"Hmmm. The Indians used to be able tell if the buffalo were moving by listening to the ground. I wonder if the Scandal Express is on time? Maybe if I listen just a bit longer. . ."
Brendan Nyhan, guest columnist at Larry Sabato's crystal Ball, writes:
One of the least remarked upon aspects of the Obama presidency has been the lack of scandals. Since Watergate, presidential and executive branch scandal has been an inescapable feature of the American presidency, but the current administration has not yet suffered a major scandal, which I define as a widespread elite perception of wrongdoing. What happened, and what are the odds that the administration’s streak will continue?
Obama has been extremely fortunate: My research (PDF) on presidential scandals shows that few presidents avoid scandal for as long as he has. In the 1977-2008 period, the longest that a president has gone without having a scandal featured in a front-page Washington Post article is 34 months – the period between when President Bush took office in January 2001 and the Valerie Plame scandal in October 2003. Obama has already made it almost as long despite the lack of a comparable event to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Why?
Obama should be highly vulnerable to scandal given his standing with Republicans. My research identifies presidential approval among opposition party identifiers as a key risk factor. The reason is that discontent among the opposition’s base creates demand for negative news about the president, encouraging opposition legislators and members of the news media to promote allegations of misconduct. . .
Gee, I dunno, maybe because the collectivists OWN the so-called "mainstream media" and they are PROTECTING their leg-tingley investment?
However, Nyhan looks at the data from previous presidential scandals (check the charts) and concludes:
However, the results suggest that the likelihood of a presidential or executive branch scandal before the 2012 election are quite high (though continued unrest in the Middle East or other news events could dampen the odds).
Indeed. And Nyhan even has heard of one that might just have some legs:
Given Obama’s reputation for personal integrity, the controversy will likely concern actions taken within the executive branch. . . . Recent examples include . . . allegations that Department of Justice officials allowed straw purchases of guns that were smuggled to Mexico, prompting a standoff with Congress that House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) recently compared to Iran-Contra.
No kidding? Nyhan concludes:
Whether these specific allegations will succeed is anybody’s guess — some unexpected new controversy may instead provide the spark — but the first Obama scandal is likely to arrive sooner than most people think.
You bet yer ass it will, Brendan. You bet yer ass it will.
Why, you're gonna look like a regular Nostradamus social science prophet before this is over.
Your colleagues won't love you for it, though.
Brendan Nyhan, Swami Gunwalker: "Yes, my great crystal ball is clearing, Mr. President. . . I see . . . a scandal. Yes, a great mucking scandal. Something about walking guns. And, what's this? Richard Nixon? Yes, Richard Nixon, and he's beckoning to you, Mr. President. Yes, he's beckoning to you and he's . . . he's smiling. Yes, smiling. I hope you enjoyed your future, Mr. President. That will be one Benjamin Franklin. Now, will you send in the Secretary of State as you leave the tent?"