Mike Allen (just look how darned sugar-rushy he is today) and Jim Van DeHei live for moments like this. It allows them to do what they do best: talk about their “town” as an entity. They don’t have to grapple with policy or history; they just have to describe the mood among their connected friends. The entire piece is about atmosphere and mood and devoid of any conceivable perspective but the newscycle of the last … what is it now, six hours? When you’re writing about such ephemeral shards of narcissism, you are wont to write sentences like this one:
Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama — and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now.
Yeah, sure, the last five years have been marked by Republican restraint in their attacks on Obama – starting right with the zero votes for his first initiative, the much-needed and now-vindicated stimulus, and their continued total obstructionism to even basic things like executive branch appointments. They waited five years for this … Please.
Notice also the assertion of some facts that are clearly opinions, as in “Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric.” I don’t see him that way, although Allen and Van DeHei are entitled to their opinions. I see him as sane in a city full of news-cycle process-driven junkies like Mike Allen. But the insults don’t stop there. We have Obama’s “instinctive petulance, arrogance and defensiveness” – not as a quote from someone else, but from Van DeHei and Allen (who used to work as Dick Cheney’s unofficial spokesperson).
The evidence for their opinion – and it is an opinion piece – comes from the usual Obama-haters who have long resented the arrival of some core principles in the ethical sewer of the official city. And then these other core features of our public discourse: a Maureen Dowd column, Ron Fournier’s ego, and, wait for it, “a rerun of Tuesday’s “Morning Joe,” in which reporters made it sound like Obama is a latter-day Richard Nixon.” Pass me the smelling salts. I’m getting the vapors.
Here’s the one serious point: someone initiated an outrageous abuse of IRS powers. We need to find out who and how and fire those who went over the line. And this genuine scandal is tied to the non-scandal of Benghazi and the genuine debate about how far the DOJ should go in punishing leakers of classified information. Individually, only the IRS affair seems a genuine scandal to me. But drama is the stuff of pageviews. And the chattering classes can only take a no-drama president for so long.