Monday, May 20, 2013

If a Scandal Fell In The Forest And No One Heard It, Would the GOP Still Impeach Obama?

Yes, because any excuse to impeach will do in the eyes of the Far Right wingnut brigade.

Basically, the Republican Party spent the last week screaming about three scandals - and even tried jumping on a "fourth" - claiming Obama was guilty as sin concerning Benghazi, the IRS auditing of Tea Party groups in 2010, and the Department of Justice going after AP News internal e-mails.

The nation basically bumped Obama's favorable numbers up by four points.  Maybe two points if you average it out.  In short, nobody's hating on Obama that hasn't been hating him already, and the middling group that wavers between Maybe/Maybe Not leaning more Maybe.

In the grand scheme of scandal-mongering that keeps the Beltway media well-fed outside of the election cycles, at what point does the media realize they've lost the narrative again and that they're out-of-step with the nation's majority?

'Cause last time the Beltway media types picked up on Scandal Fever while the rest of the nation yawned was in 1997-98, when the 4 years of Whitewater investigating turned up no criminal land-dealing but instead found a college-age intern with Clinton's body fluids on her dress.  As the GOP raced to impeachment, the nation sided with Clinton and voted more Democrats into Congress, essentially killing Newt Gingrich's career as Speaker (as well as his replacement Livingstone who didn't even have the joy of being Speaker longer than, what, 8 hours?).

I mean, in 2005 the downturn of Iraq into a Vietnamesque quagmire and the tragic mishandling of rescue and relief after Hurricane Katrina made the Bush the Lesser administration squirm a bit and suffer in popularity with the media types.  But that happened to sync with the nation's mood as Bush's popularity slid into the mid-20s.  Here, the media is all aflutter about Obama finally (Finally, say the scandal-mongers who live for such things)... and they're making the mistakes they made in 1998.

I can still remember Sam Donaldson, the aging Alpha Male leader of the White House press corps, openly predicting a Clinton resignation over the Lewinsky Affair by the end of the first week.  The media jumped from observer status to public judge and jury, without making sure first the public was with them.  Thing is, the common sense of the nation's majority takes in the outrage and then reads into just what the hell the issue is all about.  Sure, the first day or so they'll be a lot of angry people, but as the more accurate follow-up reports dig deeper and find out exactly what did happen (for example, the early reports on the Benghazi "smoking gun" e-mail said one thing but follow-up reports revealed that "smoking gun" was edited by someone on the outside) the people calm down and take a more objective look at things.

Part of this is the desire by the media elites to have another Watergate.  The scandal - that proved to have legitimate misdeeds worth reporting - that broke the Nixon adminstration and turned journalists into rock stars.  Everyone in the Beltway wants to be the next muckraker with a 5-book deal.  And so they jump on each scandal with equal ferocity but little judgment.

Each scandal right now has a legit issue... but so far NONE of them touch Obama.  The real scandal involving Benghazi isn't the internal State and West Wing bickering over post-attack talking points, the real scandal is that our overseas embassy security funding has been slashed the last 2 years by a Republican-controlled Congress.  The real scandal involving the IRS investigation of Tea Party groups is that the IRS is working from confusing legislative instructions that can't differentiate between non-profit groups and political fundraising outfits (Obama hasn't been directly linked to this anyway: there are buffers between a White House and the IRS to prevent any intimidation in the first place, one of the legacies of Watergate by the way).  And while the media will be outraged about the Justice Department investigating the AP, there was a substantial security leak being investigated: the DoJ had done this kind of thing before actually, it was just this time around a particular bureaucratic step seemed to get overlooked (note: there is a recent revelation of another such leak investigation focusing on a Fox Not-News reporter which looks to be more troubling in grey legal territory.  But again this isn't on Obama it's more on the Attorney General).

As for the "fourth" scandal, a late-in-the-week outrage over Obama asking a Marine to hold an umbrella over his head during a rainy outdoor press conference.  Dear wingnuts: Are you out of your goddamn minds?  Acting like Obama was embarrassing that Marine, or somehow violating a military code?  And that something like that never happens under other Presidential administrations?  /headdesk

This is, sitting not so comfortably from the outside of a Beltway social-professional circle of talking heads who are stuck both in a high school clique mentality and in the mistaken belief that it's still 1985 in America, just a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing.  If they keep pushing this on a public who isn't buying it, will they ever figure it out?  Will they ever get called on it?

Here's hoping the wingnut media and their GOP congressional buddies overreach and lose control of the House and even more Senate seats in the 2014 midterms.  I doubt that would slap some reality into them, but at least the damage they're doing with all their damned obstruction would desist (as long as the Senate Dems carry through on getting rid of Secret Holds and that damned Cloture rule).

1 comment:

Bob Jones' Neighbor said...

Paul, when it comes to smoking guns, remember, e're talking about Washington DC. There, smoke is not assiciated with guns. Or fire. In DC, when there's smoke, there's mirrors.