- - Sunday, August 17, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Who are President Obama and the Democrats most afraid of? That’s easy to see: Just find the Republicans they target with phony scandals.

Like Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell. Or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Or, now, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.


SEE ALSO: Perry calls indictment a ‘farce’: ‘I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto’


Let’s take them in order. Mr. McDonnell had been steadily rising on the radar, running Virginia with a steady hand and making a name in the GOP. He crushed his Democratic opponent by 17 points in the 2009 election, a year after Mr. Obama surprisingly took the state. Unemployment dropped from 7.4 percent to 5.2 percent under his watch, and his name started to float about as a contender for the 2012 vice presidential nomination.

What’s more, Democrats and Team Obama began to worry about taking Virginia again in 2012, a state crucial to his re-election.

Suddenly, bam, federal corruption charges. First, the Washington Post wrote about improper spending in the governor’s mansion, and then months later, the charges were filed. But the rumors had swirled for months beforehand and Mr. McDonnell’s star fell. Mitt Romney would look elsewhere for a running mate — and Mr. Obama would go on to win Virginia.


SEE ALSO: ‘Witch hunt’: Cruz, Jindal rush to defend Gov. Perry after indictment


Next in Team Obama’s sights was Mr. Christie. The New York Times helped drum up a phony scandal that the New Jersey governor was involved in shutting down lanes on a bridge to punish a political foe for failing to endorse him.

The scandal went on for weeks despite the lack of proof that Mr. Christie had any knowledge of the closures. Of course, there are no fingerprints on who spurred the scandal, but there never are with the really good ones. Still, the winners were clear: Mr. Obama, in the short term (Mr. Christie is a vocal critic), and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Democrats in the long term.

Then came the non-scandal concerning Mr. Walker. After he survived a recall vote (by a larger margin than his initial election), along came a “John Doe” probe. The probe, overseen by five county district attorneys, all Democrats, was intended to investigate illegal campaign coordination between conservative groups and the governor.

The judge overseeing the secret probe issued more than 100 subpoenas and authorized 30 raids on organizations. But two years later, when no one had ever been charged, a judge called the whole thing off, saying that it had no legal basis.

Now, they’re going after Mr. Perry. Despite his disastrous presidential run in 2012, Mr. Perry is a major force going into 2016. Texas has blossomed during his tenure and he is a seasoned politician ready for the big game. And Democrats have boldly set their sights on flipping Texas, not as far-fetched as it once would have seemed.

Again, suddenly, the governor’s attacked, this time with an indictment for “abuse of power.” What did he do? He threatened to veto funding for a state office unless a viciously partisan prosecutor, jailed for drunken driving, resigned.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is based in Austin, a hyper-liberal city, and her office led the probe of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who was convicted in 2010 on charges of money laundering and conspiracy. But those convictions were later overturned by an appeals court.

The liberal media has, of course, gone wild with the story. “Down goes Perry! The GOP’s ‘deep bench’ just completely fell apart,” wrote Salon. The New York Times put the story in column 1 on A1, with a story on Mr. Obama’s foreign policy incompetence below the fold.

But at least one prominent Democrat thinks the whole thing is hooey. David Axelrod, a former senior aide and campaign adviser to President Obama, tweeted out: “Unless he was demonstrably trying to scrap the ethics unit for other than his stated reason, Perry indictment seems pretty sketchy.”

Story Continues →