Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Frederick Douglass's descendants speak on this 4th of July

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Long Will the GOP Bark Up The Scandal Tree?

Conservative pols and bloggers are as high as glue-sniffers, bingeing on thoughts of driving Mr. Obama from office, gleeful and giddy with visions of impeachment dancing in their heads.

The pundits below, however, put conservatives' premature victory dance into perspective by recalling  history and how the GOP overreached the last time they tried to drive a duly elected Democratic president from office.

What many conservatives fail to understand is that a majority of the American people do not share their toxic hatred of Mr. Obama and do not share the GOP's obsession with and dream of destroying his presidency.  

The American people voted, by comfortable margins, for Mr. Obama twice to lead their country.  

The GOP needs to pay attention to that fact before they overdose on their "Get Obummer" halucinogen.

History Repeating
Ramesh Ponnuru

"Watch the way the Republicans are handling today’s controversies and it’s easy to see how their tactics could backfire again. You would expect that Senator Lindsey Graham, who helped to lead the impeachment proceedings against Clinton, had learned to be cautious in pursuing a scandal. Yet he decided to tie the Benghazi investigation explicitly to the 2016 presidential race, saying that the controversy would doom Hillary Clinton. If Graham were a Democratic plant trying to make the investigation look like a merely partisan exercise, he couldn’t have done better.

Republicans are trying to tie IRS misconduct to President Barack Obama, so far without much evidence. The Republican National Committee is demanding that the president apologize to targeted groups, apparently on the assumption that the public isn’t satisfied with his calling the IRS’s actions “intolerable and inexcusable.”

Other Republicans are saying that the president created a “culture” that made the scandal possible by being a partisan Democrat. These efforts are strained. If the evidence leads to the conclusion that the IRS bureaucracy acted on its own, that is scandal enough; it would serve to strengthen the public’s conservative instincts about the dangers of trusting the government, whoever happens to be in the Oval Office.

Republicans shouldn’t be obsessed with Obama, who won’t be on the ballot again, and shouldn’t make a legitimate inquiry into potential abuses of power appear to be -- or, worse, actually be -- part of a personal vendetta."

Charlie Cook

"Republicans’ Hatred of Obama Blinds Them to Public Disinterest in Scandals

Republicans are so focused on their bitter battles against Obama, they can’t see how little impact the “scandals” have had on public opinion.

Red-faced Republicans, circling and preparing to pounce on a second-term Democratic president they loathe, do not respect, and certainly do not fear. Sound familiar? Perhaps reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s second term, after the Monica Lewinsky story broke? During that time, Republicans became so consumed by their hatred of Clinton and their conviction that this event would bring him down that they convinced themselves the rest of the country was just as outraged by his behavior as they were. By the way, what was Clinton’s lowest Gallup job-approval rating in his second term, throughout the travails of investigations and impeachment? It was 53 percent. The conservative echo machine had worked itself into such a frenzy, the GOP didn’t realize that the outrage was largely confined to the ranks of those who never voted for Clinton anyway.

These days, the country is even more polarized, and the conservative echo chamber is louder than ever before. Many conservatives made it all the way to Election Day last November unaware that their White House nominee was falling short. How could Mitt Romney possibly lose when everyone they knew was voting for him? Except that he did lose, and it wasn’t even a very close race. Five other post-World War II presidential elections had closer outcomes. The simple fact is that although the Republican sharks are circling, at least so far, there isn’t a trace of blood in the water.

A new CNN/ORC survey of 923 Americans this past Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, pegged Obama’s job-approval rating at 53 percent, up a statistically insignificant 2 points since their last poll, April 5-7, which was taken before the Benghazi, IRS, and AP-wiretap stories came to dominate the news and congressional hearing rooms. His disapproval rating was down 2 points since that last survey. In Gallup’s tracking poll, Obama’s average job-approval rating so far this year is 50 percent. For this past week, May 13-19, his average was 49 percent, the same as the week before. The most recent three-day moving average, through Sunday, May 19, was also 49 percent.

Over the past two weeks, even as these three stories/scandals have dominated the news, they have had precisely zero effect on the president’s job-approval numbers. His ratings are still bouncing around in the same narrow range they have been for weeks. Maybe that will change. Maybe these allegations will start getting traction with voters. But it might just be that Americans are more focused on an economy that is gradually coming out of the longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Most economists say the current quarter will show a slowdown in economic growth from the first quarter’s 2.5 percent pace, but they expect the economy to be stronger in the second half of this year.


One wonders how long Republicans are going to bark up this tree, perhaps the wrong tree, while they ignore their own party’s problems, which were shown to be profound in the most recent elections. Clearly none of these recent issues has had a real impact on voters yet. Republicans seem to be betting everything on them, just as they did in 1998—about which even Newt Gingrich (who was House speaker that year) commented recently to NPR, 'I think we overreached in ’98.'”

Will Republicans Screw Up Again? Some Are Already Overreaching 

Stuart Rothenberg

"Some Republicans are so excited at the thought of multiple controversies dogging the White House over the next few months (or longer) that they are already foaming at the mouth. 

 For example, on his syndicated radio show late last week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee compared reports of the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status to what happened in Nazi Germany. 

 And, of course, you knew that some conservatives and Republicans (such as Glenn Beck, Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann) couldn’t resist mentioning the “I” word — impeachment — almost immediately as they struggled to show their anger and contempt for President Barack Obama and his administration. 

 But Republicans ought to remember that they have seen this movie before, and the ending was not what they hoped for or expected." 


Anonymous said...

The lead IRS official taking the 5th, yet you claim there is no there, there.
Just your partisan opinion compared to facts and the reality that taking the 5th is to protect oneself from incrimination.
You are starting to sound like a wacko Republican refusing to accept the facts and denying the truth

Shaw Kenawe said...

Oh, Anon, what a tool you are.

I'll let Charlie Pierce reply to your very predictable comment:

A Fifth Of The Good Stuff
By Charles P. Pierce

"As we know, it is only Republicans who truly understand the Constitution, and only conservatives who truly revere the Bill Of Rights -- all 10 amendments, and not just the Second. Right, gang? -- so let's hear them all stand up and support former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has decided to avail herself of her perfectly legitimate Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination rather than be used as a handball by a bunch of congressional hooligans.

(If Darrell Issa asked me directions to the Men's Room at this point, I'd take the Fifth myself.)

Remember, availing yourself of this right is no more an admission of guilt than a mentally ill person's availing himself of his Second Amendment right to buy an AR-15 at a gun show is an admission that he plans to shoot up a first-grade classroom.

Let's hear it for the Fifth Amendment, right, gang?

Well, apparently not.

Hey, Aqua Buddha. Where you at on this one, son?"

Only in your scandal-hungry little mind is taking the fifth an admission of guilt.

As I said. TOOL.

skudrunner said...

Although an IRS official taking the 5th is somewhat disturbing it is not illegal. After all she is with the IRS and they are above the law in their you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. Support the Fair Tax and do away with all these issues like tax exemptions.

This goes hand in hand with the transparent presidency promise from the campaign of 2008. That should have been followed up with "Just Kidding"

S.W. Anderson said...

Most Republican politicians nowadays are arrogant bullies. In their minds Democrats aren't just the opposition. Democrats are the enemy. And the first rule of Republicans' brand of politics is anything to win. So, when they get hold of something they can spin into a scandal, they can't help themselves. They will overreach every time.

Republicans are also big on distraction. They want to distract from their electoral losses, the massive handwriting on the wall about demographics, how House Republicans have utterly wasted the past two and a half years passing anti-abortion legislation that goes nowhere, how Senate Republicans have abused holds on legislation and appointments, and outrageously abused the filibuster rule, all in a campaign of total obstruction. And on and on.

What's going on is stock tactics from the GOP playbook, completely predictable. Name your issue, topic or problem facing the country and the political right is deliberately not part of the solution. To the contrary, wherever possible they add to the problem and pat themselves and each other on the back for doing so.

We have a problem with greenhouse gas causing climatological changes that bring more and more-severe weather events, melting glaciers and polar icecaps, all the while delivering American consumers into the hands of speculators and foreign oil suppliers who hate us? Republicans' solution: "Drill, Baby, drill!"

We have a problem with crazy and evil people, even small children, and gun violence? We have more than 30,000 killed with guns every year? Republicans' solution: more people should arm themselves with more guns. Point made, case closed.

Shaw Kenawe said...

The Fifth is not just for the guilty, but for all defendants or accused.

In her case, she believes that she did nothing criminally wrong. In fact, I can't think of a specific charge they can use against her.

But yet, there are Republicans saying someone should go to jail. If I had to testify in front of a hostile committee, I too would be afraid anything I said could be used against me in a criminal trial.

Remember, regardless of what she did or ordered, there has to be a specific law she violated for her to be indicted and tried. That is how the law works. You can't make up laws on the spot because someone did something you don't like.

Shaw Kenawe said...

S.W.A. the shouts of "cover-up!" are phony. How could there have been a cover-up if Issa was aware of this issue a year ago?

All the facts are not out yet on these issues, but the hyenas are calling for impeachment.

It's all so disgustingly predictable behavior by the crazies on the right.

Anonymous said...

All the facts are not in, but you claim she did nothing wrong.
Wrong, we know she lied about when she became aware of these investigations.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Anonymous, you have reading comprehension problems.

Nowhere do I claim she did nothing wrong.

This is what I wrote:

"In her case, she believes that she did nothing criminally wrong. In fact, I can't think of a specific charge they can use against her."

Come back and comment when you learn to read more carefully and when you want to engage in a discussion rather than talking points.

Rational Nation USA said...

Answer to your headline... As long as it takes to either 1) find and prove what they believe is true or 2) are satisfied that indeed there was nothing of the magnatude they have thus far believed.

What is your quess? Mine is it will continue until late fall 2014 in one form or the other.

The good news it is summer, golf, and vacation season is upon us. Thank the Ancient Gods of Greek Mythology.

Rational Nation USA said...

Another comment apparently gobbled up by blogger. :-)

S.W. Anderson said...

"The Fifth is not just for the guilty, but for all defendants or accused."

Add to that "implicated." To my knowledge, only prize hypocrite and convicted felon Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has accused Ms. Lerner of criminal wrongdoing, and he couldn't prosecute a ham sandwich. Here's the relevant part of the Fifth Amendment:

"No person shall . . . be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. . ."

Note that the amendment doesn't specify an accused or indicted person. The reason: witnesses and other persons sometimes would open themselves to investigation and prosecution by testifying about a crime they had nothing to do with personally but have some knowledge about.

okjimm said...

SW is totally spot on !! It is funny on some conservatives (some) pick and choose which amendments are 'good' and some bad. 2nd=good, 5th=bad. gimmee a break. Good post.