So, apparently, it’s not the fourth estate’s job to inquire and prod about problems in politicians or political appointee’s past. We know that the White House and Congress doesn’t do a good job vetting it (see half a dozen posts with the “Obama Amateur Hour” tag and ladle on that the fact that Obama’s pick for the National Intelligence Chairman has withdrawn his nomination. So who will? Well, according to Barney Frank (D-MA), we don’t need to do it. It’s ok if our Secretary of the Treasury (and others) failed to pay taxes. It’s ok if our National Intelligence Chairman has questionable ties or past relationships with countries of particular concern to our intelligence community.
“I think it’s a problem, although I will say this – for the media to blame that entirely on the Senate seems to me a little bit self serving,” Frank said. “I mean, the media is the problem here, in part. It is the over-focus on part of people in the media to relatively minor infractions that causes this. I guarantee you my colleagues would not on their own be doing this. So I do think we are in a culture now where a lack of perfection exacts too strong a toll, but that’s the politicians reacting to the media.”
“Relatively minor infractions” – ok, maybe the IRS will allow me to infract on what I owe them this year. Well, given that the Obama hasn’t posted appointees in 17 of the 18 slots in the Treasury Department, including the IRS Commissioner, maybe I’m safe. Heck, it’s not like the economy is a big deal right now so maybe having the Assistant Secretaries for a number of key sectors isn’t a big deal.
Andrea Mitchell part of the “news bureau” (quotes intentional) at MSNBC responded to Frank with this tidbit:
“I take your point, Mr. Frank, Mr. Chairman,” Mitchell said. “You’re right and we plead guilty because this is this culture right now of ‘gotcha’ has gotten completely out of control.”
Will they remember this when the republicans take back control? What about an apology to the appointees under the Bush administration who got raked over the coals for much less that a FEDERAL OFFENSE.