEY, who knows something, has spoken out on Hannity and he called Obama A LIAR involved in a COVER-UP. Donald Rumsfeld also is suspicious of Obama's intentions. Here are two men who have been in the inner circle for decades and they have made countless contacts inside every department. DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE ACTUALLY RETIRED and are watching soap operas and playing bingo at the Senior Center? THEY KNOW SOMETHING.

    ALL THESE SCANDALS have been brewing for years and when Obama committed fraud AGAIN and used sleazy tactics to win another term, the scandals were taken off the shelves but the MOTHER OF ALL SCANDALS is about to be revealed and I'm going to call it: "THE SCANDAL THAT BROKE THE CAMEL-JOCKEY'S BACK!"

    • gmon74

      What is it Steve? Is Obama finally going to come clean and show us his true Muslim identity? Is Capital Hill being infiltrated my Muslims under this administration? Is Obama going to sign away America's sovereignty to the UN? What is this "mother of all scandals?"

    • DonaldYoungsRevenge

      I will say it for ya Steve, the two year criminal investigation being conducted by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and lead investigator Lt. Mike Zullo has finally gotten some VIPS to do their own investigation of the mounds of evidence that these great patriots have gathered. Diana West has called it "the biggest fraud that was ever committed against the United States" and it about to explode unto the scene. The most dangerous "sleeper cell" in the US at 1600 Penn Ave is going down is a nuclear ball.

  • fiddler

    "“The letter states that ‘sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature”‘ including ‘verbal conduct’ (that is, speech). It then explicitly states that allegedly harassing expression need not even be offensive to an ‘objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the same situation’—if the listener takes offense to sexually related speech for any reason, no matter how irrationally or unreasonably, the speaker may be punished.”

    This is the FACE of facism! Joseph Goebbells would be proud.

  • http://twitter.com/theoprinse @theoprinse

    "Islamic jihadist terror is a response to Western historical crimes against Muslims, rather than an expression of Islamic theology.". I agree denying the first half but disagree with the second half that Islam doctrine is the entire story.

    Anti-Islam struggle comprises three primary issues:

    1. The ideology of Islam is indivisible and because Islam is not a religion but a military doctrine, Islam in reality is an indivisible murderous military doctrine

    the mass media – since their embedding in the first Iraqi war and Hollywood since Tom Cruise – are now part in this anti-US dictatorship regime within the US.

    2. Left wing religious circles of the English (and Scottish) church in the latter half of the 19th century at the top in the leadership of the Christian World Council of Churches http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olav_Fykse_Tveit and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_Chri… deny claim 1. and recognize falsely precisely the opposite that Islam is a so-called Abrahamite religion … The Christian world churches DENY or better are in denial – through their own left wing Christian liberation theology or from the right wing by reason that the so-called primacy of faith would be compromised towards secularism when Islam were to denied being a faith etc. – that Islam in reality – under the said false pretext of religion – is a murderous military doctrine legitimated by quasi religion as well as 3. vervangingstheologie of substitutietheologie or Supersessionism (punitive, economic and structural), fulfillment theology, and replacement theology.

    3. In a lesser extent MI6, ISI FSB etc. but to a very great extent the US CIA or better circles within the CIA in connection to segments of the US political elite, representatives of the US arms and military complex and often the White House administration historically and in a complex manipulative way plays along with the Muslim terrorists. Leading circles in the CIA in connection with forces within the Pentagon and US arms industry and trade unions are also geopolitically and on a daily basis operationally at the forefront with intrigue and infiltrators and psy ops methods in Muslim terror against the Christian Jewish, infidel Westerners of the Free World

  • Supreme_Galooty

    Playing out in front of our very eyes is the proof that there is almost zero difference between today's American "liberal" and Lenin, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Pol Pot, and too many others who have murdered well over one hundred and fifty MILLION of their own people all in the name of the "Greater Good."

    Sarah Hall Ingram, who ran the "Get The Christians & Conservatives" branch of the IRS is now in charge of the Death Panel operation over at ObamaCare. Nervous yet, anyone?

    • Spider

      Yes the IRS is the New NKVD – Secret Soviet State Police

  • Jim_C

    I would say, enjoy this period of time, hope for new developments, and look forward to midterms–but don't hold your breath for results, because there is always an analog in the opposite party's administration, and power is such that both parties always want the opportunity to wield the same level of power as their opponents. Yeah, that was then, this is now…"Meet the new boss…"

    We know Bush's IRS investigated liberal groups, including Greenpeace, the NAACP, and everyone's favorite, ACORN, while conservative churches campaigned for his re-election with nary a look at their tax-exempt status. TEA party sprang up immediately as a reaction against Obama's presidency and were moving millions of dollars very rapidly–so if you were not outraged over what Bush's IRS did, then you'd have to give the same leeway, here. It ain't right, but if your job was to audit, you'd know that fact represented just as fertile territory as any liberal group.

    But I don't care who you are, the fact that administrations do this so routinely should be enough to make a liberal adopt a conservative stance toward the federal government, and if I were conservative, I'd be playing this angle to the hilt. It represents new life for what's best about the conservative cause. However, with the IRS chief fired, politically, where do you go from here?

    Benghazi…that is so going nowhere. Go ahead, give me a thumbs down, but unless there's a clear path to Obama or Clinton on the "stand down" order, I'd easily bet $100 on that. As far as the post-event spin goes, getting us into the Iraq War makes Benghazi look like tiddlywinks–complete with the press's failure to report critically.

    The AP thing is fun, because the press is ironically suddenly aware of the power of the feds, and liberals feel comfortable kvetching about Obama. Problem is, if there really were national security issues and intelligence assets involved, DoJ was right to look for leaks and within it's legal power to do so.

    • Pete

      One of the errors in assigning "moral equivalency" to TODAYS opposite parties, is that the Democrats have moved far to the Left, while the Republicans have moved to the Right. It is really incorrect to try
      to equate conservative administrations going after subversive Leftist-Progressive organizations with
      Leftist-Progressive administrations going after conservative organizations. It is 2 horses of different colors.

      ""Right-Conservative" today means that there is a movement to preserve the USA as it was founded and the principles and ideals it was based on, keeping America strong in many ways on the world stage as a leader and a force for good, so to speak.

      "Left-Progressive" today means diminishing those American principles and ideals and replacing them with a "social justice", "Socialist" blueprint to "Change" what America has been, into a weaker, diluted and more Global-UN sympathetic type country, where what was considered "The American Way", no longer exists.

      The Two are NOT morally or politically equivalent, and actually, this is the "Big Divide" that we see going on, even in Congress.

    • fiddler

      And Watergate? Perhaps history ought to be "kinder" to RMN? Or, should we start calling the president Barack Milhous Obama?

    • fiddler

      But Jim, don't you think this guy has really tried to intentionally wreak havock on this nation? His "fudamentally transform[ing]" effrort seems to be about cutting this nation "down to size" and not improving it. It is almost like he is trying to punish us for our "sins" and running up a bill is just part of that (after all elections have "consequences"). Don't you think he has (just kind of) gone over board spending his "adoration" capital? What really did he have to offer the nation when he was elected in 08? Really. What jobs did he create? What state did he govern? What real problems did he solve? What crisies did he LEAD people out of. We were duped (not all of us) because…. wait for it……. we felt guilty, and just maybe set aside our better judgement (hey we were hiring the president no less) because of PC. Sorry folks, but in my judgement BHO ain't like Justice Thomas, or Allen West. Two bad there weren't two African Americans we could have chosen from, but we got a radical. Sorry, I have other criteria for voting.

    • Looking4Sanity

      That's quite a case of Bush Derangement syndrome you've got there, Jim.

      The fact that you can attribute any of Oballah's misdeeds to George W. Bush after five years is very telling.

      The fact that you think ANY part of the last five years is "fun" proves what a sick and twisted little puppy you actually are.

      The fact that you are what you are proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that 3rd Party politics was doomed from the very start.

    • Maxie

      While you're having so much fun think about this: The core principles at stake here have not changed in the broad sense: Liberty or Tyranny. Under Obysmal we've leaped full bore toward tyranny with his Czardom as emblematic. The IRS scandal is one piece of this growing tyranny. IRS = KGB. The rest of your comment is just typical Leftist rationalization and not worth my time.

    • Mary Sue

      The difference is Greenpeace and those other groups were doing things that went against what they were listed as. Their particular designation rules prohibited some of the things they were doing.

      This was not the case with the conservative groups. They were actually applying for a status that WOULD allow them to do the things that Greenpeace etc were doing (except Greenpeace was in the WRONG category for it!)

      • welldoneson

        mary, we still have that problem with so many environmental groups in Canada, many of whom get huge coin from U. S. trust funds to pursue almost purely political goals. especially in terms of coal terminals, fish farms, and oil pipelines, we are seeing a scattergun approach that throws up each and every bit of boilerplate propaganda the left have wrung from their corruption of science.

        the goals is as I say, political, with a strong hint of protecting U. S. economic interests thrown in. As usual, the left have some rather striking rebuttals; they even equate their efforts (under environmentalist cover) to commit economic and political sabotage, with the investments by industry to create growth! This is of course the left's fatal flaw; their concern for ideology ends up making them sound foolish because in the final analysis, they are, quite simply, full of it.

  • Lionel Mandrake

    We are finished as a great nation. Obamastan equals a great big slum with a dumbed down population. It's objective is the displacement and replacement of the white majority.

    Sorry if the truth hurts you liar liberal maniacs with tattoos and nose-bones.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Yes. I'm afraid you're correct. Although…a thorough reading of Revelation would have led you to the same conclusion.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    RE: "What the Obama Scandals Reveal About Progressive Ideology"

    ……….ah, I know that answer! That the GOP leadership are a bunch of toothless NEO-Statists???

    • WilliamJamesWard

      I think they have teeth, hidden decaying fangs……………….William

  • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

    I would have preferred a conclusion that dubbed today's progressivism as statist and bureaucratic collectivist and even protofascist. But Thornton wrote a comprehensive picture of how we live now. On my objections to the word "totalitarian" see http://clarespark.com/2012/10/15/orwell-power-and…. There is still room for dissent in our country, and we still have two political parties, the internet and social media. When these go, I will agree that we are in full-throated fascism or a one-party dictatorship. The title of my blog is "Orwell, 'power', and the totalitarian state."

    • Spider

      I think we are already there in California – All of our houses of government are now "one party rule" super majorities and so any dissent does no good whatsoever – therefore effectively there is no dissent. As they say what happens in California will eventually happen to the rest of the country. I am not as optimistic as you are but I believe we must still fight on..

      • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

        This is true about California and it frightens me. But I'm not sure that California is the vanguard or model any longer for the rest of the country. I admire your fighting spirit.

      • pagegl

        Another reason why we need to keep the Californians out of Texas. We have basically a good thing going here and I fear if too many Californians move here they will turn Texas into what they're trying to escape. If they want to turn Texas into California perhaps they ought not move.

        • Mary Sue

          Mainly because Californian lefties are too stupid to figure out what it is they caused that they are escaping.

      • welldoneson

        California has ruined that which made it seem to be a leader, both by going to far and by being really, really out of it in the first place. For one thing, it's the home for much of the staunchly pro-Obama showbiz element, one of society's most destructive forces. These people value nothing but their own image and their money.

  • marios

    whatever name use by Dem's party to conceal their real face of neo-communists is irrelevant. They play with words and successfully. Progressive? Liberal? No, they are super cynical hypocrites neo-communists. I remember that Fox news liberal Bob Beckley responded to host mark that "people never forgot Obama's Cairo speech "USA is the biggest Muslim country"" : "People? They forget everything in one week." and his face expressed such scorn to people. How stupid are those who vote for Democrats who used them now and then destroy them as other. To survive we have to do something till it is too late. Yesterday Mark Levine call conservatives to become member of Tea party. We can register on http://www.teapartypatriots.org. Time to act!

  • Brujo Blanco

    This situation with the neo commies will end up hurting everyone. The Democrats that have become.commies will suffer with the rest of us. Obama wants to control the ecomomy, health care, speech, media, and every aspect of our lives. He has assumed.control over life.and death. If he succeeds at getting a third term I am convinced he will double down. Hitler established the template for.control. I would like to know if Obama will go for a third term without regard for the constitution. With all the voter fraud he will have the votes.

    • traeh

      Absolutely no way he will go for a third term. A third term is against the law, and probably even many Democrats would get nervous and queasy if he proposed to change the law to allow him another term.

      However, all bets are off if there is some huge terrorist incident much bigger than 9/11, or some other huge disaster. In such an extreme case, a state of emergency might be declared, and Obama conceivably stay in office — though I doubt it — beyond his allotted two terms.

  • Guest

    The "scandals" reveal nothing about whatever "progressive ideology" is.

    1. The emails that are the "evidence" of a coverup appear to have been
    doctored and don't reflect the WH's actual actions. There's no there, there.

    2. The IRS thing really does appear to have had nothing to do with the White
    House and, even more to the point, no conservative group was denied tax-free
    status. At least one liberal group was.

    3. The AP matter offers no special moral insight. This one seems to say more
    about the post-9/11 advance of America's security state and the responsibility
    for that lies very much with both major parties.

    • pagegl

      When asked if anyone in the WH know about the IRS issue Obama's response was rather evasive, "I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the (inspector general) report." He didn't answer the question asked, so, one has to wonder if it has nothing to do with the WH.

      • Guest

        Only if you're predisposed to that question. Sometimes words mean exactly what they say.

        • reader

          So, your defense is that you elected an oblivious idiot? Looks pretty desperate to me, contrary to what you're trying to emanate. Viktor Suvorov once made a comment about the Soviet "official" historians along the lines that they appear to behave exactly the same way as accused thieves behave in criminal court, with sudden memory lapses and plummeting IQ. Very cogent parallel.

    • Mary Sue

      sure it does. It reveals something about the progressive ideology of the employees in question, that they think that they have a right to interfere in the politics of others who do not share their views, and hinder them unlawfully.

      • Guest

        That's nonsense, Mary Sue. We don't know anything about the employees in question. Still less do we know about their putative ideology.

        Read the actual news coverage–besides, none of the organizations were denied tax exempt status.

        • traeh

          But the organizations were asked outrageous questions by the IRS, were they not, and their tax-exempt status was delayed, sometimes for long periods of time, no?

          There is a story on this website — that says some conservative organization could not get tax exempt status for 14 months, then changed its name to a liberal moniker, and got tax exempt status in 3 weeks.

        • Mary Sue

          It's a safe bet that if the employees were NOT liberal, they would not have done what they did.

    • candy

      The Benghazi emails were edited by the CIA & State Department . They were released by the WH. Where do you come up with doctored? By who?
      Patrick Kennedy – Clinton's underling made the decision to not send in help,despite the fact the CIA from Tripoli arrived after the 1st attack and evacuated the injured, still no help was sent in. This allowed the second attack at the annex to occur. We have troops and bases all over the world,including in Italy – 1 hour away from Benghazi . Those people were abandoned for 7 hours.
      The WH watched the attack on video feeds from the compound,the annex and drones. They received over 400 emails prior to and during the attack,they did nothing.
      Then they blamed a youtube video clip for the attack.

      The IRS held up many assumed Conservative applications for up to 2 years . They didn't answer the applicants when they contacted them about delays. The IRS demanded answers to personal questions about everything from applicants children to what they said in their prayers. How is that relevant to taxes?

      The AP was not accused of a crime.They were not under suspicion or charged with anything. They were not asked about their sources or questioned about anything .They violated no laws to justify a broad ranging phone search that included over 100 employees,work,home and cell phone searches.
      The government has no right to access mass quantities of private info just because they feel like it or don't like a story. The government KNEW what the article contained days before it was published.

      • candy

        Btw the youtube video excuse was used on public tv and news programs ,so where is it in the emails?
        It isn't . The tv interviews were flat out lies.

      • Guest

        ABC released emails about Benghazi that were doctored by GOP staffers. This has been pretty thoroughly reported.

  • http://oldschooltwentysix.blogspot.com/ oldschooltwentysix

    Good article. My answer to the last question: They will just shrug them off as politics as usual.

    It must get worse still before it will get better.

    Each side is responsible for the state we are in.

    Lukianoff talks of the Mutz paradox, which helps to explain the divide.

  • RAS

    Get ready for the black leather trench coats. These guys are behaving more and more like the tyrants that tried to destroy the world in WWII. We had a friend, an old army veteran, that used to visit his impoverished sisters in Germany in the late thirties. In a bar one evening, he was discussing his concern over the rise of Hitler. Soon there were two black trench costs standing behind him who escorted him outside. He was told to get on the boat to America the next morning and never come back or he would end up in jail. Apparently, their progressive idea of free speech didn't include healthy criticism or debate either. Pay attention my friends, pay very strict attention.

  • Maxie

    Excellent exposition of the Left's hypocritical and irrational behaviors in action. The Left's notorious Double Standard, its infuriating demagogeury and knee-jerk projective accusations all issue from this irrationality. It is an irrationality that unwittingly labors to bring-about "social justice" by making the masses equally miserable in a subsistence level society.

  • Cal conservative-

    I think the comments concerning how noone in the IRS would have viewed this as wrong are accurate and telling. I work for a local government and so most of my co-workers are liberals and it is always interesting to observe how things that should raise questions don't because of the liberal assumptions they possess. I assume that if conservatives dominated a governement entity you may get the same effect at least to some extent. But mostly since all these "weird" Tea Party people who believe in the "Constitution" and who don't believe that every societal problem can be solved by more government programs and taxes are so OBVIOUSLY deluded, it is easy for bureaucrats to take these tyrannical actions and think nothing of it. I see it often, although thankfully in our county, on a much smaller and less intrusive scale.

  • mlcblog

    I really do need Front Page and Michael Savage and a few others to help me put it all in perspective. I have taken to watching the leftie BBC news, too, just to get a sense of things. I love to skip around and visit other news but our New News Media, to use a Breitbart phrase, can't be beat right now.

  • mlcblog

    What about working through the Repub party? that is how the Commies took over, they worked through the Dem Party. I watched it. They started in 1930, imagining and testing what would work, having come over here from Europe and the vile roots of it following. Then I watched as my own family became influenced as "active" Dems who wanted to make a difference.

    Other options?

    One on one is very effective. We need to all be honing our skills to influence others.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      I think Americans considered Communism in the past tense but alas here is Obama and
      using every dirty Commie trick ever exposed. I think that his administration never buys
      into anything but is behind almost everything we see as wrong and upsetting. Leftists
      have been undermining America that I know of since Franklin Roosevelt and history
      bears out this but who today in America's educational system touts history, it is almost
      as if there was none but the leftist revisionist fantasies demeaning America and
      free enterprise that built individual responsibility with a moral base……………..William

  • Gordon

    Question about Benghazi, years ago, as a Marine I, and many others spent 6 months sailing on the Mediterranean Sea, acting as a ready reaction force. We drilled continually on protecting, reenforcing, or evacuation of US Embassies and Consulates. Does anyone know where the deployed Marines were and why they did not respond?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Does anyone know where the deployed Marines were…"

      Not yet.

      "…and why they did not respond?"

      Seriously? The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. That's why.

    • http://forbiddenterritories.com/profile/Isahiah62 isahiah62

      practicing holding umbrellas for the king? /sarc

    • Drakken

      The Marines were stationed outside Egyptian waters waiting to evac our embassy staff there, the NCOIC and the OIC of the embassy( Egypt) were relieved after all was said and done because they refused to obey the idiot ambassador who wanted to let the embassy fall to the crowd. They could have been on the ground in Libya in a matter of hours but the State Dept and the DOD were afraid to push the envelope, talk about the most risk averse bunch in charge these days.

  • Ellman

    "…that only transnational collective action sanctioned by international institutions was legitimate."

    I take it that 'international institutions' are the modern equivalent of the 'gods on Mount Olympus'? Do not the international institutions consist of mere mortals (human beings) no less than their 'national' counterparts? Or does the term 'international' somehow transform a ordinary collection of human beings into all-knowing gods qualified to rule over mankind as if it were a herd of goats?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "I take it that 'international institutions' are the modern equivalent of the 'gods on Mount Olympus'? "

      Yes, to leftists. Precisely. Except that these gods are worse than mythical.

      "Or does the term 'international' somehow transform a ordinary collection of human beings into all-knowing gods qualified to rule over mankind as if it were a herd of goats?"

      People are programmed by leftists to think that nationalism causes conflicts because there's no central, final authority to adjudicate. Global sharia? At least it's one law we can all live by, right?

  • Ellman

    "Will the voters see that these scandals are the signs of those failed ideas, and reverse our descent into big government’s “soft despotism”?

    Interesting and important question to which, unfortunately, no one has the answer, nor can have the answer to. The answer also depends on which voters one is referring to in the question. The voters who listen to the mainstream media, Hollywood stars, music entertainers and the like will doubt and disbelieve anything which impugns Obama's image in their eyes. They are members of a cult which adores and worships Obama as if he were a god. As the IRS scandal has revealed, the government has hindered and suppressed alternative voices and views of the Obama regime quite effectively. We may have, therefore, arrived at a turning point in which soft tyranny will continue to harden, where the Left's approach of slaying opponents by a thousand small cuts will eventually produce a totalitarian system -which, quite frankly, is the only system that can ever effectively achieve its goals – that can be undone only by revolution.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Will the voters see that these scandals are the signs of those failed ideas, and reverse our descent into big government’s “soft despotism”?

      No. They'll see this as a setup contrived by the "vast right-wing conspiracy." They truly don't care because there is no objective source of morality and the Democrats are their team. It never occurs to them that they too will pay a price. A very high price. When that happens, they'll just still deny fundamental facts and want to try all over again.

      Just ask them what they think of Soviet Communism. You'll see.

  • buddy

    'Libya was not a democracy-in-the-making, but a Darwinian tribal and sectarian jungle dominated by jihadists armed with the weapons we put in their hands when we destroyed the Gaddafi regime".

    That is the greatest sentence written in 2013, maybe the 21st century.

    EXCEPT ITS NOT COMPLETE

    Even if what replaces Gadafi is worse. Gadafi was bad and needed to go. Governments need to be changed, when they're bad. And if Libya needs to get worse before it gets better. Then tough cookies. We get what we deserve and that's about it.

    The only morality is one based on a man's right to his life. And it's neither free or easy. Or cheap.

  • singerobras

    I agree………………

    http://jenismesinjahit@gmail.com

  • barry x

    “barry X, the abandoned b a s t a r d of an illicit union between a deranged, teen aged, communist w h o r e and malcolm X, has his instructions from london to permanently destroy America and her economy via debt, debase her currency, euthanize the greatest generation, demoralize her military via homosexuality, exhaust it in a wild goose chase in the “graveyard of empires”, and disarm it via fiat. He does hate America, especially White America, and does love his works of treason and destruction. It is through this that all his actions may be understood.

    I hope the military honors their oaths, steps up and eliminates this a s s h o l e. This son of a w h o r e is the walking definition of a “domestic enemy” and we won’t sit still anymore for his treason.

    NEVER EVER forget the mainstream media that conspired to foist this muslim nation wrecking b a s t a r d on America is responsible. They intentionally sold us this traitor.

    The demokratik soviet is comprised of 22% of the population (blacks, jews, queers, transgenders, illegals, communists, muslims and abortionists) An amalgam of misfits tied together by nothing more than malevolent envy and hate for Property Rights and Natural Law.

    This man is actively destroying an America he was raised to hate, is supported by communists in the media and must be neutralized for the good of all.

    It should be considered that barry soetoro is a communist or muslim plant groomed to completely destroy America from within.”

    -written 4+ years ago. author unknown

    • reader

      "The demokratik soviet is comprised of 22% of the population (blacks, jews, queers, transgenders, illegals, communists, muslims and abortionists) An amalgam of misfits tied together by nothing more than malevolent envy and hate for Property Rights and Natural Law."

      Nazis are not exactly the Property Rights and Natural Law champions, Goebbels. Get lost.

  • Marvin Fox

    I wonder how much of the IRS hyper activity to monitor conservative people and political opinion was begun in the Democratic Party "Analyst Project" that collected the personal data to get Obama elected President. This is new to me, and to most others. It seems the Analyst Project collected a massive amount of data on the electorate. They used the collected data and behavioral science to manipulate the electorate so Obama's election would be the beneficiary of this new election science. I sounds like the technical perfection of dirty politics.
    I wonder how many constitutional violations were made in the collection of the IRS data and the data collected for The Analyst Project.
    Marvin Fox

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The Benghazi coverup was and Obama/Clinton production and they bought into only one
    thing, lies cover them and are just fine, truth be damned……………….William

  • petia

    call every politician in america and demand to sue,criminalize and refuse obamacare. texas and sc congradulations

  • mlcblog

    Scary. I hope many people get the true ramifications of this and can see past the propaganda machine.