Tuesday, November 13, 2012
What's That Sound?
Do you hear it...?
That's the sound of VERY few (by recent historical standards) scandals happening within the Obama administration and, actually, even within the extended gov't (House and Senate) in general over the last four years.
It sort of reminds me of the day after 9/11 when you'd be outside and suddenly notice that something was significantly different and... missing, and you'd pause a second and realize... it's the ABSENCE of airplanes - the silence was jolting!
It feels sort of like that with Obama era scandals. Wow. We've had very few scandals the last four years! What's up with that?
Yes, there have been some. The "Fast and Furious" kerfluffle. This Petraeus thing, however it shakes out. Um... allegations of ineptitude in handling the Libya attack? The Secret Service/Colombia prostitute issue? Solyndra?
This website lists 400 scandals during George W Bush's eight years. But that particular site defines scandal pretty loosely. Included in that list is the "scandal" that Bush spent 35% of his time in office on vacation. I suppose that is scandalous in many ways, but it's not really what I'm thinking of as a "scandal."
Here is a more generous list that limits items to actions that, they say, "were the subjects of criminal probes, but we also included officials who were credibly accused of acts that, if not criminal, were a corruption of office..."
At this site, we find ten Bush appointees/administration flaks who were convicted of crimes in office.
We find 24 people who resigned due to "investigation, pending investigation or (credible) allegations of impropriety.
And we find three who were under investigation, but who stayed in office (as of 2008).
As compared to Obama's handful of missteps.
This site is, to me, way too generous. Bush began his administration, for instance, by hiring two Reagan-era political hacks who had been CONVICTED of lying to Congress about actual support for war crimes during the Nicaragua fight. Also, the whole invasion of Iraq based on false data is a HUGE scandal that does not appear on this list...
So, a list of between 37 and 400 serious scandals over Bush's eight years.
Whereas, the Obama administration has... what, four? five?
And in each of those, the problems were not anything to do directly with Obama and were mostly ineptitude, at best (if we include the Solyndra problem on the list to get it up to a complete hand-full of five, then we'd have to include a WHOLE lot more on Bush's list, that sort of "scandal" - ie, potentially poor judgment calls in spending gov't money on programs, happens frequently. It's not really what I would call a scandal, any more than Bush's vacation days are a real scandal...)
All in all, I'd have to say congratulations to the Obama administration, and I guess, even our current Congress, for at least keeping their collective noses clean, as compared to recent administrations/eras (Reagan/Bush/Bush AND Clinton).
Just for two other comparisons...
Wikipedia lists convictions of federal office holders during each administration's term...
Obama: 1 (1 judge)
W Bush: 9 (6 GOP representatives, 3 Dem representatives)
Clinton: 13 (1 Executive branch, 9 Dem reps, 3 GOP reps)
HW Bush: 5 (1 Executive branch, 2 Dem reps, 1 GOP rep and 1 judge)
And, get ready for it...
Reagan: 24 (Executive branch: 7; Legislative: 5 GOP, 10 Dem; Judges: 2)
Carter: 6 Dem reps
And, with the Reagan years, some of those convictions and scandals were about actual war crimes - selling weapons to thugs to send money to terrorists!, etc - not merely cheating on your wife and lying about it, just for a sense of scale (not to downplay how horrible it is to cheat on a spouse or lie, by the way... just noting that war crimes are a whole other level of scandal...)
Here's another wikipedia list of scandals (as opposed to convictions, above). This list, to me, seems to capture the notion of "serious scandal" best...
Obama: Executive: 3; Legislative: 3 (1 Dem, 2 GOP); Judicial: 2
W Bush: Executive: ~42; Legislative: 26 (7 Dem, 19 GOP)
Clinton: Executive: ~10; Legislative: 16 (10 Dem, 4 GOP, 2 "other")
HW Bush had not too many. The Reagan years had many, many. Feel free to read them yourselves.