“Our job is to legislate, and we’re trying to legislate things that will help create jobs in our country,” Mr. Boehner said. “But we also have a responsibility, under the Constitution, to provide oversight of the executive branch of government.”...NYT
That's John Boehner's ironic statement -- who? the Republicans? take time out of their lives to actually legislate? get some work done? -- even as Republican party leaders are wary after the drubbing they took when they went after Bill Clinton. "Trying to legislate things?" And did you notice? They're admitting government can help create jobs?
Representative Charles Boustany Jr., Republican of Louisiana and a key driver in an investigation of the I.R.S. by the Ways and Means Committee, said, “I’m being very cautious not to overplay my hand.”
Working against those methodical plans, however, are the personal passions of the rank and file. Mr. Chaffetz on Thursday repeated his refusal to take the impeachment of the president “off the table.” Representative Michele Bachmann, the Republican firebrand from Minnesota, joined in. ...NYT
With Bachmann leading the charge, how worried should the Obama administration be? Into the valley of death ride the House's 233? Even the Washington Post, which has a history of going after Obama, dismisses the Republicans' efforts.
The government failed to anticipate the attack on Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and to protect him and those who died alongside him, but there was no coverup of the failure and no conspiracy to deceive the American people about what had happened. ...WaPo
Anyway, the failure belongs to the CIA -- now endemically a failed institution. The DOJ mess? Badly handled, but not something the White House knew anything about. And the IRS? Ditto.
The IRS targeting conservative opponents of Mr. Obama for special scrutiny is horrifying and inexcusable. We still don’t have a full picture of how the practice originated, how high in the administration knowledge of it rose and how members of Congress came to be repeatedly misinformed on the subject. But there is so far no evidence of White House knowledge or instigation of the practice. ...WaPo
In the end, after sighing about the White House's defensive attitude and flat-footedness, the Post questions -- as the Times does -- Congressional Republicans' judgment.
There will be no shortage of investigations of the IRS affair, which is as it should be, and Republicans in Congress will no doubt pursue Benghazi until the last talking point is gasping for breath. Fine. At the same time we hope Congress will keep in mind that serious business is pending: immigration reform, a tax code overhaul, a looming debt-ceiling deadline and more. The world, from Syria to the South China Sea, remains dangerous. ...WaPo
After more than two years of conflict, Syria is breaking up. A constellation of armed groups battling to advance their own agendas are effectively creating the outlines of separate armed fiefs. As the war expands in scope and brutality, its biggest casualty appears to be the integrity of the Syrian state. ...NYT
Syria? How about George W. Bush's favorite place for war games?
Iraq is a basket case these days, and none of its problems came out of the blue. In the latest bout of sectarian and ethnic bloodletting, coordinated bomb attacks ripped through Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad and also northern Iraq, killing more than 30 people. The spasm of violence followed clashes between the Iraqi army and Sunni protesters and insurgents last month, where the federal government temporarily lost control of some town centers and urban neighborhoods in Kirkuk, Nineveh, and Diyala provinces. ...
... The resurgence of violence since 2010 is shown very clearly in the metrics used to gauge the strength of the insurgency. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Iraq Violence Database has tracked violence since 2004, drawing on both open-source and privileged information provided by security forces in Iraq. In the first quarter of 2011, monthly attacks bottomed out at an average of 358 reported incidents -- the lowest quarterly average since 2004. By the first quarter of 2012, the average monthly attacks had risen to 539. By the first quarter of 2013, it was 804. These figures not only provide evidence an increasingly active insurgency, but one that has more than replaced anti-U.S. targeting with Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence. ...Foreign Policy, Michael Knights
Quick! Find another domestic "scandal" and maybe people won't notice the mess.