The Obama Administration's Dispensable People
Last week, Donald Verilli and George Zimmerman learned officially that they have become dispensable people. Both men exhibit more than a qualifying level of characteristics that should place them solidly in the ranks of protected classes, but nevertheless, a confused and panicked Legacy Media has decided that they must be sacrificed. The twin gods --Victory for Obama and All His Works and Socio/Cultural Orthodoxies That Sustain Progressive Policies -- are disturbed and demand propitiation. Obediently, the Legacy Media unleashes its torments on Verilli and Zimmerman, whose fates should be a warning to others believing themselves secure in their special status.
Consider Donald Verilli: a native of the New York metropolitan area without a trace of hayseed, Yale- and Columbia Law-educated, and holder of the same glittering distinction as is enjoyed by the president himself (but in his case, probably actually earned): editor in chief of an Ivy League law review. With a solid legal career before coming to Washington, Verilli, until last week, was the exemplar of the incandescent brilliance with which the Obama administration has allegedly illuminated every corner of every government building from sea to shining sea. And now we are told he is a dope -- a stammering, nerve-wracked, and exhausted blunderer, whose lame arguments, delivered between copious hydrating, might well have led the wisecracking Justice Scalia to comment, echoing Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera, that "[w]e're OK as long as the water holds out."
Voices from the White House have provided a ritual defense -- Verilli did serve as deputy counsel to the president, and it is just not prudent to alienate one's own lawyer, and yet the Obamacare-supportive media has been merciless. It is not unreasonable, though, to believe that Verilli was drawn and quartered in the pliant media as much for what they regarded as discrediting so prominently the aura of Obama administration brilliance as for a lot of ignorant commentators' frivolous judgments about his effectiveness in defending the indefensible.
Verilli's fate should not go unnoticed to others serving Obama. Immediately the brilliant Stephen Chu comes to mind, but there are plenty of other candidates for media sacrifice should the political need arise. For example, Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has already agonized publicly over what is called mortgage principal forgiveness. DeMarco says he takes seriously the job of minimizing further taxpayer losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and there are legitimate fears that banks would likely be the biggest winners of any mortgage principal gimmick. But the pressures on him are already increasing, and if DeMarco' s scruples come up against a full-blown Plouffe-Axelrod political imperative to appear to be doing something for underwater homeowners, does anyone imagine that he will end up portrayed on MSNBC as anything but a stubborn, cruel, pencil-necked bean-counter? Eddie, maybe you should give Newt a call -- if he starts up that Fannie/Freddie historian gig again, he might be able to use you.
Then of course there are some of the figures who exercised their particular brand of brilliance in connection with the Fast and Furious gun-running scheme, like Kevin O'Reilly, a White House aide now being pursued energetically by Messrs. Grassley and Issa. A degree of nervousness must occasionally visit one who could be caricatured falsely by a pliant media as an anti-gun zealot and Star Trek convention aficionado. After all, apparently, O'Reilly himself connived with some low-level state university graduates and night school lawyers at the Department of Justice in a nefarious plot to undermine the Second Amendment against the expressed wishes of Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, and the constitutional law expert-in-chief. As sacrifices to continue the blessings of Hope and Change, disposable people can and will be found as needed, even in the ranks of Obama's best and brilliantest.
George Zimmerman, the man who claims he shot Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in self-defense, is like Mr. Verilli -- a disposable person from what should be a media-protected category. According to prevailing orthodoxies, he is actually more deserving of special status than the average Hispanic; while, oddly, The New York Times seemed to imply that his mixed lineage as a "white Hispanic" renders him less worthy of consideration, since identity is supposed to be everything, is not Zimmerman a living embodiment of the kind of racial diversity the Legacy Media claim to cherish and promote? He is also an active member of his local community watch, and he engages in a variety of other good works. As such, George Zimmerman, a registered Democrat, dutifully follows the admonitions to engage in community service from a president who "often credits his work as a community organizer in his early 20s for giving him direction in life."
All in all, Zimmerman should not be treated in the tame media like Dick Cheney. But now that it is imperative to reinforce monolithic black support for the president, Obama has seen fit to embrace Trayvon Martin as a virtual "son" and scramble to the front of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson's parade. Meanwhile, progressive media figures must make spectacles of themselves competing to condemn Zimmerman's assumed racism and even the nefariousness of anyone who tries to stand up for him. Of course, Zimmerman makes the usual whipping boy for the anti-gun crowd -- and, I suspect, even more importantly, in connection with the media-induced confusion over Stand Your Ground laws, he provides a convenient warning of the untold evils that can arise when citizens assume any kind of active role, including but not restricted to the defense of themselves and their property. In this transformative moment, we are, after all, supposed to be learning to be passive takers and leave the rest to a benevolent government. In the interest of this greater good, Zimmerman must be sacrificed.
From Zimmerman to Verilli, no individual's fate matters when weighed against the monumental hubris of an administration and its running dogs who believe genuinely that they have the authority and the capacity to redesign and to manage this entire nation. These people move from disaster to fiasco with neither regret nor shame. And there will be plenty more sacrifices of dispensable people, individuals and groups, before this is over.
Original post corrected: Kevin O'Reilly not William Newell is being sought by Grassley and Issa.