Why did Wall Street get off easier than the AP and IRS?
For those of us who have long wondered why the Justice Department never investigated Wall Street, the Associated Press subpoena scandal illustrates a key point: The Justice Department sets priorities based on what it hears from the White House. When the White House wanted to identify and prosecute leakers of classified information, Justice sprang into action and used extremely aggressive tactics. "I make no apologies" President Obama said today, for being concerned about leaks. READ MORE >>
Post-Newtown, our "national conversation" on guns has taken two strikingly divergent paths. On the one hand, much of the punditry and Washington political establishment is already lapsing into the resigned assumption that yet again, nothing much will come of our initial outrage over the horror of children being cut down by big guns with big clips, even before Joe Biden announces the administration's gun-control proposal this week. The gun lobby is just too strong, and the popular resistance to major new firearms restrictions just too ingrained, for reform to happen. At the same time, though, several high-profile Democrats who've been mentioned as 2016 presidential contenders are betting on a different read of the situation. As they see it, Newtown has truly changed things, making it not just politically feasible to broach new constraints, but perhaps even politically imperative.Last week, there was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, tapping some of his father's moral fervor in a rip-roaring call to make his state a pioneer in gun control: "No one hunts with an assault rifle. End the madness now." He has since reached a deal with state legislators to further restrict assault weapons in the state, limit magazine clips to seven rounds and toughen background checks. Not to be outdone, Cuomo's potential 2016 primary foe, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who made his name running against gun violence in Baltimore, let slip that he, too, will be announcing a major package of new regulations, including the nation's strictest gun-licensing requirements and a ban on assault weapons. And don't forget Colorado's John Hickenlooper, another Democratic prospect who, in the more hostile political terrain of the West, is now calling for instituting background checks on all gun sales, including private person-to-person ones.What are we to make of this? Are we back to the Democratic Party circa 1984, with candidates trying to outflank each other to the left to win the affections of the liberal base, with ominous consequences for the eventual general election? Wasn't that what happened to the Democrats in 2000, when Bill Bradley, an ardent gun control proponent, helped drag Al Gore to the left on the issue during the primaries, which helped lead to Gore's loss in Tennessee, Arkansas and West Virginia, any one of which would have put him over the top in the Electoral College? READ MORE >>
“It’s one thing to adopt the euphemisms that suggest we are no longer engaged in a war….Just remember it is a serious step to begin unraveling some of the very policies that have kept our people safe since 9/11.” – Former Vice President Dick Cheney admonishing President Obama, May 2009 READ MORE >>
Among the more curious aspects of Eric Holder’s standoff with Congress over Fast and Furious, a gun-walking operation conducted between 2009 and 2011, is the air of conspiracy theorizing that hangs about it. Especially curious is that some of the most paranoid theorizing finds its source not in far-off Internet chat rooms, but in a well-appointed office building in northern Virginia—the headquarters of the National Rifle Association, the country’s biggest firearm lobbying organization. READ MORE >>
Just the other day, someone wrote this: The United States of America has a black President whose chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder, is also black. They have a lot of political power. So how are they using it? Well, one way is to assert to black audiences that voter ID laws are really attempts to disenfranchise black Americans. And liberals think Donald Trump's birther fantasies are offensive? And this: READ MORE >>
President Obama’s announcement that he supports same-sex marriage may have had an immediate impact on political discourse, but the same can’t be said of its implications for constitutional jurisprudence. For those hoping for a forthright defense of constitutional protections for gay rights, Obama’s announcement seemed to raise more questions than it settled. READ MORE >>
-- Jason Zengerle takes on the right's hatred of Eric Holder -- Steve Benen recalls when Republicans loved the idea of disclosure in campaign finance. READ MORE >>