[The] weird juxtaposition of the vacuous and often law-breaking, but melodious, Obama administration next to boisterous and rowdy Trump presidency has taught us a lesson about our own moral blindness.
Both our media and popular culture, as well as our cultural elite, value style far more than substance. Adroitly breaking the law is preferable to obeying it in uncivilized fashion. Boorishly bragging nonstop about 3 percent economic growth and below-4-percent unemployment is deemed far worse than contextualizing in professorial tones a stagnant economy that in eight years never achieved 3 percent annual growth.
Credentials empower illegality; their mere absence is seen as almost illegal in itself.
Lawlessly “presidential” is a misdemeanor; lawfully unpresidential, a felony. A bankrupt agenda delivered by experts is sanctified; an effective one packaged by amateurs is heretical.
Having engaged in illegality during the Obama administration is better on a résumé than following the law in a Trump government.
That is how And yet still, this one constant keeps reverberating throughout the hysteria: Our elite always values the messenger over the message.Victor Davis Hanson concludes his National Review piece (thanks to Ann Althouse and Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds).
The façade of Camelot exempts empty lawlessness in a way that Queens-accented boosterism seems to nullify real achievement.
Call the Trump paradox “crass lawfulness.” What drives Trump’s critics nearly crazy is not any evidence that Trump has broken federal laws per se. Instead, their rub is that there are somehow no criminal statutes against a president boorishly acting “unpresidential” in his loud quest to supercharge the economy, while undoing the entire agenda of his predecessor, who was so dearly beloved by the media, universities, Hollywood, and identity-politics groups.Go to the National Review link to read the full list of The Scandals of the ‘Scandal-Free’ Obama Administration
Certainly, President Obama’s teleprompted speeches were mellifluous. As some sort of postmodern preacher, Obama often sermonized to Americans about the predetermined “arc of history” that purportedly bent all of us inescapably toward his own just moral version of the universe.
In calm, ministerial tones, the progressive Obama sometimes slapped a puerile America’s wrists, with frequent admonitions to behave and to not act so illiberally. Or he frequently reminded us, with a frown, “that is not who we are.” Recall that Obama came into office promising that he would could lower the seas and cool the planet, with a generation of young like-minded activists who, we were lectured, were the ones we had all been waiting for. Now president emeritus Obama worries that perhaps his messianic appearance came too soon for us to fully appreciate his divinity.
Despite Obama’s recent projection that his eight-year tenure was “scandal-free,” along with the reality that the media’s biased compliance sought to make such a startling fantasy true, the Obama administration was in many respects lawless. It will eventually rank as the most scandal-ridden administration since Warren G. Harding’s.
But it was during the 2016 election cycle that the Obama administration descended to a level of corruption not seen in a century. Right in the middle of the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server, Obama, as judge and jury, announced that candidate Clinton had violated no criminal law while secretary of state. Obama also lied when he stated that he’d known nothing about such an unlawful server, although emails prove that he himself had communicated over it on several occasions.
His FBI director, James Comey, deliberately scrambled the law and exonerated Hillary Clinton from wrongdoing, not because she had not broken the law, but, according to Comey’s own invented interpretations of the statute, because she had not intended to violate the law. Comey also admitted to tailoring his circus-like investigation of Clinton around the assumption that she would soon be president.
We are slowly appreciating over the last year that lying under oath was an Obama-administration requisite for a high position in the intelligence community. FBI director Comey lied about the particular sequences of his investigation of the Clinton email scandal. He lied by omission to the president when, in his supposed Oval Office informative dissection of the Steele dossier, he failed to include the fact that it was a product of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC.
… In addition to such unethical and often illegal behavior, the Obama administration institutionalized deception as a tool of government: hiding from the American people all the side agreements to the so-called Iran deal, itself a blatant effort to bypass the treaty-making responsibilities of the U.S. Senate; fabricating yarns to sell the disastrous Obamacare takeover of health care; using executive orders to enact immigration amnesties after warning that doing just that would be unconstitutional; lying repeatedly about the circumstances of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap.
Hillary Clinton has never been able to explain why huge gifts to her family’s foundation from Russian interests coincided with the State Department’s approval of uranium sales to Russia, or why anyone would ever pay her husband $500,000 for a short speech in Moscow — and certainly would not now once her political ambitions have at last calcified.
We live in such strange times that the media ignored the most blatant examples of presidential campaign-cycle collusion in memory, while seeking to invent it where it never existed. Remember, Barack Obama on a hot mic not only got caught reiterating to a Russian leader the conditions of Putin-Obama election-cycle collusion, but he also spelled out the exact quid pro quo: promised Russian quietude abroad during Obama’s reelection campaign was in exchange for “flexibility” (i.e., cancellation) of U.S.-Eastern European missile-defense projects. Should Trump ever be caught making the same “deal” in 2020, he would probably be impeached.
Criminal Camelot vs. Crude Queens
Why was the Obama administration so corrupt?
Three reasons stand out.
One, it was the first administration in modern history in which the media saw its role as a subordinate and accomplice rather than an auditor; the media thereby empowered corruption.
Two, it exuded a moral zealousness in its promise to fundamentally transform the country and enact social justice; any means of doing so were justified by its exalted ends.
Three, like the John F. Kennedy administration, Obama and his team adroitly calculated that in America’s celebrity culture, what’s hip and cool is often more highly prized than what’s competent and lawful, much less crude and effective.
No one would suggest that Donald Trump obeys the law because he has an inherent respect for the Constitution and the nation’s ethical bearings, although that perhaps could prove to be so. Rather, Trump has not broken the law the way that Obama routinely did quite simply because he cannot. The media is so hostile to his every act, the popular culture has so frequently written him off as crude, and his critics, both progressive and conservative, have become so hysterical over his person, that he lives in a singular 24/7 bubble that faults him for everything from his choice of dessert to the manner in which his daughter holds her child.
The news, both fake and real, is now all Trump, all the time. And because Trump can enjoy baiting his opponents by deliberately being uncouth and coarse, and since he has little respect for past presidential protocol, almost everything is now transparent and nothing is off-limits. …