Bureaucratic Rot
A government, like a fish, decays from its guts


‘The fish rots from the head down” is a popular saying these days, mostly among people who do not fish and who, apparently, have never met a fish.

“The fish rots from the head down,” say folks on television and in agitated blog posts about the recent cascade of scandals that have beset the Obama administration. The scandals are all of a sneaky piece, too: lying, spying, cover-upping, political strong-arming. They all have been minimized by a lickspittle press that looks the other way, and at least two of them — the flagrant persecution of conservative political groups by the IRS and the EPA — manage a kind of paranoid’s trifecta: They involve powerful and unregulated government agencies acting on the implicit orders of a furiously partisan White House against a collection of citizen-activists who already think the government is out to get them.

July 1, 2013    |     Volume LXV, No. 12

Books, Arts & Manners
  • Jay Winik reviews Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream -- And How We Can Do It Again, by Rich Lowry .
  • Charles J. Cooper reviews Saving Justice: Watergate, the Saturday Night Massacre, and Other Adventures of a Solicitor General, by Robert H. Bork.
  • Daniel Johnson reviews Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership, by Conrad Black.
  • John Avlon discusses the friendship between William F. Buckley Jr. and Murray Kempton.
  • Ross Douthat reviews The Bling Ring.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .