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The Washington Swamp: Where You Can Screw-up With No Consequences

Perhaps you saw Rep. Maxine Waters’ latest publicity stunt. She’s one of the more senior of some very senior Democrats in Washington — at 82, one year older than Nancy Pelosi and three more than doddering Joe Biden, who was still president at last report.

Before that Minneapolis policeman’s trial verdict, Waters suddenly showed up there 1,864 miles from her own district in Los Angeles. She advised the chanting crowd of protesters and — Oh, look! — a covey of hungry cameras with an appetite for anger, “We’re looking for a guilty verdict. And if we don’t (get one), we cannot go away. We’ve got to get more confrontational.”

This is the same woman who, three years ago, advised another crowd to hunt down any Trump administration members: “You get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them! And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!”

Now, some sentient Americans consider those sort of remarks to be inciting trouble in a time when some easily excitable crowds seem rather inclined to incitement to start fires and liberate TV sets from local stores.

Remember the justified consequences that followed the congresswoman’s dangerous remarks? No, you don’t. There were none. Speaker Pelosi said the progressive Waters need not apologize for anything. Then, Pelosi ensured that a Waters censure resolution was defeated, though by a surprisingly close 216-210 margin.

As liberal media cheerleader Don Lemon explained to CNN’s dwindled audience, it’s all OK because, “She makes a lot of people uncomfortable, especially a lot of men, and, quite frankly, especially a lot of white men, because she puts them in their place.”

Now, what’s especially disturbing about this recent display of pliable partisan principles is that it has become so common in recent years. There don’t seem to be any consequences for anything that public officials do or fail to do. Nothing. And no consequences for media but a little impotent online griping over their failure to demand consequences.

As most every parent knows, imposing consequences for misbehavior is uncomfortable but their absence just encourages more misbehavior. California now fails to prosecute shoplifting under $1,000. Too much trouble. The predictable result: More shoplifting. Thousands of convicted criminals in the once-Golden state and elsewhere have simply been released from jail because, COVID. Or, budget.

Yes, that Minneapolis officer was convicted for the death of George Floyd, subject to an appeal possibly strengthened by Waters’ remarks. But how about the two teenage girls who hijacked the car of an Uber driver in Washington? The immigrant died trying to keep the only means of his livelihood. They’re not going to be fully prosecuted as murderers because, hey, they’re teenagers. And who didn’t do crazy things as teenagers?

The list of consequence-free malfeasance is long and growing. Barack Obama, who lied 37 times about keeping your insurance and doctor under ObamaCare with no consequences, likes to claim his 2,922 tedious days in office were scandal-free. Let’s see.

Fast and Furious, Eric Holder’s illegal gunrunning operation that put high-powered weapons in drug cartel hands, one of which killed a Border Patrol agent. No consequences. Holder stonewalled congressional investigators. No consequences.

Solyndra, the dodgy solar-panel maker whose owner was a campaign bundler for Obama, got a $535 million federal loan guarantee financed by taxpayers. Then, collapsed into insolvency. Well, that’s the breaks. No consequences.

Recall, the Internal Revenue Service folks who had such a hard, time-consuming ordeal considering conservative groups’ applications for charitable status. Sometimes they took nearly two years and ruined the groups’ fundraising, leading to Obama’s 2012 reelection. The FBI said it investigated, but, as it happens, gee, nothing to see there. No consequences.

The list goes on and on. Holder signed sworn court warrants to get wiretaps on journalists stating they were criminal targets. They weren’t. He was just fishing for leakers. No consequences.

Special Prosecutor John Durham’s been investigating the origins of the FBI’s Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s cooked-up case that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia. Justice officials have hinted at no charges looming, just perhaps procedural violations.

Then, there’s the MOANC, the Mother of All No Consequences. That’s the deadly terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi on 9/11 nearly nine years ago.

Libya had become a lawless state and terrorist training ground because in 2011, without even congressional notice, Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama ordered U.S. forces to help overthrow its longtime strongman, Moammar Gaddafi.

Eleven months later, despite numerous warnings of mounting terrorist activity in that lawless state, Hillary Clinton’s State Department slashed diplomatic security there. Facing no fortifications and little resistance, an organized mob burned the place down and killed four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya.

Desperate pleas for help went unanswered by Clinton or Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in the Pentagon — no air cover, no reinforcements dispatched. In fact, despite a successful attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo earlier that day, no reinforcements were ready anywhere. Inexplicably, the president was nowhere to be seen for some 15 hours that night. Next day, Obama vowed swift justice at a photo-op, then jetted off for two more campaign fundraisers in Vegas.

For days, the administration claimed the attack was the result of an anti-Muslim video on YouTube. They even arrested the poor schlub who posted it.

Anyone remember the serious consequences that ensued afterward? All the people fired, censured, disciplined for incompetence, for not preparing to protect Americans from violent deaths working for their country in a lawless Arab land on an anniversary that invited attack? Anyone remember? Bueller? Bueller?

No one remembers. They can’t. There were no consequences. No swift justice. Nothing. In fact, Susan Rice, the woman who repeated the phony YouTube claim on every Sunday show, is back as Biden’s chief domestic policy advisor.

An Accountability Review Board didn’t even bother talking with Clinton, who was in charge that night. So, predictably, it found no one culpable, just procedural screwups. That should comfort the four families.

Even an oversight hearing by House Republicans produced no consequences but sound bites. In fact, weeks later, the Obama-Biden team was reelected after assuring everyone — falsely — that al Qaeda was on the run, ISIS was an amateur outfit, and Russia was no longer any threat.

Politically, the consequences of all this consequence-skating fueled the anger and frustration of many 2016 voters who came to see Donald Trump as the outsider champion to drain that corrupt, bipartisan D.C. Swamp.

Last fall, however, those Trump advocates were outnumbered by voters who wanted to bring back Joe Biden and his numerous Obama policy retreads.

Looks now like that decision could be one that does produce consequences for this country, not good ones.