Worst Week in Washington
A weekly award honoring inhabitants of Planet Beltway

Who had the worst week in Washington? President Obama.

Monday launched several political story lines — none of them good for President Obama.

The IRS acknowledged that the flagging of applications for tax-exempt status from conservative groups went beyond a branch in Cincinnati — and that officials in Washington and two other cities were also involved. The Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had secretly obtained two months’ worth of phone records for its reporters. And Republicans continued to describe Benghazi as the greatest foreign policy cover-up since, well, ever. (That last one might wind up being a positive development for Obama in the long run, but we digress.)

Worst Week in Washington

Chris Cillizza grants the award to the Democrat, Republican, West Wing dweller, Capitol Hill insider, K Street dealer, business guru, sports hero, think tank scribblers or other inhabitant of Planet Beltway who experienced the absolute worst week.

Archive

More from Outlook

How to fix the Second Amendment

How to fix the Second Amendment

Just add five words, says former justice John Paul Stevens.

The battle against divorce

The battle against divorce

Conservative legislators are trying to make it harder for couples to split.

5 myths about the Pulitzer Prize

5 myths about the Pulitzer Prize

Do small newspapers and online reporters even stand a chance?

Bon anniversaire, Eiffel Tower

Bon anniversaire, Eiffel Tower

The structure reflects the hopes and doubts of Paris 125 years ago.

Gallery

As if the president needed any more bad news, there was this: The whole of these stories was greater than the sum of their parts. That is, they all had a convenient strain tying them together: government overreach. Or, put more sinisterly, the government thinks it knows better than you.

After a slow start to the week — waiting until Monday to respond to the IRS incident looks in hindsight to have been a mistake — Obama tried to steer into the skid. He worked like hell to differentiate Benghazi (a partisan witch hunt, in his estimation) from the AP (a complicated matter of balancing national security and First Amendment concerns) from the IRS (a failure that required heads to roll).

A valiant effort. But for a president who wanted to spend the week, and the weeks to come, talking immigration and the budget, the events of the past seven days virtually ensure he won’t be doing that anytime soon.

President Obama, for watching your legacy-building drive onto Scandal Lane, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@washpost.com.

Read more from Outlook, friend us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

 
Read what others are saying