It must get confusing in the IT department at the Associated Press: Are you talking about the hackers who hacked our Twitter account or the Justice Department hackers who hacked our phones? Monday, the Associated Press reported that the Justice Department had secretly obtained two months of records of phone conversations by its reporters. Meanwhile, the Washington Post revealed that the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups was more widespread than first reported. Someone at the IRS also leaked information about conservative groups to ProPublica. The Environmental Protection Agency may also have made it easier for environmental groups to file Freedom of Information Act requests than conservative organizations.
The Obama administration is doing a far better job making the case for conservatism than Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, or John Boehner ever did. Showing is always better than telling, and when the government overreaches in so many ways it gives support to the conservative argument about the inherently rapacious nature of government.
First let’s get our terms straight. Conservatives are not the same as Republicans. The former believe in a philosophy which stays roughly fixed and the latter belong to a party that occasionally embraces the philosophy but deviates when necessary to win elections, pass legislation, and follow the selfish aims of those who are in office and want to remain there. Conservatives argue against the expansion of government, whereas Republicans sometimes enlarge it to please their constituents or themselves. Republicans also sometimes botch foreign policy operations and spin themselves silly in their aftermath, which is why the Benghazi revelations are left out of this grand unification theory.
Though some of these scandals will allow Republicans to score points in the daily tally of who is ahead and who is behind, there is a larger benefit to conservatives that goes beyond the fall in the president’s approval ratings or the boost Republican Senate candidates may get in 2014. Those outcomes rely on further adjudication of these issues. It may turn out that President Obama had nothing to do with any of them. It could simply be rogues in various agencies. Or, maybe President Obama orchestrated the whole kaleidoscope of wrongdoing on the White House whiteboard. You don’t have to embrace either of those theories to see that it’s much easier to agree with the conservative notion that government is a mess. We have enough evidence of that already.
Read more: slate.com