The New York Times reports today that White House officials simply refused to open an email from the EPA last year because they knew it contained a policy recommendation they didn't like -- part of the Administration's on-going battle with scientists at the EPA over global warming issues. (TPM)The hallmark of this administration, to me, has always been their willingness to break every rule and ignore every convention, if they felt they could do so without facing consequences. It seems to be a deliberate policy: exercise every avenue of power that you can, to prove that you can, in case you need it later. Establish every precedent you can get away with. You see this time and time again in the scandals over the years: signing statements, war propaganda, politicizing the Department of Justice, politicizing science, and warrantless wiretapping... The administration will ignore laws it does not like, and will defy congress and the courts in an attempt to define its own reality.
Ignoring a policy email is childish and dysfunctional, but if no one will hold them accountable for it, it is ultimately an effective tactic. By taking impeachment off the table, and by refusing to enforce its subpoena power, and by ratifying telecom immunity, the Democratic Congress has shown that it is unable or unwilling to enforce discipline. So apparently we just have to ride it out. My prediction is that Congress will remember its oversight powers as soon as the next president takes office. Sucker.