Are you old enough to remember Watergate? I am. I was between my Junior and Senior HS years, and (insert ironic looks here) attending Louisiana Boys State in Baton Rouge, one Summer’s afternoon, when they herded all 300+ some odd campers into the Student Union building to listen to Nixon announce his resignation. As politically-aware teens, most of us had been following the story for months, at least once it got past the confines of the WaPo’s intrepid Woodward and Bernstein. There were two phrases that resonated from the Watergate scandal: “Follow the Money,” and “What did you know, and when did you know it.” Which makes Eric Holder’s testimony on Capitol Hill resonate with the Ghosts of Nixon, Halderman, and former Attorney General John Mitchell. Fasten your seatbelts…it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
It’s never the crime when it’s regarding politics. It’s the cover-up. So you’d think they’d know better. Back in ’74, Obama woulda been a kid. Ditto for some of the other ObamaNation brain trust. But there’s one senior staffer in the Obama Administration that ought to be able to give the O-Man some valuable intel on how to deal with a crisis. That would be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (nee: Rodham), who at the time was a lawyer in the employ of the House committee investigating the impeachment of Richard Nixon. (Of course, you can argue that her experience should have saved her the pain and embarrassment as First Lady of the Whitewater scandals, but then again, she was never so much as indicted.)
You can argue that Watergate changed politics forever. And it did. Changed the future, too. Had Nixon chosen to throw the crew that burgled the DNC HQ under the bus, I suspect the scandal would be but a footnote in his Presidency. As it is, Nixon became the first (and so far only) President to resign from office, in disgrace. But the ripples from Watergate echo to this day. The animus Bush the Younger experienced in office is largely a by-product of both Watergate and Vietnam, for yesterday’s Hippies are today’s Progressives and far-left Establishment figures. They look at Nixon as some kind of Hammer films vampire, and see Bush, Cheney & Co. as the sequel. But now, one of ‘their’ guys is large and in charge. So of course, nobody on the left is screaming for Obama’s head. Yet. But let’s look into our crystal ball and see if we can extrapolate what may happen in the future.
Let’s assume the current trajectories stay the same. You’ve got three people close to the President who are in the crosshairs of the ATF’s Gunwalker fiasco: Attorney General Eric Holder, former WH Chief of Staff (and newly-elected mayor of Chicago) Rahm Emmanuel, and DHS Chiefette, Janet Napolitano. All three are implicated in the Gunwalker brouhaha, because of their connection with Assistant AG Lanny Breuer. With a top-down organization such as the Obama Administration, it’s all but impossible for me to believe that this thing doesn’t go all the way to the top. And the more they deflect, circle the wagons, spin, and deny, the worse it’s gonna be for the guy with the home office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Now keep in mind, you don’t get to be President (or senior staff) without learning how to deal with, um, adversity. After just two years in office Obama & Co. have proven their ability to throw anybody necessary under the bus. So while it may be that in the early stages, a few minor fish get served up on a plater, the bigger the scandal grows, the more likely it is that the fickle finger of fate will flow up the food chain. I suspect that there may come a time in this little passion play that Obama has to choose between sticking the career knife between the ribs of Holder and Napolitano and gutting the ATF. If that day comes, the way the cookie crumbles may well depend on just what Holder and Napolitano have on Obama (i.e.: how likely it is they could take him down as they go under). If they’ve got the goods, buh-bye ATF. If not…
See, there’s a rhythm to Washington. A large number of people there are devoted to maintaining the status quo. Rocking the boat can be unpleasant for many. But there are opposing forces at work, too. Let something get a little out of whack, and those forces will act upon the political scene to restore a balance of power. But these opposing forces have a job to do. And every so often, one of them – the news media – remembers that their job is to report the news. Gunwalker is news. It’s (sorry Al) an “inconvenient truth” that the Left can screw up in exactly the same way as the right. And for a time, they can overlook it. But that window of opportunity to avert their eyes is quickly drawing to a close. The mainstream media won’t be able to help themselves. Once there’s blood in the political water, the news sharks will swarm, regardless of their political affiliations. And the “smoking gun” memo that Senator Grassley has revealed shows that Assistant AG Breuer knew the whole story, and has known it from almost the beginning. That’s bad news for the hapless trio of Holder, Napalitano and Emmanuel. (Paradoxically, it’s good news for La Hillary, should she decide to abandon the sinking ship and take another run at the White House on her own.)
What did he know, and when did he know it? Well, substitute “Obama” for “he” in the previous sentence, and you’ve got the makings of another Presidential scandal – one the inside of the Beltway hasn’t seen since 1974. If history repeats itself (and it has a nasty habit of doing so) we could be in for one Hell of a flashback.