by Jay Nordlinger

1. Not long after the election, an extremely learned friend of mine, whom I have not thought of as a close student of American politics, said, “Don’t you worry, Jay: The Obama administration will founder on the shoals of its corruption. This is a deeply corrupt administration.”

I was polite, but regarded the comment as kind of strange. In the past few weeks, I’ve thought, “Holy-moly, Fred, how did you know?”

2. Obama gives us a pattern. He advises Hispanics to say, “We’re gonna punish our enemies,” and you think, “Well, that’s merely one line. Not every wording is perfectly felicitous. Don’t take everything so seriously or literally.” Then he says, “Voting is the best revenge,” and you think, “Well, heat of the moment. We all say things that have a sharper edge than we may mean.”

But Obama’s remarks add up. And then you may think, “Holy-moly — the guy really hates us, and intends to grind us into dust.”

2.5. In the past four years, I’ve often had occasion to say, “Maybe ‘fundamentally transform’ wasn’t just a piece of campaign hyperbole. Maybe the man meant exactly what he said, you know?”

I’ve also said, and written, “What part of ‘fundamentally transform’ didn’t you understand?”

3. A thought experiment for you: What if Romney were president now? Would that help us understand more about the Benghazi, IRS, and media-hunting scandals? I think so: The agencies would be more forthcoming with information, would they not?

But my colleague John Fund made an interesting point when I brought this up with him. A Romney administration might well say, “This is old business, the country wanted change, we are through with the Obama administration, let’s move on.”


4. I am so grateful for a separation of powers — and for the fact that the Republicans have one chamber of the legislative branch. If we had zip — not the White House, not the Senate, not the House — this would be a lot, lot harder. A White House cover-up would be much easier, I believe.

5. What does a Watergate — a scandal, or stew of scandals, on a par with Watergate — require? I think it requires, for one thing, an adversarial press. A press determined to bring the administration down.

Not the case with Lewinskygate — they were more interested in bringing Starr down — and almost certainly not the case here.

6. You have to forgive people their paranoia now (if paranoia it be). People such as tea partiers are trying to make Washington less powerful. They are trying to spur greater adherence to the Constitution. They are trying to carve out greater space for individuals and civil society. And how does Washington react? How, specifically, does the IRS react? By trying to crush them.

As I said yesterday, American life resembles more and more an Ayn Rand novel. The old gal was at least part seer.

7. Obama has been called “Nixonian” for years now, but I’m beginning to think that’s not entirely fair to Milhous. Perhaps we should say, from now on, that Nixon had an Obamesque streak.

8. Reading Jillian’s piece today, about how the assembled powers of the government set out to ruin a woman who seems to be a sterling citizen, I thought of a WFB word: “totalist.” The government must never practice the politics of totalism. Political opponents must remain political opponents, instead of enemies of the state, sub-citizens to be destroyed.

There’s only one thing that can stop Obamite excesses: the people. The people elected and reelected this gang. If they want to stop the excesses, they will. If they don’t — we’re probably stuck with them.