Democracy is in peril: That is an emerging theme of the liberal left's response to the Obama scandals. The argument misses the point, no doubt deliberately. What we are witnessing now is not a crisis of democracy but a crisis of authority. The administrative state, in thrall to a decadent cultural elite, has lost the consent of the governed.
"After a week of scandal obsession during which the nation's capital and the media virtually ignored the problems most voters care about--jobs, incomes, growth, opportunity, education--it's worth asking if there is something especially flawed about our democracy," declares the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne.
He goes through a partisan litany of complaints--"a radicalization of conservative politics, over-the-top mistrust of President Obama on the right, high-tech gerrymandering in the House and a Senate snarled by non-constitutional super-majority requirements"--but makes no mention of the abuses of power by the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department. He does hint at Benghazi, in his concluding paragraph, but only to pooh-pooh it:
Since World War II, bouts of economic growth have allowed democracies to buy their way out of trouble. One can hope this will happen again--and soon. In the meantime, politicians might contemplate their obligations to stewardship of the democratic ideal. They could begin by pondering what an unemployed 28-year-old makes of a ruling elite that expends so much energy feuding over how bureaucrats rewrote a set of talking points.
But if the purpose of that rewriting was, as it appears to have been, to deceive voters and bolster the president's re-election prospects, then it was a subversion of democracy.