As we bloggers pore over the tape and transcripts showing Obama Administration officials attempting to use the National Endowment for the Arts to further its political ends, I got to wondering how much of this politicking goes on in the various departments and agencies of the federal government that has not been recorded?
I’m betting there is a lot of this going on in the Obama Administration. Only this time, someone with access to conservative media was in on the call.
UPDATE: I expect to blog on this matter later today, but the thought just struck me as I was reading the blogs and the web and preparing my posts for the day.
UP-UPDATE: Best stuff I’ve read so far is Roger Kimball’s piece on the renaming of the NEA as the National Endowment for Propaganda (via Glenn) and John Hinderaker’s long post (but well worth your time).* Like me, John wonders why Buffy Wicks (of the Orwellian-sounding Office of Public Engagement) hasn’t been let go or reassigned:
First, if Yosi Sergant was “reassigned” for sending out the email [announcing the call], how about Ms. Wicks? The NEA’s reassignment of Sergant was an acknowledgement that the effort by a government agency to enlist artists in support of a partisan agenda was improper. The NEA’s mild disciplinary action suggests that the call was the action of a relatively low-level employee who got carried away. But it wasn’t. It was sponsored by the White House and was led by the deputy to one of President Obama’s closest friends and advisers. This was no marginal, rogue operation. It was, rather, an element of Barack Obama’s political strategy.
Second, the operation may well have been illegal. Public funds are not supposed to be expended to support partisan projects. Beyond that, it is unconstitutional to grant or deny federal funds on the basis of the recipient’s political actions or opinions.National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley. The NEA is the single largest funder of the arts, and several participants in the August 10 conference call had recently received NEA checks. It would have been entirely reasonable for those on the phone call to conclude that future NEA funding could be influenced by their willingness to play ball with the Obama administration’s political agenda.
My expectation is that Buffy’s will be soon joining Van Jones in the nonprofit sector. As Mr. Sergant’s reassignment should be to a job where he is not on the public payroll. Conservatives should not let up until the White House says bye, bye to Buffy.
UP-UP-UPDATE: Talented artist Jude (I’ve heard him sing, really quite good) offers:
This whole administration really needs to stop campaigning and start governing within the boundaries set for government within our society. . . .
These people don’t play by the rules because they believe they are right and the rest of us be damned. Or, they may not even know they’re not supposed to be doing this stuff and just think they’re running the high school now, so there.
Read the whole thing!
*And I’ve only just begun to scan the blogs.