If you’re wondering who the next Attorney General of the United States might be, following the departure of Eric “Stonewall” Holder, you’ll have to wait until after the elections. Senate Democrats demanded the White House keep the name under wraps until they drag themselves past the 2014 midterms. That tells you the names they’ve been hearing through back channels from the White House wouldn’t bring a round of applause from states with tight Senate races. There’s no logical reason to keep the name secret – it’s pure politics, and purely a move to ensure the American people don’t have a chance to respond to the choice at the ballot box. How fitting: even Holder’s replacement is kept behind a stone wall.
Likewise, there’s no logical reason for next year’s ObamaCare premiums to be kept secret until after the elections… but into the vault they go. This, again, tells you everything you need to know about what those rates will be. Some of the biggest rumored premium hikes will hit states with nail-biter elections, including Alaska, Iowa, and Louisiana. We certainly don’t want voters in those states to see double-digit increases in their insurance costs before they march to the polls, do we? They might do something rash.
Remember when President Obama made a huge deal about how the termination of his “middle class tax cut” (actually a raid on Social Security funding) would be the end of the world, because it would take $40 out of people’s paychecks? He even had a Twitter hashtag for his political campaign, “#40Dollars”. If you’re having a hard time recalling all that, it’s because Obama completely lost interest in this “tax cut” during the fiscal cliff drama, and his pet media obligingly forgot he ever said anything about the horrors of losing forty bucks from your paycheck. Well, now he expects people to lose a lot more than $40 due to jacked-up ObamaCare premiums and soaring deductibles, but those folks don’t get any sympathy at all. They don’t even get the courtesy of timely information about what they’re going to pay next year.
Another little episode you’re not supposed to remember is Obama’s dubiously legal trade of five Taliban big shots for captured Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who left his post because, as John Goodman described his prison break in “Raising Arizona,” he felt the institution no longer had anything to offer him. The Army recently completed an investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance, but we don’t get to see it. I would imagine that little bombshell might cause all sorts of confusion in this year’s elections. Better to keep it under wraps until the political heat dies down.
It reminds me a bit of the way Obama’s people wisely decided that voters might have been confused by learning that a member of the White House advance team to Colombia got caught bringing a lady of the evening to his hotel room during the notorious Secret Service Cartagena Caper. Investigators were explicitly instructed to keep that under wraps until after the 2012 presidential election. The adventurous lad in question was the son of a big Obama donor, he ended up with a job handling “global women’s issues” for the State Department… it would have been such a mess for voters to sort through all that in the heat of a big election. Makes you wonder what other investigations might have been kept on ice to keep them from giving the American people a headache, then or now, doesn’t it?
The clock is running down on delivery of one investigative package that was supposed to be delivered no later than October 22: an index of the “Operation Fast and Furious” documents President Obama shielded with executive privilege to protect Attorney General Holder. Judicial Watch sued the Administration to obtain this index, and on September 23, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the Justice Department’s delaying tactics and gave them a month to cough up the list. I wonder if some last-minute “difficulties” in producing that information will be encountered. Hard drives have been crashing all over Washington lately. I guess we’ll find out next week. We still won’t be able to read the protected documents, mind you, but we’ll know what they are, the legal basis upon which they were kept secret, and the supposed damage to DOJ that would be created by disclosure. It might be a bit late for that to tip any Senate races, but I’ll bet there are people in the Administration thinking it’s best not to take any chances. President Obama’s approval numbers are horrific as it is. The return of an old scandal is the last thing his Party needs right now.
Here’s a fun little tidbit we weren’t supposed to dwell on, while desperate Democrats are furiously working to turn the Ebola crisis into an attack on Republican budget-cutters: did you know we already have an “Ebola czar?” (I think “Ayatollah of Ebola” sounds better myself, but since Obama’s been breeding czars like rabbits over the past six years, I guess we’re stuck with the term.)
That’s funny, because the MSNBC crowd actually took a stab at pinning Ebola on Republicans (specifically, Republicans influenced by the National Rifle Association) by claiming their foolish opposition to President Obama’s glorious Surgeon General pick left America defenseless against the imported virus. Turns out there’s been someone nominally in charge of coordinating epidemic response all along, one Dr. Nicole Lurie – an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, no less. Quite a fuss was made about the power of her office when it was established years ago.
Why haven’t you seen her on TV? What’s she been doing all this time? Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist says that’s still a secret:
As National Journal rather glowingly puts it, “Lurie’s job is to plan for the unthinkable. A global flu pandemic? She has a plan. A bioterror attack? She’s on it. Massive earthquake? Yep. Her responsibilities as assistant secretary span public health, global health, and homeland security.” A profile of Lurie quoted her as saying, “I have responsibility for getting the nation prepared for public health emergencies—whether naturally occurring disasters or man-made, as well as for helping it respond and recover. It’s a pretty significant undertaking.” Still another refers to her as “the highest-ranking federal official in charge of preparing the nation to face such health crises as earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and pandemic influenza.”
Now, you might be wondering why the person in charge of all this is a name you’re not familiar with. Apart from a discussion of Casey’s comments on how we don’t need an Ebola czar because we already have one, a Google News search for Lurie’s name at the time of writing brings up nothing in the last hour, the last 24 hours, not even the last week! You have to get back to mid-September for a few brief mentions of her name in minor publications. Not a single one of those links is confidence building.
So why has the top official for public health threats been sidelined in the midst of the Ebola crisis? Only the not-known-for-transparency Obama administration knows for sure. But maybe taxpayers and voters should force Congress to do a better job with its oversight rather than get away with the far easier passing of legislation that grants additional funds before finding out what we got for all that money we allocated to this task over the last decade. And then maybe taxpayers should begin to puzzle out whether their really bad return on tax investment dollars is related to some sort of inherent problem with the administrative state.
Now I’m absolutely positive we’re not supposed to ask tough questions about the Administration’s Ebola response, or precisely what the allegedly under-funded government health agencies have been doing with the vast amounts of money they were given. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for panicky Democrats to pick that fight by trying to blame GOP penny-pinchers for the spread of Ebola. But then, they know they can count on their friends in the media to avoid digging too deep into anything that was supposed to stay buried until after Election Day. If you can think of other things we’re not supposed to know until after we vote, feel free to drop them in the comments.