Jonah Goldberg

Even now, the Cynic-in-Chief admits that his "highest priority" is neither economic growth nor job creation, but reducing income inequality. In fairness, he says he wants to reduce inequality through something called "middle-out" economic growth taxing the wealthy (again). But my hunch is that the highest priority for those without work is ... work. While the president's highest priority is to exploit resentments.

But most cynical of all is Obama's contempt for the "phony scandals" that have plagued him. Which ones are phony, exactly? The Justice Department's monitoring of journalists was sufficiently outrageous that Obama ordered the attorney general to review DOJ policies. Why do that if the concerns were phony? When a few rogue IRS agents in Cincinnati were alleged to have deliberately targeted conservative groups, Obama said it would be "outrageous" if those allegations were proven true. But when that cover story is proved a deliberate lie from an IRS official in Washington, and it's revealed thanks to Congressional oversight that the policy actually went all the way to an Obama political appointee, the scandal suddenly becomes "phony." Odd how that works.

On the NSA wiretapping revelations, I agree with Obama that it is not necessarily a scandal but a significant policy dispute. Then again, many of the people who think widespread secret electronic surveillance is scandalous happen to be members of Obama's base. He can have that argument with them.

Finally, there was last year's Sept. 11 attack on our Benghazi compound and the president's response to it. The White House has long said this was a phony scandal. They also said that the deadly attack was sparked by a YouTube video, until that was proven to be a lie. That deliberate deceit sparked a national conversation about whether we needed to give savages a heckler's veto on American free-speech rights.

But that's the theme of this entire presidency. Others -- Washington, the Republicans, the Constitution, the global economy, Bush, et al. -- are always to blame. In 2014, alas, cynicism won't be on the ballot. He'll be in the White House.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Jonah Goldberg's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.