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Only one of four Obama scandals matters

This is the point in a two-term presidency where scandals pop up their heads like meerkats in the Kalahari Desert. Bad things happen in a first term that come to light in the second.

President Obama has outdone himself by providing four scandals to choose from:


* Fast and Furious, an operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that provided guns illegally to Mexicans in hopes of tracing the weapons back to druglords. The weapons have been traced to the deaths of hundreds, including U.S. border agent Brian Terry.


* Benghazi, in which a group linked to al-Qaeda killed our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans last Sept. 11. The administration lied about this attack so much that the president's nose should be so long by now that he could touch Chicago from the White House.

* The War on the Press, which includes subpoenaing phone records of The Associated Press.

* The Internal Revenue Service's harassment of Tea Party groups.

History shows that of the four, the president need only worry about the last one, which is why mouths at the IRS are so closed you couldn't slip a pea through their lips.

Fast and Furious is reminiscent of the Iran/Contra scandal under President Reagan.

Iran/Contra sounded very foreign, and when it comes to foreign policy, Americans usually defer to the commander-in-chief.

I do not know if that is indifference or a realization that there could be more to the story than can be disclosed to the public and the world.

Also Obama found the perfect patsy for Benghazi: Hillary Clinton, who as secretary of state made a nice potted plant.

The War on the Press will not cost Obama his job.

But the War on the Press hurt Obama because it woke up the press, which has pretty much been his guard dog instead of a watchdog.

The press has ignored and even encouraged his lengthy battle with Fox News, home of his only consistent critics on TV.

Taking on The Associated Press changed the game. If the president is willing to go after the biggest dog in the house, no one is safe.

Obama woke up the press just as the one scandal that could hurt him hit the fan.

The IRS mess is so toxic that it has led to a revival of the tea party, an unfairly maligned group of people who can now say to critics: See, we told you so.

The government not only targeted the tea party, but the IRS leaked confidential information on 31 tea party groups to ProPublica, a self-styled investigative group that was founded by liberal California billionaires Herbert and Marion Sandler.

That information comes from ProPublica.

The press should not let this scandal slide.  

Article 2 of the proposed impeachment of President Nixon on July 27, 1974, included:

"He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner."

America will not impeach its first African-American president. But the buck stops at the president's desk and there should be a price paid for this abuse of power.

We shall see if that happens.

Surber's email is donsurber@daily


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