Bob Barr

If Richard Nixon were alive today, he would likely be fielding midnight phone calls from Barack Obama. Not since Richard Nixon was driven from office by the Watergate scandal four decades ago, has the American public been privy to such an unfolding spectacle of scandal and corruption in a presidential administration. From “Operation Fast and Furious,” to the Benghazi debacle and cover-up, to the IRS harassment of conservative organizations, to the Department of Justice campaign against the Associated Press, and now reports the Department has used its power to intimidate FOX News reporters -- the hits just keep on coming.

In a strange sense, the Obama administration may consider it a benefit that the hits are coming all at the same time. Like ripping off a Band-Aid in one quick swoop, the sting, while intense, happens all at once. It probably is Obama’s hope that the notoriously short attention span of the American public will soon shift attention from his “Watergate,” to the latest celebrity gossip. Though, he would be well advised not to hold his breath.

The sheer magnitude and scope of the unconstitutional – and likely criminal -- misconduct occurring within the Administration is not likely to dissipate soon, especially if congressional investigators uphold their duty to hold the Executive Branch accountable.

However, it is Democrats, not only Obama, who should be sweating the heat of the national spotlight. Allegations of unchecked arrogance, corruption and abuse of government power are reflective not only of the Chicago-style politics practiced by Team Obama – a regimen that leverages intimidation and extra-legal tactics to ensure absolute adherence to its agenda. Rather, the scandals cast a bright and harsh light on partisan actors, both inside and outside the Administration, who allowed such reprehensible behavior to flourish to the point at which the entire federal government appears over run with abuse.

The position in which the Democratic Party now finds itself is not just a PR nightmare; it is an existential crisis that forces its adherents to examine the very meaning of what they purport to stand for in politics. The core of the liberal philosophy that drives the Democratic Party is a belief that government, specifically Big Government, is a force for good in society. In this world view, “Government” can be a leader, innovator, humanitarian, and protector of vulnerable classes of citizens. The lynchpin of this fundamental political philosophy, however, is trust; citizens must trust that the government is ethical and moral, in order for them to willingly surrender the rights and freedom necessary for the liberal vision to become manifest.

This is why the behavior of the Obama Administration should deeply concern Democratic leaders. Not only do the scandals -- which have beset some of the largest and most powerful federal agencies -- undermine the premise that Big Government can be trusted; they effectively validate every argument from conservatives and libertarians that Big Government itself is a force to be feared. If the Obama Administration is supposed to be the standard bearer of “Good Government” -- as our current Commander in Chief claims it to be -- what do these serial scandals reveal about the Democrats’ core mission to create more of this so-called “good government?”

Democrats have been called-out at High Noon, and they have but two options. They can either join with Republicans to honestly investigate these matters, without malice or political motive, in order to uncover the truth; then take necessary actions, which may include removing high ranking officials (even Obama) from their positions – and ultimately claim credit for fixing the problem. Or, they can spin the facts, and obstruct congressional investigators at every turn, in an attempt to prevent the truth from being known. Truth or politics – that is the choice they face. Unfortunately, this probably is not even a close call for most Democrats in Congress.

The contempt the Obama Administration has shown for the Constitution, as well as for the very social contract under which free men subject themselves to the rule of law, is a serious matter. One U.S. Ambassador, three American security personnel and a Border Patrol agent already have died amidst the scandals going back to “Operation Fast and Furious.” The sacred right to a free press is under attack. And, the Obama Administration appears to have used its political and administrative power to silence political opponents through harassment and intimidation.

These actions are not the machinations of some mysterious “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” concocted by the Tea Party movement. Rather, they reflect a systematic and deliberate use of government resources to strong-arm a political agenda into existence. It threatens everything we, as Americans, hold sacred, and shakes the confidence in our government that binds the nation together. Obama once said if the people cannot trust their government to get the job done, then “all else is lost.” Well . . . here we are.


Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.