The Scandal Machine

The Republican Party never met a scandal it didnt like. If they can’t find one, they create one, regardless of the facts. With President Carter, it was the Iranian hostages, with President Clinton, it was Monica Lewinsky.

President Carter

President Carter

The Iranian hostage crisis happened just before Carter was about to defend his Presidency against Ronald Reagan. A number of Americans were taken hostage in the American embassy in Tehran by a group of students. The crisis dragged on for months, during which Carter negotiated for their release. Finally, he sent in the military, which bogged down in the desert because of dust storms. The helicopters were unable to fly and the mission was aborted.

Carter did not create the crisis, it was created by Iranian students. It would not have mattered whether it was a Republican or a Democratic president at the helm. Republicans are very good at throwing as much mud as they can, hoping that some of it will stick.

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton

During Clinton’s era, it was Monica Lewinsky. Now this should have been between Clinton and his wife, but it blew up out of all proportion.¬† It was not about national security, or policy, or arms to the Contras (Reagan) or breaking into the Democratic campaign headquarters (Nixon), or an unnecessary and illegal war (Bush II). Republicans had no right to know about Clinton’s sex life.

For more than two years, the legislative process in this country was brought to a halt by Republican malice and ruthlessness, to revel in a concocted scandal, a fabricated impeachment scandal. That the president was impeached for something so utterly irrelevant to the running of a state, is an indictment of conservative irrationality.

Conservatives have finally fixated on a vacuous cause, something that could happen anywhere in the world at any time, and over which the President, the State Department, the CIA and the Lord High Mucky-Muck of the Punjab have very little control. In Benghazi, Libya, an area that is currently politically unstable, as is much of the world’s land surface, four Americans were killed.

Republicans are in a frenzy over what the President knew, when he knew it, and why he did not immediately call it a terrorist attack. Now, to the Presidents credit, within twenty four hours he came out in the Rose Garden of the White House and announced that four Americans were killed by what was understood to be an attack by terrorists. This was not enough for conservatives. It had to be a terrorist attack, not an attack by terrorists. The President did not say it the correct way.

At the time, a movie was doing the rounds that insulted the prophet Muhammad. There was some debate as to whether the movie was the cause, or just an aggravating factor in the attack. Rational minds would ask for an investigation into the causes of the attack, and what could have been done to mitigate the attack. Republicans are not noted for their rational discourse. Their first reaction to almost anything is to rouse the people and storm the barricades regardless of the facts, or the reality.

No president in his right mind would come out on the day of the attacks and say that he knew unequivocally what caused the protests. The president is not on the ground in Libya. He does not have a fly on the wall when the attackers decided to attack. There is no way that he or anyone else could reasonably have known who was going to attack, when and where. The president, regardless of the size and scope of the intelligence community, has no way to monitor every potential terrorist, or every potential terror group. Intelligence has its limits.

The CIA, on whom the President relies, did not know what the facts of the matter were at the time. They had to conduct an investigation. Without finding the perpetrators, and interrogating them, it is unlikely that the CIA or anyone else not directly connected with the group will ever know what their motivations were, whether it was spontaneous or planned, whether it was sparked by the video or not.

These facts make no difference to Republicans. They will now spend months holding hearings, casting aspersions on people’s characters, calling for investigations into the CIA, the NSA, the president, the army, McDonnell Douglass and someones fairy godmother.

Susan Rice, American Ambassador to the United Nations

Susan Rice, American UN Ambassador

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are now picking on the American ambassador to the United Nations. President Obama is considering her for Secretary of State. She was given a summary of the events in Benghazi by the CIA, which she read to the United Nations. She was not in Benghazi, she had nothing to do with it, she was repeating intelligence given to her by the intelligence community.

Senator John McCain

R-Az. Sen. Jon McCain

McCain and Graham say that they will hold up her nomination if Obama nominates her as Secretary of State. This is so typical of the shoot-the-messenger politics for which conservatives are famous. Ms Rice was reporting what the CIA told her to say. She had no control over that message, she could not interpret it with knowledge she did not have.

This is what Mitt Romney famously said in the first debate against President Obama, “Find a straw man [in this case Big Bird] and beat it to death”. Republicans love this. They cannot rely on facts, so they find a non-issue and explode it out of all proportion to its relative import.

I am disappointed in McCain. During the 2008 Presidential campaign he acted with integrity and honesty. Since then he has devolved into just another conservative bull-horn, endlessly parroting their puerile conspiracies, and obstructing the purpose of Congress. Their aim is to prevent any legislation from being passed, and solving any of the tough issues that this country must face. They do whatever they can to make this nation ungovernable, and anarchic. It is their gift that they distract the people with bread and circuses, while they steal the country out from under them.

The election sent a clear message from the people of this country, that they wanted change, a stop to the deadlock, pettiness and vicious nature of the legislative process. Conservatives and their domesticated Republican lap-dogs obviously did not get the memo.

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