The scandal of scandal in Washington

Republicans devote time and energy to publicising alleged failures of Democrats while ignoring scandals of the Bush era.

Republicans have criticised Obama for the government's handling of the Benghazi consulate attack [Reuters]

If you listen loud enough you can almost hear the siren song of the Republican party, as it spreads its dulcet tones across Washington. It is scandal season, boys and girls, and for GOP members – except for those too busy to party because they are in line to be Newt Gingrich’s next wife or writing reports denigrating the IQs of immigrants – then it is Mardi Gras, Christmas and the Spanish Inquisition all in one.

It began with Benghazi, a place that 41 percent of Republicans say was the site of the worst political scandal in US history. But 39 percent of them cannot find Benghazi on a map (psst, you 6 percent who think it is in Cuba, please stop talking).

To end the suspense for the tri-corner hat and pajamas crowd, Benghazi is in Libya, yet to Republicans it is a rough translation of “Arkansas land deal”. Which is to say, of course a tragedy occurred in Benghazi last September, which led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. But this is all just a reanimation of the fake Whitewater investigation of President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s.

That there’s no “there” there is not a surprise in the days of a Republican Congressional Caucus full of more poop than a Carnival Cruise. We have come to expect this from cultists who treat attempts to provide people with health care as a potential Obama “Waterloo”, whose Senate leader sees his job not as making anyone’s life remotely better, but trying to limit the president to one term (oops), and whose own members admit their colleagues oppose legislation just because the president is for it. 

That is the congressional GOP, filled with fringe lunatics and less popular than a cold sore on Kim Jong-un. The only way they have retained power is through gerrymandered House districts and a Senate that allows Wyoming, which has roughly the same number of prairie dogs as people, to enjoy representation equal to California – which is roughly 65 times more populated.  

Scandal grips Obama administration

So if you are these guys – that is, completely amoral, care not a whit for your country and seek power at all costs – what do you do? You gin up “scandal” of course, and hope that, even though people hate you, they might just hate the other guy more once you are done. This was the plan from the 1990s, with the impeachment of a popular Democratic president over sex, leading to just enough otherwise sane people to give Emperor Commodus their vote over Vice President Al Gore, so the Supreme Court and butterfly ballots could deliver them the presidency. 

Today, with the economy seeming to improve, demographic change, and a hugely popular figure – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – likely to run in the 2016 presidential election, there is almost no way the GOP can win. Unless they try to claim that Clinton is somehow responsible for altered ABC emails, our military not being able to move with the haste of Iron Man, and the Republican party’s gutting of diplomatic security funding.  

Additionally, it turns out Tea Party groups were singled out for scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As were liberal groups. Yet liberal groups are not filled with paranoid, Agenda 21-fearing numbskulls that live inside Glenn Beck’s goatee. So a terribly corrupt campaign finance system nobody respects nor can fully understand, in addition to seriously bad judgment by the acting head of the IRS who has since been fired, is somehow an impeachable offence.

The real scandal, the White House’s obtaining of phone records of calls by Associated Press reporters, is something President Obama’s crew should be excoriated for, and investigated. But not by these Republicans, who have been going all Amy and Samy Bouzaglo on the press since at least the time of Spiro Agnew, and could not care less

What makes this all the more offensive are the real scandals Republicans ignored during the George W Bush years – like the lies surrounding our entry into a war in Iraq. Or Jessica Lynch, the firing of US attorneys by Karl Rove for political reasons, the sex and drugs scandal at the Department of the Interior, George W Bush’s knowledge of torture, warrantless wiretapping, Pat Tillman, black sites, the outing of CIA Agent Valerie Plame by Karl Rove and co, the failure to prepare for Hurricane Katrina, George W Bush’s connection to Enron, Jeff Gannon, Dick Cheney’s secret energy meetings, George W Bush’s IRS targeting Greenpeace and a liberal church in California, and everything else conveniently swept under a rug big enough to make Rand Paul’s cranium jealous.

Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients. 

Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter