With a tip o’ the TTAG cap (available in the TTAG Store for a reasonable $19.95 + S&H) to founding TTAG Armed Intelligentsia member Bill Montgomery (who we all wish would send us some chapters in his serialized adventure yarn), from whence comes this political cartoon, featuring everybody’s favorite Attorney General since Antonio “Speedy” Gonzales, Eric Holder. (Gotta love those run-on sentences, eh, RF?) Yep, and when the barking dogs of the Liberal media starts a-howlin’ outside your door, you know things are not going well for the home team.
So, time for our ATF Rhetorical Questions o’ the Day: “How high is up?” “Do the big chunks always float to the top?” “Will Holder fall on his sword to save his boss, or will he take the whole Chicago Gang That Couldn’t Play It Straight down with him?” Too soon to tell. But it’s a milestone worth noting that the lamestream boys iz startin’ to hang the Fast n’ Furious albatross around Holder’s neck. And as we watch the shitstorm merrily float upstream, one has to wonder where it will stop.
Let’s get real here. I doubt there was some Evil Master Plan all along from Obama & Co., if only because I’ve never met a government that ruthlessly efficient. (Which is probably as good a reason as any to keep anybody named “Ruth” out of elected office. But I digress.) Nope, but keep in mind that when you have a bunch of people with like-minded agendas, it’s easy enough to have a perfect storm of goals drop into your lap and start humping it.
I suspect what’s happened here is that it’s crime of opportunity that happened by degrees, largely since the Boy’s from Chi-town are, shall we say, a wee bit light in the loafers when it comes to ethics. Start with a program that’s ethically-challenged from the beginning, run by a bunch of guys who think “wretched excess” is the name of some rock group (and they dig their sound). Add an Administration that famously said “never let a crisis go to waste,” and stir in a mixed-bag of personal agendas from like-minded individuals who have no love lost for the gun industry, immigration crackdowns, and the letter of the law. Stir.
The resulting hornets nest serves…how many 10 to 20 year sentences? I don’t really know at this point. But let’s consider the typical checks and balances of bureaucracy, and we can begin to hypothesize as to how far this stinkFest reaches it’s tendrils inside the ObamaNation.
The Theory of Fiefdoms – If you wanna see some turf wars that rival anything you’d see in a Broadway revival of West Side Story, look no further than the inter-departmental “cooperation” between rival departments in the Executive Branch. FBI, ATF, Justice, State, Homeland Security – every last one of them wants to amass as much power and influence as possible (self-preservation is the most basic of urges among Homosapien Bureaucraticus).
So when some program comes around that promises to provide some high-profile “wins,” you can bet your bottom (soon-to-be worthless) dollar that everybody and their monkey will be jumping up to grab some credit and/or piss on the project to mark their territory. But the flip side of that is the old saw “success has a thousand fathers, failure but one.” Blamestorming is more than a blood sport inside the Beltway. It’s a way of life that makes the court intrigues covered in Les Liaisons Dangereuses look like Amateur Night at a Gong Show revival.
So you have to assume that if this SNAFU was the sole property of the ATF, every other alphabet-soup agency in that mosquito-infested swamp we call D.C. would be piling on the home of jack-booted thuggery in a big way. But the other agencies are curiously quiet. Professional courtesy? Don’t make me laugh. Inter-departmental discipline? HA! Guilt by association? NOW you’re talkin.’
The only reason (and I mean the only reason) other agencies aren’t jumping on the ATF is because they are worried they’ll get sucked into the blamestorm and get more than a little wet. Never let a good feeding frenzy go to waste. So I’m thinking there’s a lot of potential blame to go around.
The Theory of Distributed Responsibility – When a project is big and/or successful, everybody wants in on the act. And remember, Fast and Furious was (represented to the public as) successful before it was a colossal failure. So there’s little chance that the FBI, Border Security, Immigration, and the AG’s office didn’t know about the program. And if they knew about it, they wanted in. So what did they know, and when did they know it? We don’t know – yet – because Holder and his minions aren’t talking. But soon as Melson is thrown under the bus, all that may change.
The Theory of Mutually-Assured Destruction – When you’re up to something that looks a little risky, there’s nothing like getting a few close friends sucked in to make it all seem better. Misery loves company, and all that. So I can see the higher-ups in this mess reaching out to their opposite numbers in other departments and offering them a piece of the action, in order to play a little CYA, Varsity-style. They can’t stab you in the back if you’ve formed a little circle-jerk of knife-wielders, each painfully aware that one false move, and they all fall down.
So who do I like in the office pool for The Ones Most Likely To Get a Career-Ending Pink Slip Over Fast n’ Furious? Given the way bureaucracies work in D.C., coupled with the organizational structure of the Chicago (political) Mob (a.k.a. The Daley Machine), I’d lay odds the main playaz are everybody in management at the ATF, AG Eric Holder, former WH Chief of Staff (and current Hizzhonor in Chi-town) Rahm Emmanuel), Janet “Sgt. Shultz” Napolitano, the Assistant AGs in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, the middle and upper managment of U.S. Border and Customs Patrol, at the very least regional managers/dept. heads of the FBI, and ditto for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. So we’ve got the ATF, FBI, ICE, BCP, AG, and…?
You can probably make a pretty good argument for the State Department being involved at some level, although despite her loss to Obama in the Presidential sweepstakes, Hillary is no slouch when it comes to political intrigue. Think “Lady McBeth in a pantsuit.” Or even better, Lucretia Borgia with a briefcase. The woman got the mad skills when it come to machinations. I think that whatever connections her department had to Fast and Furious has been compartmentalized and moved so far from her ken that she’ll be able to walk away from this mess smelling like a Rose, and I don’t mean the law firm. I further suspect that the only reason State hasn’t been furiously denying any involvement in Fast n’ Furious is that La Hillary is biding her time, awaiting the perfect time to play her Ace-high hand in the high-stakes game of political Texas Hold-em.
So where does that leave us in a political body count? Melson: dead, but apparently doesn’t know it yet. Holder: wounded, perhaps mortally-so. Emmanuel: thinks he cheated the hangman, but could get sucked into the black hole of Project Gunwalker by Melson or others. Napolitano: should be getting her resumé together – she doesn’t have game to go up against the career character assassins on this one. Those are the big fish. You can add the Assistant AGs in the border states, and some regional heads of ATF, FBI, AG, CBP, and ICE. When all is said and done, I suspect that this will turn out to be the Dem’s version of Watergate, sans the Presidential sacking. Oh, yeah. The Obama factor. What about that?
As much as I’d love to see Obama go down on this if he ordered or approved Gunwalker, I just don’t think the scandal will touch him. It’s not the way politics is played, Chicago Style. Nope, Midwest Rules hold that your underlings take one for the team. Family loyalty and the Code of Silence thing reign supreme. But just because Obama doesn’t lose his day job doesn’t mean he won’t be mortally-wounded from a political sense of the word.
If he’s got to put up with a full-blown administration scandal while waging 2½ wars, propping up his besieged ObamaCare, and trying to push the rest of his Progressive agenda, all with a popularity level approaching statistical zero, a second term will NOT be in the cards. And he knows it. In recent interviews, he talks about how “one term may be enough” and how his family is ambivalent about a second term. One more body-blow and we could well be looking at a Democrat primary as wide open as the GOP’s.
So will Fast n’ Furious bring down the House that Obama Built? I don’t know. But if I were the Democrats, I wouldn’t be putting making book on it. Scandals are like nuclear reactions. When you have all the pieces in place, they aren’t that hard to trigger. It’s controlling the reaction that’s the hard part. Stay tuned. It’s about to get interesting.