The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results – 05/17/13

The Watcher’s Council


The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

Even taking into consideration the normal high level of quality in both the Council and Non-Council entries, this was a tough call with some exceptional pieces to choose from and the close vote tallies reflect it.

This week’s winner was Bookworm Room with Obama and Henry II; Obama and Martin Niemöller; and Obama and Al Capone, used some classical and historical examples in a fine bit of writing to make a comparison with the current classical and historical figure now occupying the White House. Here’s a slice:

Congratulations, folks! When it comes to the IRS audit scandal, you are about to get three apt historical comparisons in a single post.

The background, of course, is the cascading downpour of news stories revealing that the IRS deliberately audited Tea Party groups, patriot groups, small government groups, and pro-Israel groups. The auditing started in 2010, but reached a crescendo during Obama’s campaign for re-election. The result was that several groups hostile to Obama and his policies were completely broken or rendered paralyzed during key moments in the Obama administration. Obama’s responsibility, and the reaction to this true witch-hunt made me think of three historic parallels.

1. Obama and Henry II. I’m willing to bet you never thought of Obama in connection with Henry II (1133-1189). Henry was the lusty, rowdy, all-conquering (at least initially) 12th century English king who married Eleanor of Aquitaine, the richest, most beautiful woman in Europe; ruled large sections of France; fathered sons who went off on crusades and set put a signature to the first “rights” document ever written; and generally set the stage for England’s prominent role on the world stage for so many centuries.

Obama is the exact opposite — not lusty, not rowdy, terrified of conquest, married to a woman whose primary claim to beauty is her arms, etc. And yet, there’s a thread that binds them. I thought of it when I read about the defense Obama-ites are offering when it comes to the really horrible scandal about the IRS targeting conservative groups and Jewish groups, essentially disabling them during Obama’s first term and, especially, in the lead-up to the election.

According to Obama’s defenders, even if one concedes that what the IRS did was a bad thing, Obama shouldn’t be touched by the scandal. It was not Barack’s fault. Leave Barack alone!! The IRS’s version of events is that “low level” employees committed these tyrannical acts. The New York Times goes so far as to blame the whole thing on the GOP (and certainly wins the George Orwell “1984″ Reporting Award for doing so). Message: this is not Obama’s fault. Barack Obama himself has gone on record as being surprised and dismayed.

You know what? This may be true. I’m perfectly willing to believe that Obama didn’t personally order these audits. But I can’t help thinking of Henry II. Once upon a time, early in his reign, Thomas Becket was Henry II’s closest friend. The relationship lasted right up until Henry elevated Becket to be Archbishop of Canterbury. It was then that Becket, who had been a priest for years, finally had his “come to Jesus” moment. He began opposing Henry vigorously on government policies that affected the Church, so much so that he became a thorn in Henry’s side.

Eventually, goaded beyond bearing, Henry cried out rhetorically “Will no one rid me of this turbulent (or meddling) priest?” (or, perhaps, the wordier “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?”). It’s important to note that Henry never ordered Becket’s death. He just whined about the fact that Becket’s existence interfered with his goals. Four of Henry’s knights heard these words and decided to help out. They rode to Canterbury and stabbed Thomas to death inside the Cathedral itself.

Although the facts made it impossible to hold Henry guilty for having ordered Becket’s death, everyone understood that his attitude caused it. Henry was castigated throughout Europe. Four years after Becket’s death, he donned a sack-cloth and walked barefoot through Canterbury’s streets as eighty monks flogged him with branches. Henry then spent the night in the martyr’s crypt. Henry also promised the Papacy that he’d go crusading in Becket’s memory, although never did so. As it happened, Richard I, Henry’s oldest son, more than made up for his father’s broken promise.

Obama has made it plain in almost every speech he’s given that Republicans must be destroyed. He has not treated them as partners in governing America. Through straw men arguments, slanders, and insults, he has painted them as the other and made it clear that the only way for him to achieve full greatness is for his enemy to be wiped out. Small wonder that party loyalists, whether at the upper level of the IRS or in the Ohio office too him seriously.

Even if Obama is not practically culpable, he is morally culpable, just as Henry was for Becket’s death.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Zombie who coined a new word for us with Progracists submitted by Rhymes With Right. The tile is self-explanatory.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Simply Jews was unable to vote this week, but was not affected by the 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on FaceBook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!


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