If you happened upon a “news” program on TV this weekend, you likely noticed the latest affliction affecting Beltway Republicans. They’ve all come down with an odd strain of Tourette’s Syndrome in which the verbal tic is “Benghazi”. The neuropsychiatric disorder appears to have infected only the GOP brains that were already a bit off to begin with, but it’s spread with such ferocity that containment at this point seems unlikely… that is, until the next overblown nontroversy arises.
We’ll get to Nicole Belle’s take on what went down on our TV sets yesterday in just a moment…
But first… Kudos to the Fast Food workers in St. Louis and Detroit who followed the lead of their brethren in NYC and Chicago by walking off their jobs and demanding to be paid a fair, living wage. Imagine the gall! This morning I spoke with Shani Smith of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago who worked with the strikers in Chicago, and I also shared some of Josh Eidelson’s piece about Detroit’s action on Friday from The Nation.
This morning I shared the sickening news that, despite the best efforts of people like those at 350.org to educate us that we need to keep the CO2 parts per million at 350 or below, we just passed the 400 parts per million point. Bill McKibben’s group has launched a new site to mark the sad milestone at 400.350.org with lots of good information on the need to turn this trend around.
With all the outrage from the right over the IRS allegedly targeting right wing groups (perhaps another side effect of the Benghazi Tourette’s?), I can’t help but point out that any political group should be examined for claiming 501(c)4 tax exempt status! And while we’re at it, let’s start holding churches and other alleged religious institutions accountable for their politicizing. If they want to play in the political arena, they need to pay taxes. Period. That included the insipid and insulting and imbecilic Pat Robertson!
As for Mother’s Day, mine was remarkably amazing in that my 14-year old daughter took me to brunch. Seriously. When the check came, she said, “I got this!” and used some of her birthday money to pay the bill. Color me stunned, and very, very proud.
I spent not a moment of my Mother’s Day watching the Sunday talk shows. But Nicole Belle and her colleagues at Crooks and Liars made the sacrifice so we didn’t have to. Here’s what she brought us today:
How many people outside the Beltway still remember the Clinton years? So outraged by the effectiveness of a Democrat in the White House, the Republicans relentlessly threw trumped up scandal after trumped up scandal to put the brakes on the Clinton agenda and keep the president on the defensive. They started with “Travelgate” and then moved to Whitewater, Vince Foster, Paula Jones and “troopergate”, “Filegate”, Gennifer Flowers and the Chinese campaign financing scandal before hitting paydirt with Monica Lewinsky and successfully impeaching the president for lying to Congress about an extramarital affair.
The details are different, but the playbook is the same for the next Democratic president. The GOP is determined to keep him on his heels and to do whatever they can to delegitimize and undermine his agenda. So they’ve thrown every little hint of a scandal and controversy at him, with their mouthpieces in the right wing media echoing it and doing their damned best to take down President Obama.
It appears that the attack on the Benghazi consulate is developing into the best hope for a scandal . It has the double bonus too of tainting and potentially harming the future presidential run of Hillary Clinton, so it’s no wonder that the GOP has doubled down and the Sunday shows focused on the Benghazi scandal. But methinks that it’s not working out as well as the GOP would like.
Democrat Adam Smith of Washington put Chris Wallace on the defensive for “obsessing” over Benghazi. And Robert Gates—not easily confused for a liberal—dismissed this latest Republican witch hunt for having a ‘cartoonish’ view of military capability. And Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa had the distinct misfortune of having to appear with the Accountability Review Board Chair Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who just wasn’t going to let him get away with his lies. Even Bill Kristol thinks trying to tie Hillary Clinton to a Benghazi cover up (as a recent web video by American Crossroads asserted) was ridiculous.
But that’s not the only scandal iron the GOP has in the fire. The next one on deck is the revelation that the IRS targeted tea party organizations. Of course, this is not a new phenomenon. Ask ACORN, or the NAACP or peace organizations, who were investigated by the Bush administration. Nor is it entirely inappropriate since the groups investigated were 501(c)4s , which is a charitable—not political—designation used to hide the identities of their funders. But pesky little facts like that don’t bother Republicans. No, in fact, this is a big enough scandal for George Will to actually use the “I” word and suggest that this might be grounds for impeachment. More confounding, Allen West insists that the targeting is part of the auto bailout conspiracy. Huh?