Scandal-rama: Change the people or the system?

Eyeglasses with newspaper and coffee cup

In recent weeks, a smorgasbord of scandals has hit the Obama Administration. From IRS harassment to phone tapping the Associated Press to the Benghazi cover-up to judicial targeting of a Fox News reporter – never mind the newly-revealed NSA tapping of cell phones – the Administration formerly known as transparent is losing support left, right, and center.

How do we prevent scandals like these from ever happening again? In Washington, the solution is usually related to finding a scapegoat. Fire that person, give them a paid vacation, whatever. And once that solution is found, the establishment simply moves on.

However, as Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama pointed out in her testimony to the Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday, that’s not close to good enough:

It isn’t a matter of firing or arresting individuals. The individuals who sought to intimidate us acted as they thought they should in a government culture that has little respect for its citizens.

Exactly. A single scandal could be based around a person or personality. Five is a pattern. Furthermore, as Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham noted last week, the NSA overreach started because of the Patriot Act – under a Republican President. So while many claim President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and the rest of the current Administration are the culprits, the real problem is a system that allows for these kinds of constitutional abuses on a regular basis.

The system isn’t just flawed within the administrative bureaucracy. Consider the number of Senators who called for IRS investigations into conservative groups, and how Rep. McDermott (D-WA) blamed the victims of IRS harassment. Consider how Members of Congress benefit from the farm bill they vote for, behavior that is considered well within the norm.

Blaming one or two people can’t possible go enough in a government that’s “too big to manage.” The problems related to wiretapping, Benghazi, the IRS, farm bill corruption, etc. are the result of decades of unconstitutional, unaccountable growth of government. Scapegoating a bureaucrat isn’t enough; the establishment culture making it possible in the first place needs to be ripped up, root, branch and tree.