Obama’s Ethical Gymnastics

His morality is to be judged by his professed aims, not his means of achieving them.

Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

…What is the short-term effect of such postmodern ethical behavior? Not much. The media will determine publicly that the Benghazi, IRS, AP, and Fox scandals, to the extent that they remain in the public view much longer as scandals, were the products of overzealous subordinates, while privately concluding that too much public attention to them might aid the illiberal agenda of conservative Republicans. Thus the better — indeed, the more moral — course is to let the scandals go the way of Fast and Furious and Solyndra.

I think their reasoning, to the degree it is ever consciously examined, goes something like the following: Is pursuing a rogue IRS or a John Mitchell–like attorney general really worth wounding the second term of a reelected liberal president? Do we really need another Watergate or Iran-Contra, when the possible outcome this time around is not stopping the regressive efforts of a Richard Nixon or a Ronald Reagan, but rather endangering the political survival of the first black president, and the first northern liberal to be elected president since John Kennedy a half-century earlier — and, with him, a long-overdue progressive agenda that so far has given us needed higher taxes, socialized medicine, more entitlements, and liberal social initiatives?…

…Obama is not inherently more amoral than his predecessors, only more exempt from charges of amorality. He appreciates that this latitude has never been extended to any other president in modern memory. The result is that there is no longer such a thing as presidential ethics.

Read the complete essay at National Review Online.

Also at the site, The All-Seeing State: The inevitable corruption of the permanent bureaucracy, by Mark Steyn

…It took Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina to get to the heart of the matter: “With all due respect, this is not a training issue,” he said. “This cannot be solved with another webinar. . . . We can adopt all the recommendations you can possibly conceive of. I just say it strikes me — and maybe it’s just me — but it strikes me as a cultural, systemic, character, moral issue.”

He’s right. If you don’t instinctively know it’s wrong to stay in $3,500-a-night hotel rooms at public expense, a revised conference-accommodations-guidelines manual isn’t going to fix the real problem…


Update: At ABC News, An Imagined Letter from President Obama to President Bush

…I am sorry for all my overheated rhetoric about your administration not being transparent and saying my administration would be the most transparent in history and most open to the media. Boy, was I off on that one, and certain reporters at the Associated Press and Fox News don’t seem to understand why we might put them under secret scrutiny.

Well, George, that is probably all you have time for, and I hope you accept my apology. You can take heart that, even though I am a Democrat, I decided to keep going nearly all your vision and plans on national security and even take it to all-new levels.

One day, I hope someone can follow a path as president that doesn’t constantly use the ends to justify the means…


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