On Tuesday, liberal Lanny Davis took to the airwaves to complain about his treatment on a supposedly “abusive” Fox News show on which I was also a guest. He vowed never again to go on the show.
Of our joint appearance on “Justice with Judge Jeanine Pirro” two days earlier, during which we talked about whether Attorney General Eric Holder was a liability for Obama, Davis told Geraldo Rivera: “When I tried to talk — you; even Sean Hannity lets me talk — [Judge Pirro] kept interrupting and had her guest talking over me so I couldn’t get a word out.”
Not true. During the five-minute-and-eighteen-second segment, which included a framing of the Holder issue by host Judge Pirro, Davis spoke for a total of two minutes and seventeen seconds. I spoke for one minute and four seconds.
Far from not being able to “get a word out,” Davis went on at length whining about those who say Eric Holder lied about targeting Fox News journalist James Rosen. After an initial answer in which Davis ranged so far as the Federalists and Thomas Jefferson, Judge Pirro spoke up to keep things moving, politely apologized for interrupting and then gave Davis time again to make his point at length.
Davis was mirroring the conduct of David Plouffe, fresh out of the White House, who on a Sunday morning news show said of the IRS scandal: “This was not a political pursuit.” Unfortunately it was: the IRS’s own disclosure that groups were targeted for their political beliefs is what triggered the scandal. In both media hits, we see Democrats hoping shameless denials in the face of overwhelming facts to the contrary will somehow end these scandals.
Davis would have had more time still had he not complained some six different instances about either being interrupted or other format issues. Of his running out the clock with complaints, Pirro at one point had to interject: “Lanny, just say it.”
Still complaining two days later about his supposed mistreatment on the show and those who call Eric Holder’s testimony misleading, Davis told Geraldo that Pirro “is part of a sick, pathetic culture of name calling.” Of course, name calling and shouting are precisely what progressives are doing in an attempt to silence Americans concerned about official conduct in the various Obama scandals. This is another tactic the progressives have recently favored: project onto your critics precisely what you are doing yourselves.
Davis should be an ideal commentator on corruption by high officials. He was a highly paid lobbyist for West African dictatorships, including one that paid him $100,000 per month. Before that, he defended Bill Clinton as scandals in the last Democratic administration began to mushroom during Clinton’s second term.
But instead of candor from Democrats outside the Obama administration who see themselves as intellectually honest, we are getting obfuscation — and worse: McCarthyism. It was Senator Joseph McCarthy whose hallmark was shouting “Point of order!” repeatedly in hearings whenever facts became unpleasant. The tactics: disrupt, complain, deceive.
That is what the Democrats are doing today. A reasonable person can look at Eric Holder’s statement before Congress denying involvement in targeting reporters, compare it to the journalist search warrants he authorized and conclude that Holder was less than honest. Reasonable Americans also have legitimate questions about the actions and judgment of senior Obama officials and their involvement in the IRS and Benghazi scandals. This inquisitiveness is essential to democracy.
Rather than accept that senior administration officials may have used poor judgment and possibly broken the law, Democrats are expressing outrage that anyone would even question the Obama administration for recent scandals. With old pros like Davis and Plouffe, one hopes that it is merely feigned outrage — like the police captain in “Casablanca” shouting that he was “shocked, shocked!” to discover gambling taking place in the casino before being handed his winnings. With other progressives, the angst is probably genuine rage that their messiah in the White House, his agenda and everything they just knew for certain to be true in life and politics — all now appear to be swirling in the bowl.
Christian Whiton is the author of the forthcoming book, “Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War.” He was a senior advisor at the State Department from 2003-2009.