The Corner

Politics & Policy

The WikiLeaks Bust Was Conservative Scandal Obsession in a Microcosm

In response to Would Be Nice…

One of the most frustrating things about conservative activism in the age of Obama is the obsession with the revelation that’s always just over the horizon. In other words, there is a conviction that the bad facts we know can’t be half as bad as the bad facts that we haven’t yet discovered. I’ve written about this before, but the examples are legion. The Tea Party scandal was outrageous on its own terms. The IRS systematically targeted conservative groups and individuals for extraordinary scrutiny, subjecting them to searching inquiries merely because they were exercising their core First Amendment rights to advocate for limited, constitutional government. But to some, the actual facts became far less important than the desperate quest to find some way, any way, to tie it all right back to the Oval Office. 

The Benghazi debacle should have disqualified Hillary Clinton from the presidency. There is abundant evidence that her State Department reduced security in a time of heightened risk, and then — after the undermanned outpost was overwhelmed — she participated in the administration’s shameful campaign of deception and obfuscation. And all this took place against the backdrop of the general collapse of the Libya policy she championed. Her signature foreign policy effort was and is an abysmal failure. But that’s not enough. Instead, it’s not a “real” scandal until — what? — we find evidence that Hillary and Obama were laughing and eating lobster while Americans fought and died on foreign soil? 

It’s the “just you wait” mentality. Just you wait until you see how bad these people really are. Just you wait until the mask really drops. I can’t think of a mindset better calculated to let the Left escape the consequences of corruption and incompetence. And so last night my Twitter timeline lit up with gleeful “just you waits” — until once again it was all a bust and once again America was left with the Hillary we already know. 

It is imperative for both government officials and diligent journalists to investigate known wrongdoing and follow the evidence where it leads, but obsession with unknown evidence helps discredit legitimate causes. Conspiracy theories have costs, and the conservative movement is bearing those costs today.

 

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