I’ve been reading a lot lately about the scandals that the Obama administration has created and I’ve been hearing “We told you so” from a lot of Republicans. Right wing columnists and pundits have been saying that “things have never been this bad before.”
The Valerie Plame spy scandal
The Medicare scam
Jack Abramoff’s lobbying fraud and tax evasion
Abu Ghraib prison torture
Manufactured evidence and false intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq
Tom Delay’s criminal fundraising
Ashcroft’s violations of campaign finance laws
The Halliburton loopholes
Cheney’s secretive Energy Task Force
Clinton had his pre-presidency scandals (Paula Jones, etc), Travel-gate and Monica-gate, which consumed more ink than Watergate. Even the junk press (The National Enquirer, The Globe, Fox News) made its bones on every birth-marked inch of Clinton’s public and pubic life.
President Reagan trumps them all with Iran/Contra, but let’s not forget the Savings and Loan scandal, or the Department of Housing and Urban Development grant rigging….or the Inslaw Affair that alleged that top-level officials of the Department of Justice were involved in software piracy and then failed to appoint an independent counsel to investigate it.
By the end of his second term,138 Reagan administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations.
What we really can’t forget, as the Benghazi controversy rages, is Beirut in 1983. President Reagan, over objections from his secretary of defense, ordered that American servicemen be sent into a war zone, as part of an international peacekeeping force, but, under strict presidential orders not to load their weapons. Reagan was attempting to make it clear that we came in peace, but, terrorists killed 299 essentially defenseless American and French servicemen.
And today Republicans are in a bunch over what was known, or not known, concerning Benghazi and an alleged bias within the IRS.
Benghazi was a horrible tragedy, and I am all for accountability, but, in that light, it’s important to remember that in 2012 Republicans voted to remove $331 million from security budgets at international consulates and embassies. Should a glaring spotlight of accountability be aimed there, as well?
First of all, the commissioner at the time of the “targeting” was a Bush appointee, so that should be a head scratcher, but most interesting to me is the genesis of the targeting. Four years ago the IRS was facing an explosion of newly formed 501(c) 4 groups claiming tax exempt status. That tax classification is only for groups that primarily promote education or social welfare, and not electioneering, but a wealth of applications came from tea party related groups. Red flags started flying toward any group applying for this status with names containing “Tea Party.”
Although the majority of Tea Party related organizations complied with tax guidelines, the scrutiny had begun. Not exactly the Controversial Scandal to End All Scandals that the right-wing is trying to make it; not when you put it in its historical context.
Furthermore, this is not even a new controversy and it originally played out the other way around.
“I wish there was more GOP interest when I raised the same issue during the Bush administration, where they audited a progressive church in my district in what look liked a very selective way,” said California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff. “I found only one Republican that would join me in calling for an investigation during the Bush administration. I’m glad now that the GOP has found interest in this issue and it ought to be a bipartisan concern.”
Double standards, anyone?
I remember someone saying less than 6 months after Obama took office in 2009 that he was going to be “the worst President in history.” And he was only echoing what the right-wing media blitz was already saying. Given that no policy had taken effect and that we were mired in a recession set into motion nearly two years earlier, that would indicate nothing but a predisposition to see Obama fail, and not a measure of any action or policy that he had taken.
And now I am even hearing some Democrats start to question President Obama’s ability to get things done and to question his integrity. That does not come from an awakening or enlightenment, but rather it is the inevitable result of a constant beating of a right-wing drum that has questioned everything about this President from day one, using a media conspiracy formed by Fox News, talk radio and a conservative blogosphere frenzy.
The President’s faith has been questioned and attacked, as well as his citizenship, and even his patriotism, in a never ending maelstrom of misinformation, fanned by the REAL bias in our political arena: Hatred.
With a Republican agenda of 100% obstructionism and billions of lobbying dollars, how was a new gun control measure to pass? Or a job’s bill. Or necessary financial reforms.
Yet, under President Obama we have seen a stock market rebound and reach a new high, troop de-escalation in the Middle East, health care reform that was talked about since Eisenhower become a reality, and unemployment is below where it was at the beginning of the worst recession in 80 years.
Republicans—shut up! Your Herculean efforts to bring down our President may turn against you as you spend your time creating scandals to define him, while failing to do what you should be doing; cooperating in Washington to further the best interests of the American people.