Gov. Christie's hyper-political aides ordered traffic jams in neighborhoods near the perpetually backed-up George Washington Bridge to annoy the mayor of Fort Lee. And they may have canceled meetings with the mayor of Jersey City because he wouldn't endorse Mr. Christie. Oh my.
The Christie bonfire has burned for a week. In that same week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI found nothing in the IRS's targeting of conservative political groups that warrants criminal charges.
This conclusion struck lawyers Jay Sekulow and Cleta Mitchell as fairly amazing. Both represent conservative groups targeted by the IRS, and they say the FBI only recently got in touch with a few of their clients.Thus, two of the most powerful public institutions in the U.S.—the FBI and the IRS—have concluded no harm, no foul, and the memory hole swallows the Obama administration's successful kneecapping of the GOP's most active members just as they prepared to participate in the 2012 presidential campaign. Many—ruined or terrified by the IRS probes—shut down.
One may be thankful that corners of the U.S. judiciary remain intact and unintimidated. Late last week, a judge in Wisconsin slowed down what was essentially a Democratic prosecutor's star-chamber investigation of conservative groups that supported Republican Gov. Scott Walker. A special prosecutor armed with subpoena power had been poring over the groups' finances, while a gag order stopped the groups from saying they were his targets.
On Friday, a court quashed some of the subpoenas for lack of probable cause. That's good, but don't expect to see Friends of Scott Walker going on offense any time soon. Legal pistol-whippings by state prosecutors can have that effect, win or lose.
Worth noting is what the IRS's political audits and the attempted takedown of the pro-Walker groups have in common: Both took place essentially out of public view.
An event like Chris Christie's traffic jam is the Internet's version of bread and circuses. What the Democrats' left-wing activists have learned is that most of the time the Web's political media beasts are sleeping. It's most opportune during those periods of non-attention to use modern media technology not just to hit one's opponents, but to drive them from politics.
ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-of-center group of state legislators who gather to compare notes on public-policy issues. The group's ultimate goal is to create templates for bills to enact their policy ideas, such as reforming state public-pension obligations.
Because this process gets laws passed, the left has created organizations whose job is to take down ALEC by frightening its financial supporters.
This is the Democratic left's modus operandi. In early December, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) sent a letter to the heads of J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs,Citigroup asking them to reveal any contributions to "private think tanks." Her goal, she said, was "transparency."
No, the purpose is to surface any such association so the cadres can move in and use the Web, mass Twitter TWTR in Your Value Your Change Short position feeds, shareholder resolutions and media campaigns to drive private companies out of the political arena, leaving politics in the control of public-sector interests—i.e., the state rules.
Threatening companies that participate in politics with reputational destruction is the American left's version of Maoist shaming sessions. Modern Red Guards don't hang signs around your neck. Their weapon of choice is modern media. In this league, a political traffic jam is the work of amateurs.