Sunday, January 12, 2014

Captain Obvious: GOP Talking Points re: BridgeGate Don't Hold Up

It is obvious that in the few days since Chris Christie's "BridgeGate" scandal went national, the GOP (and the rest of Right Wing World) has been following talking points. Whether they came down from Mt. Limbaugh, were concocted by Reince Priebus, or FOX "News," somebody somewhere decided upon a counter-strategy. And that was to say that Christie gave a big press conference, where he "owned it" (debatable), and took questions. Further, they then say that President Obama has not done the same in regard to his scandals. And then they go down the well-worn list of so-called scandals, Benghazi, IRS and then they have some leeway on further scandals. Some throw in "Fast and Furious," some go NSA, others generically site ObamaCare.

But they're all on that same page as a response to Christie. In tandem with that, they'll compare Christie and Obama both being "unaware" what nefariousness people under them are up to. There are several things wrong with this line of counter-attack, starting with the very large difference between being a President and being a Governor. And it's been irritating me all day, as I've heard and read little driblets here and there, and watched some of the Sunday talk shows. So here, in no particular order, are the issues I find with the response by the GOP and Right Wing World.
If you watch FOX "News", you immediately
know this is Benghaziiiii!!!Image from Washington Post

  • The IRS "scandal" has been shown to be mostly hooey, with little-to-no connection to the president.
  • The IRS investigated political groups seeking tax exempt non-political status, from both the left and the right. Yes, they selected groups with "tea party" and "freedom" in their names, because these were political groups! They also selected left-leaning groups. Whether it was a straight-up 50/50 dragnet is up in the air, but it was not, strictly speaking, an anti-right-wing probe.
  • The real scandal with the IRS is that most of the investigated groups got their tax exempt status, even though they're clearly political groups.
  • Obama was expected by the right, to know the inner workings and details of the Cincinnati IRS office, but Christie isn't supposed to know what his closest staff is up to?
  • Benghazi was an attack on us, not a conspiracy by us.
  • The Republican Congress cut funding for security that may have affected the protection and response to the Benghazi attacks
  • The Benghazi attacks was ultimately shown to have a connection to the anti-Muslim video that was originally suspected to have been a motivator.
  • What happened in Benghazi--terrible as it was--has precedent in many foreign countries with US dignitaries, under other presidents, notably George W. Bush. Loss of life is an unfortunate fact of life in diplomacy, and while minimizing that loss is always an important goal, Republican interest in Benghazi was absent in prior years.
    I'm not nuts about drones either, but it's another
    program started in the Bush Era that the right didn't
    used to question, and it has little to do with
    Governor Christie's issues.
  • "Fast and Furious" was a continuation of a Bush-era program that was shut down after the Attorney General became aware of it, at least to my understanding. Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, I'm unsure there has ever been a straight-line to the president for the program.
  • The NSA is a powerful shadowy group, and I agree that it's creepy and has too much power. But I think that's been true no matter which party or president has been in charge. And it was the post-9/11, Bush Era policies that pushed NSA even further over the edge.
  • The allegation that President Obama hasn't responded to or answered any questions about any of this seems kind of ridiculous too. He's had press conferences, interviews, and White House briefings all the way through his presidency. Not enough? Maybe, but there has not been silence.
  • Finally, all of the above (and more) have been pored over by the media, in endless, copious amounts. ObamaCare has been beaten against a rock since it was birthed, and at every step along the way. 

There has been another tactic used by the usual suspects that says this BridgeGate scandal is a lot of hot air over nothing, and they're only touting it to "get Christi," while ignoring the scandals of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. To which I say, are you freaking kidding me? Hillary has had more dirty laundry aired than almost any living political figure in the United States. And Obama has had every little scandal-ette magnified to apocalyptic proportions to fill news cycle after news cycle. The evidence for that fills the pages of just this blog alone, and I'm not terribly prolific. You'd have to be willfully amnesic to state otherwise.

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