The news out of Washington gets curiouser and curiouser with each passing day. The scandal count as of this writing: Three.
We have the administration covering up circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11 and 12, 2012, shortly before the 2012 election. Four Americans were killed.
We have the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups, including those with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names, during the run-up to the 2012 election.
And we have the Department of Justice surreptitiously obtaining Associated Press call records for 20 phone lines in April and May of 2012.
All are important, but the Benghazi cover-up and the IRS abuses are special, because both may have had an effect on the 2012 election outcome.
That said, don't get too excited by the scandals. And don't expect much change. Obama will make a clean get-away.
On the Benghazi mess, eight months have passed. After two congressional hearings, two "investigative" reports and Wednesday's email dumps, we still don't know the details of Obama's involvement/non-involvement. The most painful question lingers. Why didn't he allow or order the U.S. military to rescue the trapped U.S. personnel?
It's hard to get to the truth, because there's a fair amount of lying and obfuscation going on.
The accountability problem cropped up again on Monday when Obama told the world, "The day after it (the attack) happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism."
The next day, The Washington Post fact checker explained the lie in detail. Obama got four "Pinocchios" for his "whopper."
The IRS scandal also is likely to grind on and on and on with more lies and obfuscation.
Jay Carney, Obama's spokesman, said on Tuesday that he's sure the White House didn't know what was going on in the IRS "until a few weeks ago." Carney's boss, Obama, said Monday that he first found out the previous Friday. Somebody needs another "Pinocchio."
Obama smelled his blood in the water, so the very next day, he announced that Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, was being canned. (Miller's term would have been up in just a few weeks.) Obama also expressed outrage.
He pledged cooperation with Congress in the investigation, and Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department and FBI will conduct a criminal investigation. Reader warning: Don't hold your breath.
Don't build up your hopes for answers from Congress, either.
The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will look into all of this. Baucus calls the IRS actions "an outrageous abuse of power and a breach of the public's trust."
Ahem. In 2010, Baucus asked the IRS to do much of what he's now criticizing. Other Democrats also pushed the IRS to scrutinize new nonprofits.
That brings us to the Department of Justice AP phone records caper. The media say the DOJ didn't follow proper procedures. The DOJ says that it did what it had to do to protect national security. It looks like a standoff.
Obama again is likely to benefit. Administration sources are apt to be reluctant to share damaging information with the media in the future for fear of being outed by the DOJ.
Now a footnote for Republican leaders: What's wrong with you? Why aren't you leading instead of simply reacting?
Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., has introduced H.R. 25, the Fair Tax Act of 2013, which would repeal the income tax and other taxes, abolish the Internal Revenue Service, and enact a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the states. It has 63 co-sponsors (West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is not one of them).
Consider: The tax code is a mess that helps the rich and well-connected. Regular people generally hate the IRS. The agency's annual budget is $12.8 billion. The IRS can (and does) abuse its power. The IRS will be in charge of Obamacare.
Wouldn't now be a perfect time to dump the current tax system and the IRS? Think about it, Republicans. Please.