Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Looking For Scandal In All The Wrong Places

The dystopian hell that is America in the
Obama era
One of the often - discussed characteristics of the American Political Right is the assumptions and received wisdom that drives their worldview.  This results from a number of self-reinforcing constructs. First, you cannot accept facts that are incompatible with your ideology.  Normally, when confronted with such a condition, people accept the facts and modify their ideology.  But the latest incarnation of movement conservatism in America operates in precisely the opposite direction.  They embrace their ideology, and reject or modify facts so that they always support those ideological constructs.  Then, the lockstep messaging of the right-wing "echo chamber", from AM talk radio to Fox News to Right Blogistan serves to repeat and reinforce both the ideological beliefs themselves and the sense of impending catastrophe, the immediate and existential "threat" posed by everything from universal health care to even the most minimal, common sense firearms regulations.

One outcome this has produced it a kind of shock and disbelief that, after four years, the illegitimate and deeply corrupt Obama administration has not fallen under the weight of political and criminal scandals. Oddly (to them), the first four years of the Obama Presidency has been remarkably scandal-free, despite repeated, shrill efforts to create some kind of impropriety that would stick, hopefully allowing them to begin impeachment proceedings.  Fast and Furious turned out to be small potatoes in which the President wasn't even involved.  Solyndra turned out to be a failed government investment and nothing more.  The stimulus managed to distribute the better part of a trillion dollars without so much as a whiff of corruption.  And nobody can tell precisely what these few whackjobs are screaming about in regards to the Benghazi attack.

I find this frantic, spluttering search for criminal or political corruption in the Obama administration to be quite laughable, because of the Republicans' willingness to overlook genuine sources of questionable behavior due to their ideological positions.  In essence, they are limited to looking for particular kinds of bad behavior, actions that are both illegal or unethical and that they oppose on philosophical or ideological grounds.  So, they grasp desperately at terrorist acts, the death of an American Border Patrol Agent or government funding for alternative energy because these would not only be corruption, but they are also, in the fever swamp of Movement Conservatism, examples of liberal, big government, creeping Shari'a Socialism.

And yet they hate a sitting president who has authorized the assassination of Americans, committed war crimes, waged undeclared war on multiple nations, prosecuted whistle-blowers and invoked national security secrets to avoid any oversight or accountability.  These things very much represent Executive Branch overreach and are arguably criminal and impeachable acts, but the Republicans, despite their delusionally irrational hatred for Democratic Presidents in general and Barack Obama specifically are unwilling to mention them because they SUPPORT them, and would encourage a President from their own party to go even farther in the exercise of unfettered Executive power.

Once again, we see a awesome demonstration of the power of ideology to stand in the way of political goals.  Whether it is resisting immigration reform, refusing to accept entitlement cuts if they come bundled with tax increases or bombing villages in Pakistan, Republicans are happy to support the President's agenda and let him stretch the legal and constitutional boundaries of his office unchallenged as long as he does so in furtherance of their goals.  When Mitch McConnell said that the Republicans number one political goal was to make Obama a one-term President, he apparently wasn't speaking for most of the Republican caucus.


  1. despite their delusionally irrational hatred for Democratic Presidents in general and Barack Obama specifically are unwilling to mention them because they SUPPORT them

    You can add in all the TBTF bank favoritism as well. (Protected from prosecution, showers of cash instead.)

    1. I purposely DIDN'T mention that because the FAILURE to do something is never a scandal or an impeachable crime. You might certainly say it is a political failure or a failure of justice or the rule of law, but that's not the kind of thing I was exploring in this piece...