There was a time when Obama couldn’t get a bad headline in this town. Now he’s the new Nixon. I dropped out of writing about US politics three weeks ago to finish a book and, on my return, I discover that everything’s changed. The President has been hit not by one Watergate but by three – Benghazi, the IRS, the DOJ phone records scandal – and even the mainstream media has stopped treating him like the bringer of hope and change predicted in the Bible. He’s not a Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.
It’s important to remember that Obama’s second term blues began long before the scandals broke. Although he won the 2012 election, the Democrats failed to take the House, and the Senate remained vulnerable to filibuster. That might not have been such a roadblock to legislation had the Prez not spent the election trashing his opponents, calling the Republicans everything from heartless SOBs to enablers of rape. The result was that he entered his second term despised by much of the Congress and so unable to get much done. Yes, he hardballed the GOP into accepting nominal tax increases but he failed even to pass even the slenderest of gun control bills. His political capital was exhausted within weeks.
That left Obama with an aura of lonely moral authority. The media could’ve continued to love him for that alone, imagining him to be the last line of defence against the Neanderthal conservatism of the Tea Party. But the scandals have undone that moral superiority. Everybody was outraged by the IRS and phone records stories, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, NBS and CBS. A lot of the anger came from the fact that their industry had been targeted (the head of the Associated Press wrote Eric Holder, “We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.” Even dear old Helen Thomas compared Obama to Nixon). Josh Meyer, a former national security writer for the Los Angeles Times, opined, “There’s a red line that no other administration has crossed before that the Obama administration has blown right past.” It is true that none of the shenanigans have been linked directly to the Oval Office. But while we’ve yet to find the smoking email, there’s a growing consensus that Obama set the tone of his administration by the trademark brutality by which he fought his opponents. Journalists suddenly know what it must have felt like to be a conservative activist for the past four years, to be treated with a mix of contempt and ruthless discrimination. Obama’s administration has been the most hostile towards investigative journalism in history: its DOJ has filed more leak-related investigations than all the other administrations combined.
Read More: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/