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Capricious Enforcement: A sign of the times

Back in October 2010, blogger Tigerhawk recalled what one of his Princeton classmates, who was originally from Romania, said about the nature of life under socialism:

One recurring tool of socialist tyranny is the capricious enforcement of unworkable laws.

He quoted the passage in making a point about the “capricious enforcement” which was an inevitable feature of the unworkable mess better known as Obamacare.

But two and a half years later, it’s evident that observation could just as easily have been applied to our byzantine tax code, our environmental regulations, and even laws pertaining to press freedoms under the Obama administration.  As Dan wrote earlier today, the only folks who are surprised by any of these scandals are the ones who haven’t been paying attention to what has been going with our government since January 20, 2009.

In the case of the Obama administration, though, it’s not strictly capricious enforcement, but selective enforcement, always with a partisan goal in mind.  The IRS targeting of the Tea Party and conservative organizations is appalling, but one would have to be naive not to believe, as ABC’s Trey Hardin noted today, that it wasn’t authorized by someone in the West Wing.  Hardin observed (audio at the link):

I will tell you this on the IRS front. I’ve worked in this town for over 20 years in the White House and on Capitol Hill and I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it. It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization.

And it’s not just the IRS.  Earlier today it came out that the EPA waived fees for leftist organizations and leftist journalists who requested information, but not for conservative ones:   “Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.”  Yes, this would be the same EPA that has classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant, making the mere act of exhaling potentially troublesome.

A coincidence?  I think not.  This is the same administration committed to picking winners and losers on most matters.  Hence, it should surprise no one that while oil companies are prosecuted for the deaths of eagles and other protected species, the bird-killing wind farms are naturally given a pass.   Clearly, some energy companies are more equal than others.

It’s the same with journalists.  Just a day after the AP snooping scandal broke, the administration is playing favorites again.  Jake Tapper has gained a reputation as one who can be counted on to ask tough questions of the White House with greater frequency than the reporters at most of the other lamestream news organizations.  Well, today Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection is reporting that the White House played Jake Tapper by selectively leaking one e-mail with the apparent aim of creating a diversion in the reporting about the Benghazi cover-up.  Jacobson writes: “Like I said, this entire diversion of leaking a single email out of a chain of emails to Tapper was simply meant to put critics of the administration back on their heels and to provide an excuse for White House defenders to throw around words like ‘doctored.'”

And so what else do we see today?  Well, all of a sudden the administration’s lackeys in the press such as Hilary Rosen are now out expressing their sympathy for poor Jay Carney.  I guess they’re afraid of ending up as the subject of a DOJ snooping scandal or an IRS investigation or a selective leak.




  1. There are so many laws that there are no laws.

    Comment by Paul — May 14, 2013 @ 11:42 pm - May 14, 2013

  2. The misuse of the power of executive authority at IRS – and EPA and HHS, not to mention the Benghazi cover-up – is just too much for all but the most diehard partisan leftist to carry water for. It’s egregious and apparently pandemic.

    Comment by Boris_Badenoff — May 15, 2013 @ 1:16 am - May 15, 2013

  3. “capricious enforcement”

    Here in the great State of Oregon (motto: It’s Not Corruption If It’s Green!), we have the Kafkaesque situation of government agents killing one protected species (sea lions) to protect another protected species (salmon).

    No, we’re not insane much.

    Comment by Blair Ivey — May 15, 2013 @ 1:50 am - May 15, 2013

  4. And yet, they expect us to trust them to enforce new immigration laws, when they refuse to enforce the laws currently on the books.

    And yet, they expect us to trust them when they claim a national gun registry isn’t a prelude to gun confiscation further down the road.

    Comment by V the K — May 15, 2013 @ 6:29 am - May 15, 2013

  5. Capricious enforcement? Meet unindicted felon David Gregory 🙂 Throw that in any Lib’s face when they bring up gun control, and the need for more laws.

    This idea of selective enforcement is not new to the Obama Administration.

    Thanks for posting!

    Comment by acethepug — May 15, 2013 @ 6:31 am - May 15, 2013

  6. Unfortunately I think we can expect to see more of it.

    If Bruce had chose to run for the NC Carolina Senate seat, does anyone really think that he’d not have ‘randomly’ come up for an audit?

    Comment by The_Livewire — May 15, 2013 @ 7:36 am - May 15, 2013

  7. The Daily Caller has a story about a wealthy Romney donor that was audited three times by the IRS after Obama’s Presidential web site went after 7 of these donors. The guy said that he wasn’t the only one that was audited. How much more criminal activity should we tolerate?

    Comment by davinci — May 15, 2013 @ 8:22 am - May 15, 2013

  8. Chas. Cooke at NRO has the story of a NY resident having his life ruined for having TWO extra rounds in a pistol.

    It’s bad enough that we have these idiot laws but then we have the proverbial hack-booted thugs without the common sense to discern actual criminal behavior from everyday behavior.


    Comment by SoCalRobert — May 15, 2013 @ 8:52 am - May 15, 2013

  9. Andrew Wilson has a piece at American Thinker which asks What is it …. that liberals can’t and won’t understand? (His essay is about Maureen Dowd and Benghazi, but his conclusions are universal:

    “…..several answers come to mind.

    One is that the liberal/progressive mindset is characterized by an unquestioning belief in its own moral and intellectual superiority.

    Another is that liberal/progressive mindset has always been characterized by willful ignorance — or a steadfast refusal to admit it is ever wrong, regardless of the most terrible of outcomes — including the millions who were starved or slaughtered by Mao and Stalin, to mention two left-wing heroes who continued to get favorable review in the textbooks that are read in American high schools today, thanks to deeply entrenched liberal/progressive thinking in American education.

    And finally, the liberal/progressive mindset is all too often characterized by excessive vanity — and a lack of courage or conviction.

    It sees morality as a mere extension of politics (based on the prior assumption that it always holds the upper ground in good intentions), rather than a matter of having to choose between good and evil — and being willing to fight against evil.

    Everything is relative in the liberal mind. AP’s ox was gored, so now the liberal “journalist” mob sees a wrong that is relative to them specifically and, momentarily, the scales drop from their eyes.

    But, this will not last for very long, because:

    Liberal “journalists” believe in their own moral and intellectual superiority.

    Liberal “journalists” are indeed practitioners of willful ignorance.

    Liberal “journalists” are chocked full of vanity to the point of excess.

    Liberal “journalists” see morality as a mere extension of politics (moral relativity) and they weigh the “good intentions” of their political favorites against the hard work of questioning or exposing evil.

    Unfortunately, liberal “journalist” is a redundancy. We are so overwhelmed with vain, intellectually superior, willfully ignorant, partisan “journalists” that calling them “liberal” is a distinction without a difference.

    Comment by heliotrope — May 15, 2013 @ 9:00 am - May 15, 2013

  10. They are not Liberals they’re Leftists a whole other breed of animal, that occasionally disguises itself as liberal. Kind of like wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    Comment by Catseye — May 15, 2013 @ 10:08 am - May 15, 2013

  11. heliotrope, well said!

    I think it’s not morality, it’s a Cult of Personality. Communism and socialism fail, not because they are obviously flawed, but because the “right people” weren’t in charge. That’s the Obama mindset (and that of his boosters) in a nutshell.

    They are smarter than you or I. Rules don’t need to apply to them, facts don’t matter, because they are our betters (in their minds). That’s why David Gregory is an unindicted felon, and Gregory D Jean, Jr (the NY case of two extra rounds), might BECOME a felon.

    Gregory is part of the Liberal Leftist cause, Jean, Jr, is just a nobody like you or me.

    It’s a dangerous game to play, though. If enough of the masses come to the same conclusion, that apparently the rules only apply to them (and not their so-called betters), that we have become a Nation of men and not of Law, well, I don’t think those Leftists will like the world they have created very much.

    As for the AP story and the Press, exactly. It’s an issue (and of the scandals out there, it is the least of them) because it affects THEM. There is no grand morality at play, no realization that Obama is a fraud and a tyrant-in-waiting. If they continue to dig on Benghazi, if they start mentioning the Jewish groups targeted by the IRS, I might believe they have found their voice.

    But not before.

    Thanks for posting!

    Comment by acethepug — May 15, 2013 @ 10:50 am - May 15, 2013

  12. acetheplug,

    The place for morality in this equation is that morality identifies good and evil. Moral relativism makes a game of mitigating any judgement when evil is involved. Therefore, moral relativism is a wonderful escape hatch. You can ignore, look the other way, pooh-pooh, invent conditions or whatever it takes to justify the ends and by-pass looking at the means.

    I loved the old-fashioned form of liberalism that was challenging and thoughtful and dealt openly and honestly with honest differences. It died years ago and has been replaced with the cult you identify.

    The Won is just fine with basking in the halo glow and being the messiah for the many. The man lacks virtue, humility and decency. Those who worship him are the equals to his failings of circumspect humanity.

    When moral relativity becomes one’s operating system, it is twice as easy for the person to become amoral and eventually venal.

    Comment by heliotrope — May 15, 2013 @ 11:35 am - May 15, 2013

  13. I understand the left is thrilled that the targets of Obama’s IRS brownshirts are “rich guys and racist tea-baggers.” Wonder which Obama toady will be the first to raise that defense here.

    Comment by V the K — May 15, 2013 @ 12:19 pm - May 15, 2013

  14. Everyone is a felon.

    Comment by Paul — May 15, 2013 @ 3:28 pm - May 15, 2013

  15. The EPA has for years funded environmental pressure groups. This is just another side of the fascist game that the EPA creeps have long played.

    Comment by pst314 — May 18, 2013 @ 2:11 pm - May 18, 2013

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