White House

White House Embroiled in Scandal Turns to Senate Majority Leader Who Went After President in His Own Party


throwback thursday
U.S. Senate

Howard Baker died yesterday at the age of 88. He was Tennessee's first Republican elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, eventually rising to the position of Senate Majority Leader. He left in 1985 but returned to Washington in 1987, as reported at the time by TIME Magazine:

The circumstances were similar: the White House was embroiled in scandal and a presidency tottered on the brink of disaster. At the Senate Watergate Committee hearings during the summer of 1973, an earnest Republican lawmaker from Tennessee became famous when he framed the essential question concerning Richard Nixon: "What did the President know, and when did he know it?" The answer led to Nixon's downfall.

Nearly 14 years later, another White House crisis is thrusting Howard Baker back into the headlines. This time, however, he may be the best hope to rescue a floundering President.

The White House has found itself once again—and perhaps has been perpetually since Watergate—"embroiled in scandal" with a presidency "totter[ing] on the brink of disaster." Who are the Democrats challenging President Obama on scandals ranging from the IRS to Benghazi to the NSA? Ron Wyden and Mark Udall come to mind, at least on the NSA. The Democrats speaking up about the IRS—now that that agency's excuses are tough to swallow even for some die hard partisans—happen to be up for re-election in November. And what Democrat in the Senate could you imagine President Obama calling on to rescue his presidency, rather than digging in further on the same tired partisan rhetoric of the last generation?

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  1. I can’t imagine there being any Senate Democrats left that personally like or appreciate Barack Obama.

    He’s imperious, shifty, and has brought utter ruin down upon the party; all while Congressional Democrats are forced by necessity to shovel his shit down the long road to a midterm beating in November.

    If there’s a smoking gun to the IRS scandal a substantial number of Senate Democrats are going to bail on him to cover their own asses.

    1. Harry Reid would do whatever was necessary to support Obama.

      Liz Warren would go down on Obama during a prime time television special if he asked her to.

      I can’t think of any Democrats in the Senate who would ever say anything in public against Obama–although as Obama’s popularity continues to tank, they’ll start to quietly distance themselves after the midterms, I’m sure. …with the emphasis on “quietly”.

      1. It all becomes more clear as to why Obama slid easily to re-election in 2012 during a down economy and record high gas prices. Something that kept getting Obama’s re-election chances labeled as “toast”.

        1. You mean his “toasted” complexion?

          Which also makes it difficult for any Democrats to not support him. For five years they’ve been saying that all opposition to Obama is racist. (Bill Clinton is still ticked off that they implied he was a racist.) So Democrats are trapped and screwed.

          And they will be even more trapped and screwed if Obama does any threatened “executive actions” about immigration. We’ve already got Camp of the Saints on our southern border, and if he starts talking amnesty, voters will be in a lynching mood in November.

          1. “Another reason some Hollywood progressives have been reticent to speak out against war in Syria, according to [Ed] Asner, is fear of being called racist.

            “A lot of people don’t want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama,” he said.”


            That’s just a different form of racism, and it’s self-inflicted.

            If the progressives have smeared everyone as being racist for so long–just for opposing Obama–that they can’t oppose his warmongering themselves out of fear of being called a racist, then I don’t know whether to blame them for creating that absurd environment or whether to blame them for being too cowardly to stand up for what they believe in, but I know whose fault that is!

            And it sure as hell isn’t the Tea Party’s fault for making progressives feel that way.

      2. Suggesting that Lizzihontas, a descendant of the innocent and eternally wronged Native Americans, would fellate Obama, a descendant of the evil, rapine Europeans is sexist, racist, patriarchal, and othering.

        Lizzihontas is not your squaw.

        1. Barrack is male, and therefore a rapist, because… the rape culture. Liz Warren is just another one of his victims, it just hasn’t happened ‘yet’. I hope that clarifies that for you.

        2. When I said she’d do it on television during prime time, I meant to suggest she’d do anything for him, no matter how degrading, but I didn’t mean to suggest that she’d just do it for the media exposure and the publicity.

          She’d do it in private, too, I’m sure.

          1. …”I didn’t mean to suggest that she’d just do it for the media exposure and the publicity.”

            I’ll bet she’d do it to get a teaching position! And lie that she didn’t.

  2. And what Democrat in the Senate could you imagine President Obama calling on to rescue his presidency, rather than digging in further on the same tired partisan rhetoric of the last generation?

    I didn’t think we’d ever again see so many people put so much faith in a president again–as we’ve seen progressives put faith in Barack Obama.

    As little criticism as there was from the right when we needed it during the Bush Administration’s run up to the Iraq War, I’m sure Obama has more blind support from his partisans than anyone else has since before Nixon.

    Progressives don’t even bother staking out their own positions anymore. They just wait for whatever Obama does and support that.

    1. That’s a bit broad, Ken, Nixon was not adored by his acolytes like Obo. He was an asshole and most people with half a brain knew it. Yet he managed to open a dialouge with the PRC which historically has worked out. Unlike OBO, Nixon was able to overcome his asshloness and accomplish something in foreign policy.

      Agreed that OBO has ruined his credibility. I see that as a good thing. It’s always a good thing when the rubber meets the road and a pol fucks up, there remains hope that the general public sniffs out the bullshit.

  3. Not seeing a parallel here.
    Baker sunk Nixon, by lending definition to the requirement for “specificity”. Once we saw what he knew and when he knew it, he was gone.
    I wish there were a dem honest enough to do the same for Obo; he richly deserves it. But I sure don’t see one.
    I see rugs being lifted and brooms in action.

    1. yeah, the article is a bit scattered. I”m not even sure what point it’s trying to make, as it seems to inadequately express a couple different ideas.

      1. Plus, his Time magazine link is broke – but I don’t see anybody rushing to tell him so maybe I’m just not in on the joke.

  4. Imagine if Nixon had the media’s favor like Obama does. He would have easily served his second term.

    1. No kidding. “Fake scandal.”

      1. “Look you pinkos, the president eloquently summarized the whole incident as nothing more than a “third-rate burglary”. It’s a fake scandal devised by those who hate the first Quaker president!”

        1. You probably should have told them to put down their crack pipes and beer bongs… and to listen up, first.

  5. And what Democrat in the Senate could you imagine President Obama calling on to rescue his presidency, rather than digging in further on the same tired partisan rhetoric of the last generation?

    Is this a trick question?

  6. Jesus Christ, CNN: Top IRS official beats back Republican barrage at hearing

    Larry Hirsch, a former Freddie Mac board member, told CBS that Koskinen boosted morale as the agency struggled to survive.

    “Obviously after the financial crisis, the company was in internal and external crisis,” Hirsch said after Obama nominated Koskinen for the IRS job. “John walked in and immediately handled what was happening with the company. He had the quiet strength and openness to take a very depressed management team and employee group to give them the confidence they were valued and the company had a future.”

    ‘Unflappable’ and ‘honest’

    Koskinen also served on the board of trustees at Duke University from 1985 to 1998 and chaired the board’s business and finance committee during the tenure of then-University President Keith Brodie.

    Brodie, who is also a psychiatry professor, said he spent a lot of time working with Koskinen during difficult financial times at the university and called Koskinen “remarkably talented.”

    And although congressional Republicans are questioning his integrity, Brodie said Koskinen was a “very, very honest guy” and steady.

    “He was quite unflappable back then and really a joy to work with,” Brodie said.

    1. con’td:

      Beating back accusations
      While Koskinen could plunge a Duke University boardroom into a deferential silence, Congress is a very different animal.

      By the end of his question time on Monday, a dissatisfied Issa proclaimed: “I’ve lost my patience with you.”

      But Koskinen kept his cool.

      Rep. Michael Turner, a Ohio Republican, tried to push Koskinen to say whether a crime had been committed amid the IRS scandal.

      Turner pushed back after Koskinen said he had not seen any evidence of a crime or any evidence for any number of other things relating to the lost emails belonging to former top IRS official Lois Lerner.

      “We have no evidence whether she (Lerner) beat her dog, whether she beat children,” Koskinen said.

      But then Turner questioned Koskinen’s integrity when he said he would not call the FBI to investigate the agency.

      “I reject the suggestion that my integrity depends on my calling the FBI,” Koskinen said, and later said there were “no facts” behind Turner’s criminal accusations.

      He later said he hadn’t seen any evidence of “wrongdoing” in the loss of Lerner’s emails, triggering more Republican incredulity.

      CNN just gave a tongue-bath to the man that is essentially Barack Obama’s middle finger.

      1. HAHA “a very, very honest guy”. Yeah, OK.

      2. …”as the agency struggled to survive.”…

        Don’t we WISH?!
        I’ll hold the stake, someone else gets the hammer!

    2. A bunch of overpaid bureaucrats, caught in illegal partisan activity, have had their morale boosted. I’m so happy for them.

    3. Skimmed the CNN story. Sadly, it appears the CNN squirrels removed the paragraphs about his financial support for Democrats:


      Which included the $2k he gave to Eleanor Holmes Norton – who defended him against the unwarranted Republican attacks:


      1. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would donate to Eleanor Holmes Norton. She can’t even cast a vote.

        1. She can probably exchange favors.

        2. Did you see her recent act of brilliance? She was being shown a driverless car, but before they could go anywhere she reached out and hit the big red button labeled “Emergency Stop,” which disabled the car.

    4. Awesome, Brodie. I’m really happy you’re acquainted with such an upstanding paragon of bureaucratic integrity.

      That doesn’t mean Koskinen didn’t lie. It certainly doesn’t mean Koskinen wasn’t lied to.

    5. Who the hell do they think they’re kidding? Koskinen has become a punchline, even for the general public, in referring to the IRS as corrupt.

    1. I was really looking forward to the aneurism-inducing (or induced?) ban-boner comments, until I realized I’d clicked through to Breitbart. But I laughed at this one:

      She really ought to be complaining to OSHA- sounds like an unsafe work environment to me. Criminals have a right to a work environment where they do not have to worry about being killed or injured while trying to earn their living.

    2. “Williams’s cousin Tamika McSwain is saying that although what he did was wrong, he shouldn’t have died and is calling for stricter gun laws. In the video, she specifically cites Harrison in her argument, asserting that tougher regulations for the acquirement of concealed weapon permits may have prevented her cousin’s death.”

      Yes, it could have allowed her cousin to shoot some people.

      1. Incidentally, I think it’s *South* Carolina.

        1. What difference, at this point.. does it make?

    3. That’s a rare instance of stricter gun laws having the desired effect. Criminals would be marginally safer while they’re committing crimes.

  7. So the White House is in crisis with the IRS getting more absurd and impossible to defend by the day.

    So naturally Jon Stewart is right dumping on…Republicans, for being pro-war and anti-help for poor people. He’s also going on a global warming and gun control tangent since those are the things we should bankrupt ourselves on instead of foreign aid.

    He’s yet to mention that Kentucky Senator that negates all that, but I’m sure Colbert will have some fresh “Rand Paul has a marmot on his head” material after The Daily Show.

    1. I’m pretty sure the whole point of the Daily Show is so dumbass 20-something liberals can pat themselves on the back and then post about it on facebook to signal that they’re not one of those people.

      1. Yeah, it’s support for the moral cripples who make up the left and need authority t tell them what to think. Like, oh, well, look who’s HERE:

        1. Not you, GILMORE, Tony.

      2. Thats probably the most accurate summary of that show i’ve ever heard.

  8. Considering the White House isn’t even implicated in the fake scandals you referred to, and the real scandal with the NSA has Democratic critics as you write, I don’t see what you’re trying to say. Mr. Baker is a story about a time when Republicans weren’t raving lunatics who defend torture and wars based on lies while spending all their time under a Democratic president looking for tabloid bullshit to jerk off to in front of a camera as they daydream about impeachment.

    1. Tony|6.26.14 @ 11:15PM|#
      “Considering the White House isn’t even implicated in the fake scandals you referred to,”…

      Yeah, what did he know and when did he know it.
      Ring a bell, asshole?

    2. Pics or it didn’t happen.

    3. Pure as the wind driven snow, that Obama guy is… stupid RethugliKKKans!!1!

    4. Considering the White House isn’t even implicated in the fake scandals you referred to

      Would be nice to know for sure if all those emails didn’t mysteriously vanish at the most convenient time.

      Mr. Baker is a story about a time when Republicans weren’t raving lunatics who defend torture and wars based on lies while spending all their time under a Democratic president looking for tabloid bullshit to jerk off to in front of a camera as they daydream about impeachment.

      Bush officials wrote memos justifying torture, liberals freak the fuck out.

      Obama officials write memos justifying assassination, Democrats vote the author onto the Federal bench.

      We totally yield to Team Blue’s moral superiority, shithead.

      1. Yeah? Well at least Obama didn’t waterboard Awlaki!.. before they droned him.. oh, and his 16 year-old son, too.. Soo, stick that up your ass TEABIGOT!!!11!

        1. And, uh, SOCIAL CONTRACT!

    5. Not even you are stupid enough to believe what you wrote there.

      1. Yes, he is.

    6. Obama has a history of doing things like digging up sealed divorce records to use against Republicans. Numerous Democratic senators called for persecution of Tea Party groups. Obama joked about auditing his enemies. Numerous IRS officials had an inordinate amount number of White House visits. A long series of official lies about the extent of IRS misdeeds.

      It’s not hard to put those pieces together. Certainly even Tony would be able to do that, if the party identifications were reversed.

      1. “Certainly even Tony would be able to do that, if the party identifications were reversed.”

        I don’t think so.
        I’m serious about being a moral cripple; he has zero principles on which to rely.
        Infants don’t; they need their parents to direct their consciences. Tony is the same; unless his team tells him something is “wrong”, he would have no ability to determine that.
        In fact, the term “wrong” probably doesn’t mean to him ans his ilk what it means to thoughtful people. It is simply that to which Mamma says ‘no-no!’.

        1. I think Tony is just another hyperpartisan. He knows right from wrong, but wrongs committed by his Team are minor issues, excused as necessary for the greater good. On the other hand, the wrongs (and lots more) committed by the other Team are all the most mortal of sins by the vilest villains of all. We can’t be protected from the Bad Team if we are too critical of the Good Team.

          1. “He knows right from wrong”

            I still see ignorance as the default and haven’t seen enough evidence to suggest he’s an unprincipled knave.

      2. It’s not hard to put those pieces together

        “Who shall rid me of this turbulent priest?”

      3. You’re right, it is extremely easy to concoct a conspiracy when you want to.

    7. What you just said had ‘not a smidgen’ of basis in reality.

    8. Tony is Jon Stewart, I just figured that out..whoa

  9. See, this guy killed all these furry little animals for their pelts; he’s a real meanie!

    “California man poached 60 bobcats, foxes for pelts”

    Yeah, the critters were out of the legal season, but the comments are sickening. You’d think he killed teddy bears as they were on the way to comfort kids with horrible diseases.
    Folks, won’t anyone think of the birds? The voles? The mice? The rabbits? The squirrels?
    The SQUIRRELS?! Kill ’em I say, KIL ‘EM!!!!

    1. My grandpa paid for his college by trapping animals and selling their pelts.

      1. I got $0.50 for each pair of crows fett I brought to the farmers. If he hadn’t heard shooting nearby, you didn’t get the money.
        Most farmers would also let you set dead-lines in the ponds and pay $0.50 for each snapper you brought out. And if you knew a restaurant, you might get another $0.50; turtle soup is one of my faves!

        1. What would farmers do with crow’s feet? Or was it just evidence that you killed a crow?

          1. They’re nailed to the barn to instill terror, and signify to the other crows that there’s a new sheriff in town, and they better straighten the fuck up.. and fly right.

            1. I like this story better…

            2. From a famous French novel:
              “pour encourager les autres!”

          2. …”Or was it just evidence that you killed a crow?”

            Yes, it was a bounty on vermin.
            A friend of the family got paid for ground hogs (the cows would step in the hole and break a leg). But he didn’t do it for the bounty. He was an accomplished gun hobbiest who necked-down 30-caliber brass and re-loaded it with (I think) .222 bullets; he did it to prove that damn bullet was FAST!
            (he was the guy who first explained to me that if you drop this bullet and shoot that one, they will both hit the ground at the same time. Amazing to a kid)

            1. “who necked-down 30-caliber brass and re-loaded it with (I think) .222 bullets”

              Sounds like one of the old .22 ‘bug’ rounds, like the .218 bee, or .219 wasp, or my favorite .. the .22 hornet.

              1. That was close to 60 years ago. I remember the rifle had a serious shoulder pad.
                I got to shoot several of the ‘local’ guns, but not that one; that wasn’t a ‘plinking’ gun, nor a rabbit or squirrel gun.
                SQUIRRELS?! KILL ‘EM!! I SAY KILL ‘EM!!!!!

                1. Oh, maybe more like a .220 swift then

                  1. “Oh, maybe more like a .220 swift then”

                    Wish my memory was better; it was one of those, since he bought what was available.
                    He called that gun his ‘varminter’.
                    But I also remember he casting bullets; ‘wad-cutters’ for target shooting.

                    1. The .220 swift is a brutal cartridge that’s absolute hell on the little creatures. It moves at almost a mile a second from the bore, and devastates woodchuck and coyote alike. The point was that an animal 2-300 yards away would never hear the report nor the sonic boom (down range crack) from a bullet moving soooo fast. The problem with them was that they would burn the throats out fairly quickly if not cleaned constantly, and even then. Accuracy went to shit after the throats and barrels were ‘shot out’.

              2. Could be a .22 Savage High-Power aka .22 “Imp” aka 5.6?52mmR.

                The case for the .22 Savage High-Power is based on the .25-35 Winchester, which in turn was based on the .30-30.

            2. Fun fact: in the 17th century, some New England towns required men who had filed for marriage to kill a number of crows or ravens before their license would be approved.

              1. Barbarous! I ‘am truly sorry to hear about the persecution and genocide of your people at the hands of my Scottish and English forefathers, Mr. Raven Nation. You have my deepest, guilt-ridden apology and regrets for our unspeakable actions during that brutal, tragic era in our collective history… NEVER AGAIN!

                1. Pathogen: oh, that’s very good.

                  *Stands to applaud*

    2. What.. your teddy bears aren’t made from fox and bobcat pelts? Philistine…

    3. Oh, sure, today it’s bobcats and foxes. Tomorrow he’s Buffalo Bill.

      1. I’d pay to see Annie Oakley.

  10. “In an “Only-in-Israel” moment, border police recently delayed hauling in a suspected drug dealer until he fulfilled the ancient Jewish ritual of seeing to his son’s brit mila (circumcision)….

    “But the cries of “Mazal Tov!” were no sooner uttered than the bust continued apace, and police confiscated over eight kilos of marijuana, 25 plants, tens of thousands of shekels in cash, and indoor growing equipment.

    “En route to the Beersheba police station, the suspect thanked the police for their forbearance….

    “”I’m happy that both the raid, and the brit, went well,” [the head cop] concluded.”


    1. The story started on this site:


      And includes some comments:

      may Hashem bless the officers. This action is in stark contrast to US 3am warrantless no knock raids that result in unlawful police murders of suspects.
      With Blessings ~ Hermitone”

      “In stark contrast to this:”

      [link to baby-burning story]

      1. So…Israeli police show it’s possible to bust people for drugs without being malevolent, sociopathic, paramilitary dickheads?

        Who would have guessed?

  11. Really OT:
    Get a copy of Fortune and read “New Blood”.
    Either this woman (she always wanted to start a business, since ‘that’s the way you change the world'[!]) is gonna, what? Cure cancer? At LEAST! Save the world? Why not?
    Or, there’s a real scam in process.

  12. OK, Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian who got off death row this week for “apostasy” and now faces charges of document fraud (i.e., using a South Sudan travel document when trying to get the heck out of north Sudan), is now *perfectly safe.* She’s out on bail and staying at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum.

    She’s quite secure now. “Safe as a U.S. embassy” is a common phrase in northern Africa.


    1. I’m not religious, but praise the Lord.

  13. Tech folks say ‘I can offer an app to sell info, and up yours, SF gov’t!’

    “MonkeyParking tells SF it’s not going to kill its parking app”
    “MonkeyParking, the Rome-based startup whose iPhone app is used to auction off public parking spaces in San Francisco, is refusing City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s order for the company to halt operations here.
    In a newly released statement, MonkeyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny, derided Herrera’s cease and desist letter as “an open violation of free speech.””

    As I’ve linked before, the city has a parking locator app, so it looks like they don’t like competition.

    1. In a newly released statement, MonkeyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny, derided Herrera’s cease and desist letter as “an open violation of free speech.”

      “I have the right to tell people if I am about to leave a parking spot, and they have the right to pay me for such information,” Dobrowolny said.

      I have a real soft spot in my heart for the civilly disobedient. Especially when they are in the right.

      1. Frank, if you ask Herrera about Citizens United, he’d ask where the cameras are before you’d get an answer.
        He’s the male equivalent of that media whore Kamala Harris. As far as either one of them cares, the Constitution is, at best, something someone mentions from time to time.

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