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- California bans full-contact football practices in off-season
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- Obama tells DNC fundraising crowd: ‘I’m not overly partisan’
- Chambliss: Downed jet ultimately goes back to Putin
- Perdue strategy: Run against Reid, Obama, Pelosi
- White House: More changes to contraception mandate coming
- ‘Operation Normandy’ set to send 3,500 volunteers to border to ‘stop an invasion’
- Netanyahu’s spokesman: Safe to fly to Israel
- Oregon vandals smear cars with doughnuts, pastries, chocolate bars
HURT: Washington — where nobody gets fired and everybody eats lunch
Question of the Day
So, what does somebody have to do to get fired around here?
Unprepared, you are somehow surprised when your office in Benghazi gets torched and overrun by terrorists on the anniversary of 9/11.
They kill your ambassador and three others. Yet, you are so clueless that you actually think it is a spontaneous protest of a YouTube video that nobody has seen. Or, at least, that is what you tell people.
Talking points are drawn up. They are vetted by various agencies and departments with special intelligence and expertise. And days later after everyone says it was a coordinated terror attack, one of your most trusted and influential advisors goes out and insists it was just a political demonstration that got out of hand. (This, by the way, is also known as a "lie," or, during campaign season, a "political coverup.")
All this ignorance and deceit, despite the fact that you have 50,000 employees stationed around the world to project America's image abroad and keep tabs on basic on-the-ground intelligence.
Yet nobody gets fired. The closest thing to trouble comes down on a handful of dedicated and loyal service officers on the ground who were horrified over the ineptitude and deceit that followed the avoidable murders of their close friends and colleagues. They get bullied, threatened and — reportedly — demoted for speaking honestly about what happened.
Operations back home are no better.
The agency charged with the most sensitive, serious and invasive responsibilities of our government — collecting taxes from us and punishing those who cheat the system — has been turned into a political machine carrying out vendettas against opponents and those who simply disagree with the current administration.
Gee, why would those crazy, right-wing tea party nutjobs be distrustful of the federal government? Why would they hold animus toward the agency charged with collecting taxes from their hard-fought earnings?
Why would they be worried about Big Sis stockpiling so much ammunition that common hunting ammo has to be rationed at their local sporting goods store?
Now the White House admits they had heard reports that the IRS was targeting conservatives and political opponents. But, who cares? They're conservatives and they deserve it. In addition, it turns out that the IRS was also leaking private info about conservatives to liberals in the media.
Administration officials are trying to say this was isolated to a handful of lower-level employees in the IRS. But it is a reflection of the agency and administration at the highest levels. The most prominent heads should roll. (I know, I know, here comes an audit by the IRS.)
And then, just when you think it cannot get any worse, we learn that the Department of Justice has been spying on reporters from the Associated Press.
Somewhere, Richard Nixon is blushing and fanning himself.
Yet, nobody gets fired. If anything a fraction as serious as this happened on the watch of the director of the shoe department at Macy's, he would be immediately fired — frogmarched out of the shoe department under armed escort and told to never return to the store.
But this is the federal government run by an administration utterly devoted to the blind and deaf leviathan.
It reminds me of something a friend who worked at the White House once told me about how in Washington no one is ever fired for incompetence or malfeasance. They merely get recycled from one scandal to the next.
"You will always eat lunch in this town again," he said, over lunch in a popular D.C. restaurant.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @charleshurt.
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