"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The IRS Emails and the "Old News" Strategy

There is a very old strategy for White Houses in trouble.   Obfuscate, delay, withhold evidence, kick as many cans as you can down as many roads, and then, when months or years have passed, declare that it's "old news" and anyone bringing it up is not focused on the real issues concerning average Americans.   The Clinton White House did this repeatedly on Whitewater, Travelgate, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, etc.   They count on two things:  (1) a complicit mainstream media that will trumpet the "old news" meme; and (2) the stupidity of the American public, or at least the stupidity of the portions of the electorate that Democrats need... the low-information voters.

That's clearly what's going on in the IRS scandal, and in its latest episode, where Lois Lerner (shown above) and six other IRS senior officials have conveniently "lost" two years of emails related to their targeting of conservative 501c-4 groups.   Look, I litigate cases every day that require my clients to produce emails going back many years.   And, yes, emails get lost or misfiled or deleted.   But, but, but... there is A WHOLE FREAKIN' INDUSTRY of forensic data retrievers who can take literally any system and, given enough time and money, resurrect supposedly "lost" electronic information.   I know this, so certainly the sophisticated lawyers in the White House know this.  

They know the "dog ate my homework" excuse is risible... but they are counting on the media to let them get away with it, and they are counting on their low-information constituencies to believe the whole "my computer crashed" fable, because they don't understand that emails aren't stored on your hard drive, but in servers, and that large organizations like the federal government have backups and backups to backups to backups for their electronic information.

The question is... will it work this time?   I think it probably will, because there are precious few corporate incentives for reporters in the MSM to go after a liberal (and iconic) "first black President"... no promotions, no Pulitizer Prizes, no attaboys from the elites, no gigs on the Sunday shows.   There won't be any Woodward and Bernsteins this time around, and Lois Lerner won't become this era's Rosemary Woods, because there's no Nixon to hate.  

And, because, frankly, there really are tens of millions of low-information (read: dumb) voters out there who respond to current events the way they respond to Hollywood action movies, by deciding beforehand who the good guys and bad guys are, and then passively enjoying the spectacle presented to them.  

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